Fiddler on the Roof star Chaim Topol has died at the age of 87. In the classic film, he played Tevye. The Fiddler on the Roof actor passed away in Israel after a “long illness,” according to his representative who told CNN. He is survived by his wife and three children. Topol was born on September 9, 1935 in Tel Aviv and began going by his surname. After being assigned to an entertainment troop in the army, he began a career as an actor and met the woman who would become his wife, Galia Topol. The Fiddler on the Roof star captured a Golden Globe for his work in the musical back in 1972. He won in the best actor in a motion picture comedy or musical category. Here’s what Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to say about the star today.
“My wife Sara and I, like all Israeli citizens, with deep sorrow, are saying farewell to our dear and beloved Haim Topol, who was one of the State of Israel’s greatest artists. He greatly loved the land of Israel, and the people of Israel loved him in return. Topol was a multi-faceted artist, with great charisma and energy,” Netanyahu said. “He proudly represented Israel around the world and received international recognition of a kind that few have received. His plays and films were extraordinary experiences. Thanks to his broad smile, warm voice and unique sense of humor, he was a popular figure who conquered the heart of the people.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
“My wife Sara and I, like all Israeli citizens, with deep sorrow, are saying farewell to our dear and beloved Haim Topol, who was one of the State of Israel’s greatest artists.
— Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM) March 9, 2023
“Topol had a huge heart. He fervently supported the justice of Israel’s path and enthusiastically believed in the Zionist vision. He expressed these views openly, around the world. At the same time, Topol helped sick and special needs children, out of the deep desire to contribute to the resilience of Israeli society,” he continued. “Eight years ago, I had the privilege of awarding Topol the Israel Prize. I told him how proud of him we all were. Whether he was playing Salah Shabati, Tevye the milkman or Milos Columbo alongside James Bond. Topol remained modest and loved people.”
“Sadly, the fiddler on the roof is no longer with us. The strings of the fiddle have fallen silent. The story of Haim Topol’s life has been sealed but I am certain that his contribution to Israeli culture will live on for generations,” the statement added. “He greatly loved the land of Israel, and the people of Israel loved him in return.”
In another statement from Israeli President Isaac Herzog, the politician praised the late actor’s work and influence over so many theater-goers over the years. “From fiddler on the roof to the roof of the world, Haim Topol, who has passed away from us, was one of the most outstanding Israeli stage artists, a gifted actor who conquered many stages in Israel and overseas, filled the cinema screens with his presence and above all entered deep into our hearts.”
Out thoughts and prayers are with Topol’s family and friends at this time.