( b. May 02, 1924 Vienna, AUSTRIA - d. Jul 21, 2015 Los Angeles, California, USA ) Male
Theodore Bikel was an Oscar- and Tony-nominated character actor and folk singer who originated the role of Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music on Broadway and starred in Fiddler on the Roof onstage in thousands of performances.
Bikel did his first bigscreen work in John Huston's 1951 classic "The African Queen" and Huston's "Moulin Rouge." After acting in a series of English films, he did supporting work in two high-profile pics in 1957: historical epic "The Pride and the Passion," starring Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra and Sophia Loren, and "The Enemy Below," a WWII submarine thriller starring Robert Mitchum.
He often played Germans or Russians - in his autobiography, Bikel said that his facility with accents resulted in his typecasting "as the poor man's Peter Ustinov." But in Stanley Kramer's 1958 film "The Defiant Ones," starring Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis, he portrayed a Southern sheriff pursuing a pair of fugitives - and was Oscar nominated for the role. Onstage, Bikel performed in the musical Fiddler on the Roof in 1967 and played Tevye more than any other actor.
To a TV audience the actor would be best known for his 1990 appearance on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" as the Russian adopted father of the Klingon Worf.
Bikel was president of the Associated Actors and Artistes of America, a federation of trade unions for performing artists in the U.S. including Actors' Equity and the Screen Actors Guild. He was active in Actors Equity for many years, eventually serving as president in the late '70s and early '80s.
Theodore Meir Bikel was born in Vienna but his family fled to Palestine after the Nazi Anschluss in 1938. He was a busy young man in Palestine and then the new state of Israel, acting while still in his teens - he made his stage debut as the Village Clerk in "Tevye the Milkman" at the Habimah Theater in Tel Aviv in 1943, and the next year he co-founded the city's Cameri Theater, which went on to become one of Israel's foremost legit houses. ("Tevye the Milkman" was based on the same source material as Fiddler on the Roof, in which Bikel would later star repeatedly.)
He drew his first Tony nomination in 1958 for The Rope Dancers and picked up his second two years later for The Sound of Music. Bikel had produced and sang on several albums of Jewish folk songs during the 1950s, and right before The Sound of Music was to open on Broadway, Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote the song "Edelweiss" specifically for him to sing and accompany himself on the guitar.
Source: Variety.com obituary
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