Fiddler on the Roof star Chaim Topol has died at the age of 87.
The Israeli actor, who was best known for portraying Tevye the Milkman in the stage and screen versions of Fiddler on the Roof, passed away in Tel Aviv after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
His death was confirmed by Israel President Isaac Herzog on Twitter on Thursday. The politician called him a “gifted actor who conquered many stages in Israel and overseas, filled the cinema screens with his presence and especially entered deep into our hearts.”
Topol, who was known professionally by just his last name, played Teyve in the stage musical numerous times across the globe over five decades. His first stage performance was in 1966 and his last took place in 2009, with Topol once estimating he had performed the role more than 3,500 times. He was nominated for the Best Actor Tony Award for the 1991 Broadway revival.
He was cast as the character in Norman Jewison’s 1971 movie adaptation, for which he won a Golden Globe and was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar.
In addition to Teyve, Topol also portrayed Dr. Hans Zarkov in 1980’s Flash Gordon and Columbo alongside Roger Moore’s James Bond in 1981’s For Your Eyes Only. His other film credits include Sallah Shabati and Galileo and his final feature, 1998’s Left Luggage.
In 2015, he was awarded the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement, one of his country’s highest honours.
Topol is survived by his wife Galia and their three children.