Tribute: Theodore Bikel

Posted on July 21, 2015 at 4:26 pm

We mourn the loss of actor/singer/activist Theodore Bikel, who has died at age 91. The multi-lingual performer was the original Captain Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” on Broadway and played the role of Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” more than 2000 times. He was born in Vienna and his family moved to then-Palestine when he was 13 and became an American citizen in 1961.

Bikel studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and developed a passion for guitar and folk music. He became one of the world’s best-known folk singers and a founder in 1961 of the Newport Folk Festival, and he performed 50-60 concerts a year, often with full orchestras. He was active in the civil rights movement, served as an elected delegate to the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, and was Senior Vice President of the American Jewish Congress, President of the Actors’ Equity Association (1973-82), Vice President of the International Federation of Actors (FIA), (1981-1991), a Board Member of Amnesty International (USA), and, by Presidential appointment, as a member of the National Council on the Arts (1977-82).

May his memory be a blessing.



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