Topol in Jerusalem (May 2008)
September 9, 1935 |
Tel Aviv, British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel)
|Occupation||Film, stage and voice actor, comedian, singer, author|
|Years active||1961–present (stage)
|Notable work(s)||Fiddler on the Roof (1971)|
|Parents||Rel and Jacob Topol|
Chaim Topol (Hebrew: חיים טופול; born September 9, 1935), often billed simply as Topol, is an Israeli theatrical and film performer, actor, writer and producer. He has been nominated for an Oscar and Tony Award, and has won two Golden Globes.
Early life 
Topol was born in Tel Aviv in 1935 in what was then the British Mandate of 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.
Acting career 
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, 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. Her 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 unprofessional behavior greatly disturbed the cast and directors and resulted in the production not reaching Broadway as planned.
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 for 1991 a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, losing to Jonathan Pryce. He played the part again 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 had a two-month season once again playing Tevye in Fiddler On the Roof at Capitol Theatre in Sydney, Australia and in April 2007, 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, was published in London and Israel.
Topol is also an illustrator, responsible for drawings in several books, including A Treasury of Jewish Humour.
- I Like Mike (1961)
- El Dorado (1963), Benny Sherman
- Sallah Shabbati (1964), Sallah Shabbati
- Cast a Giant Shadow (1966), Abou Ibn Kader
- Ervinka (1967), Ervinka
- The Jungle Book (1967), Bagheera (1988 Hebrew Dub)
- A Talent for Loving (1969)
- Before Winter Comes (1969), Janovic
- Public Eye (1971)
- The Going Up of David Lev (1971) (TV), Chaim
- Ha-Tarnegol (1971)
- Fiddler on the Roof (1971), Tevye the milkman
- Follow Me! (1972), Julian Cristoforou
- Galileo (1975), Galileo Galilei
- The House on Garibaldi Street (1979) (TV), Michael
- Flash Gordon (1980), Dr. Hans Zarkov
- For Your Eyes Only (1981), Milos Columbo
- The Winds of War (1983) (TV Mini-Series), Berel Jastrow.
- Roman Behemshechim (1985), Effi Avidar
- Queenie (1987) (TV), Dimitri Goldner
- Tales of the Unexpected "Mr Knowall" (1988) (TV), Professor Max Kelada
- War and Remembrance (1988) (TV), Berel Jastrow
- SeaQuest DSV "Treasure of the Mind" (1993) (TV), Dr. Rafik Hassan
- Time Elevator (1998), Shalem
- Left Luggage (1998), Mr. Apfelschnitt
- Shalom Shabbat (1998), Eliyahu the Fisherman
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001), Rubeus Hagrid (Hebrew Dub)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Rubeus Hagrid (Hebrew Dub)
- The Jungle Book 2 (2003), Bagheera (Hebrew Dub)
- "Topol Film Reference biography". Filmreference.com. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
- Fiddler On The Roof (The Guide to Musical Theatre). Retrieved December 29, 2007.
- Topol's Biography at Omanoot
- "For Your Eyes Only". The New York Times.
- גיא בניוביץ' (June 20, 1995). "הישראלי מספר 1: יצחק רבין – תרבות ובידור". Ynet. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
- Propst, Andy (November 11, 2009). "Harvey Fierstein Replaces Topol in Fiddler on the Roof Tour: Theater News on TheaterMania.com – 11/11/2009". Theatermania.com. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Chaim Topol|
- Chaim Topol at the Internet Movie Database
- Chaim Topol at the Internet Broadway Database
- Chaim Topol at the TCM Movie Database
- Chaim Topol at AllRovi