Ex-spouse Galia Topol
Role Theatrical performer
|Name Chaim Topol|
Other names Topol
Parents Rel Topol, Jacob Topol
|Born September 9, 1935 (age 80) (1935-09-09) Tel Aviv, British Mandate of Palestine|
Occupation Film, stage and voice actor comedian singer author voice artist producer
Years active 1961–present (stage) 1961–1998 (screen)
Notable work Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
Children Anat Topol, Ady Topol, Omer Topol
Awards David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actor
Movies Fiddler on the Roof, For Your Eyes Only, Flash Gordon, Sallah, Ervinka
Similar People Norma Crane, Leonard Frey, Rosalind Harris, Melody Anderson, Norman Jewison
Where children can be children | Chaim Topol | TEDxTelAvivUniversity
Chaim Topol (Hebrew: חיים טופול; born September 9, 1935), mononymously known as Topol, is an Israeli theatrical and film performer, singer, actor, comedian, voice artist, writer and producer. He is best known for his role as Tevye the dairyman in the production of Fiddler on the Roof on both stage and film. He has been nominated for an Academy Award and a Tony Award, and has won two Golden Globe Awards.
- Where children can be children Chaim Topol TEDxTelAvivUniversity
- Early life
- Acting career
- Charitable work
Topol was born in Tel Aviv in 1935 in what was then British mandated Palestine, to Rel (née Goldman) and Jacob Topol. He first practiced acting in amateur theatrical plays staged by the Israeli Army. Subsequently he established his own theatre troupe in Tel Aviv, and in 1961 he significantly contributed to the foundation of the Haifa Municipal Theatre.
Among Topol's earliest film appearances was the lead role in the 1964 film Sallah Shabati by Ephraim Kishon—a play, later adapted for film, depicting the hardships of a Mizrahi Jewish immigrant family in Israel of the early 1960s. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and earned the actor the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor. In 1966, Topol made his first English-language screen appearance as Abou Ibn Kaqden in the big-budget Mickey Marcus biopic Cast a Giant Shadow.
He came to greatest prominence in the role of Tevye the milkman in the long-running musical show Fiddler on the Roof, at Her Majesty's Theatre. After a major success on the West End stage (which began on 16 February 1967 and ran for 2,030 performances), he later starred in the 1971 film version. In 1972, Topol won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in the film. He was on active service with the Israeli Army at the time, but was granted permission to attend the awards ceremonies.
In 1976, Topol originated the leading role of the baker, Amiable, in the new musical The Baker's Wife, but was fired after eight months by producer David Merrick. In her autobiography, Patti LuPone: A Memoir, his co-star in the production relayed that Topol behaved unprofessionally in front of paying audiences, sometimes speaking gibberish instead of his lines, and other times responding to the director's instructions by grossly overacting on purpose. Lupone's account was echoed by the show's composer, Stephen Schwartz, in the book Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, From Godspell to Wicked, in which he claimed that Topol's behavior greatly disturbed the cast and directors and resulted in the production not reaching Broadway as planned.
Some of Topol's other notable film appearances were the title role in Galileo (1975), directed by Joseph Losey, Dr. Hans Zarkov in Flash Gordon (1980), and as Milos Columbo in the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only (1981).
In 1983, he reprised the role of Tevye in a London revival of Fiddler on the Roof. In the late 1980s, he played the role in a touring United States production. He was by then the approximate age of the character. Also, the actress playing his wife, Golde, in that production – Rosalind Harris – had played his eldest daughter, Tzeitel, in the film. In 1990, he again played the part in a Broadway revival of Fiddler, and was nominated in 1991 for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, losing to Jonathan Pryce in Miss Saigon. Topol again played Tevye in a 1994 London revival, which became a touring production. He has since played the part in various productions including stages in Europe, Australia, and Japan. His most recent film roles were in Left Luggage (1998) in the role of Mr. Apfelschnitt, and Time Elevator (1998) as Shalem.
In November 2005, Topol reprised Tevye in an Australian production at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney. In April 2006, he followed Sydney with a Brisbane production at the Lyric Theatre. Finally, in June of that year, he brought his Tevye to Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne. In April 2007, he played the role in Wellington, New Zealand.
In September 2008, Topol played the part of Honore in Gigi at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, London.
On January 20, 2009, Topol began a farewell tour of Fiddler on the Roof as Tevye, opening in Wilmington, Delaware, USA. He was forced to withdraw from the tour owing to a shoulder injury, and made his last appearance as Tevye in Boston, Massachusetts on November 15, 2009. (Theodore Bikel and Harvey Fierstein, both of whom have portrayed Tevye on Broadway, replaced him in scheduled appearances.)
His autobiography, Chaim Topol on Topol (aka Topol by Topol), was published in London (September 1981) and Israel (1983).
Topol is also an illustrator, responsible for drawings in several books, including A Treasury of Jewish Humour.
Topol serves as chairman of the board of Jordan River Village.