Star Of ‘Fiddler On The Roof’ Dies At 87

Israeli actor Chaim Topol, who was simply known as Topol during his acting career, was best known for portraying Tevye in the 1971 film “Fiddler on the Roof.” His performance even earned him an Academy Award for best actor in a motion picture comedy or musical.

Unfortunately, Topol has died. He was 87 years old. He was in Israel at the time of his death. His representative told CNN that his death was caused by “a long illness,” but according to his biography on IMDB, he died from Alzheimer’s disease.

Upon hearing the news of Topol’s death, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the late actor “a multi-faceted artist, with great charisma and energy.” In a statement, Netanyahu explained, “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.” He added, “He greatly loved the land of Israel, and the people of Israel loved him in return.”

Israeli President Isaac Herzog also paid tribute to Topol. In a statement, he explained, “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.”

On Twitter, Herzog added, “Topol was one of the giants of Israeli culture and he will be greatly missed.”

It’s somewhat ironic that Topol is best known for a musical when he once described himself as being “deprived of music until the age of 12.” In 1983, he explained to BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs that his family “didn’t have a radio in the house.”

Even after winning an Oscar for his role in “Fiddler on the Roof,” Topol was still surprised that he was ever cast for the part. He explained, “They were very brave to let me have that part.” He added, “I still don’t understand how they let me have the part.” He said that he only knew 50 words in the English language at the time.

Besides “Fiddler on the Roof,” other notable roles include “Flash Gordon,” “The Public Eye,” and “For Your Eyes Only.”

Topol is survived by his wife, Galia Topol and their three children.

Watch the video below for more about Topol’s life and career.