Theodore Bikel is a Actor Autrichien born on 2 may 1924 at Vienna (Austria)
If you like this person, let us know!
Birth name Theodore Meir BikelNationality AustriaBirth 2 may 1924
at Vienna (Austria
)Death 21 july 2015
(at 91 years)
Theodore Meir Bikel (pronounced bih-KEL; May 2, 1924 – July 21, 2015) was an Austrian-American Jewish actor, folk singer, musician, composer, and activist.
He made his stage debut in Tevye the Milkman in Tel Aviv, Israel, when he was in his teens. He later studied acting at Britain's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made his London stage debut in 1948 and in New York in 1955. He was also a widely recognized and recorded folk singer and guitarist. In 1959 he co-founded the Newport Folk Festival and created the role of Captain von Trapp opposite Mary Martin as Maria in the original Broadway production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The Sound of Music. In 1969 Bikel began acting and singing on stage as Tevye in the musical Fiddler on the Roof, a role he performed more often than any other actor to date. The production won nine Tony Awards and was one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history.
Bikel was president of the Associated Actors and Artistes of America and was president of Actors' Equity in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Partners for Progressive Israel, where he also lectured.
Bikel was married four times. He married Ofra Ichilov in 1942. They divorced the following year. His second marriage was in 1967 to Rita Weinberg Call with whom he has two children. They divorced in 2008. He married conductor Tamara Brooks later that year. She died in 2012. He married Aimee Ginsburg on December 29, 2013.
For his 90th birthday in May 2014, various stars and celebrities paid tribute to his career through a video produced by Moment Magazine. Among those who spoke were Kirk Douglas, writer Leon Wieseltier and Leonard Nimoy, who himself had also played the role of Tevye when he acted in Fiddler on the Roof early in his career. Songwriter Peter Yarrow dedicated and performed a song he wrote about Bikel.
Bikel died on July 21, 2015, at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles of natural causes, according to publicist Harlan Boll. Bikel is survived by his wife, Aimee Ginsburg-Bikel, his sons from his second marriage, Robert and Daniel, and three grandchildren.
Bikel was a longtime activist in the civil rights and human rights movements, participating as a fundraiser with performances. He co-founded the Actors Federal Credit Union in 1962, and in 1968 he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He was president of Actors' Equity from 1977 to 1982 in which office he supported human rights causes. Since 1988 he had been president of the Associated Actors and Artistes of America.
Upon hearing of his death, Actors’ Equity wrote: "From the time he joined Equity in 1954, Bikel has been an advocate for the members of our union and his extraordinary achievements paved the way for so many. No one loved theater more, his union better or cherished actors like Theo did. He has left an indelible mark on generations of members past and generations of members to come. We thank you, Theo, for all you have done."
Bikel was an active supporter and campaigner for John F. Kennedy. He did some of his campaigning during the run of Sound of Music which got him into trouble with the producers, who did not think it was becoming for an actor. He recalls, "I would go out sometimes between matinee and evening performances, go to a rally and speak from a flat-bed truck, and then come back to the theater." The producers stopped complaining, however, when after one show he was picked up backstage by a limousine carrying Eleanor Roosevelt, and he accompanied her to a Democratic rally as her special guest.
At the 1977 AFL–CIO Convention, Bikel welcomed the Russian dissident Vladimir Bukovsky upon his release from the Soviet Union. He was arrested in front of the Soviet Embassy in Washington in 1986 while protesting the plight of Soviet Jews.
President Jimmy Carter appointed him to serve on the National Council for the Arts in 1977 for a six-year term. In 2007 he served as chair of the Board of Directors of Meretz USA (now Partners for Progressive Israel).
He was a member of the High IQ collective Mensa International.