Topol, Chaim

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TOPOL, CHAIM (1935– ), Israeli actor, who won international fame as the Shalom Aleichem character, Tevye in the musical Fiddler on the Roof. Born in Tel Aviv, Topol began to appear on the stage during his period of army service. He first gained a reputation at the Haifa Municipal Theater, which he co-founded and where he appeared in the Hebrew versions of Ionesco's Rhinoceros, Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle, and the Japanese Rashomon. In Tel Aviv he appeared in the Hebrew production of Fiddler on the Roof. This led to his starring in the London West End production in English (1967), which brought him wide acclaim and the lead in the movie (1971). His films made in Israel include Sallah Shabbati (1964) and Ervinka (1967). He also appeared in Galileo (1975), The House on Garibaldi Street (1979), Flash Gordon (1980), and For Your Eyes Only (1981). He also appeared in the tv versions of Herman Wouk's Winds of War (1983) and War and Remembrance (1988). His autobiography, Topol by Topol, was published in London. He has illustrated 20 books.

[Dora Leah Sowden]