Theodore Bikel


Actor
Theodore Bikel

About

Also Known As
Theodore Meir Bikel
Birth Place
Austria
Born
May 02, 1924
Died
July 21, 2015
Cause of Death
Natural Causes

Biography

Internationally renowned actor and folksinger Theodore Bikel made his first stage appearance as the Village Clerk in a Tel Aviv production of "Tevye, the Milkman" and would in fact play the life-loving Tevye so many times in productions of "Fiddler on the Roof" that it became his signature role (although he claimed to have liked "Zorba!" better). After graduating from London's Royal Acad...

Family & Companions

Ofra Ichilov
Wife
Divorced.
Rita Weinberg
Wife
Married in 1967.

Bibliography

"Folksongs and Footnotes"
Theodore Bikel, Meridian Books (1961)

Notes

Among his many honors, Bikel was named Man of the Year (1967) by B'nai Brith

Biography

Internationally renowned actor and folksinger Theodore Bikel made his first stage appearance as the Village Clerk in a Tel Aviv production of "Tevye, the Milkman" and would in fact play the life-loving Tevye so many times in productions of "Fiddler on the Roof" that it became his signature role (although he claimed to have liked "Zorba!" better). After graduating from London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he won acclaim for his work in West End productions of "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1949, directed by Laurence Olivier) and "The Love of Four Colonels" (1951, directed by Peter Ustinov) before making his Broadway debut in "Tonight in Samarkand" (1955). Though he also played Robert de Baudricourt in "The Lark" that year on Broadway, a part he would reprise for the 1967 NBC "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation of "St. Joan" his best-known theatrical credit (aside from Tevye) is probably his creation of Captain Georg von Trapp for the Broadway production of "The Sound of Music" (1959), starring Mary Martin. Bikel's feature debut came as the First officer of the Luisa in the John Huston classic "The African Queen" (1951). He would find himself on (or under) the water again as second-in-command of the German U-boat in "The Enemy Below" (1957) and the (Soviet) Captain in Cold War farce "The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming" (1966). In fact, his facility for languages (fluent in Yiddish, Hebrew, French, German and English) helped land a plethora of international roles throughout his career. Bikel earned an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the moderate sheriff in "The Defiant Ones" (1958), and he played Russian linguist Zoltan Karpathy in the Academy Award-winning "My Fair Lady" (1964). A guest star on countless TV series, he appeared on four episodes of "Murder, She Wrote" (CBS 1984-1996) in the '80s and '90s, not to mention having recurring roles on "Dynasty" (ABC 1981-89) and "Falcon Crest" (CBS 1981-1990). He also portrayed Henry Kissinger in the ABC movie "The Final Days" (1989), based on the book by Bob Woodward. As Bikel entered his mid-'70s, his acting career slowed down to occasional small roles in films ranging from the thrillers "Shattered" (1991) and "Benefit of the Doubt" (1993) to the post-Soviet comedy "My Family Treasure" (1993) and the inspirational drama "Second Chances" (1998). He appeared as a rabbi in the science fiction hit "Babylon 5" (syndicated 1994-98) and as a farmer in the procedural drama "JAG" (CBS 1995-2005). His final screen roles came in Menahem Golan's modern-day adaptation of "Crime and Punishment" (2002) and in the Israeli drama "The Little Traitor" (2007), starring Alfred Molina. Theodore Bikel died of undisclosed natural causes on July 21, 2015 in Los Angeles. He was 91 years old.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Little Traitor (2009)
Isn't This a Time! A Tribute Concert for Harold Levanthal (2004)
Himself
Trickle (1998)
Babylon 5: In the Beginning (1998)
Lennon
Boing (1998)
Shadow Conspiracy (1997)
Crime and Punishment (1993)
Captain Koch
My Family Treasure (1993)
Benefit of the Doubt (1993)
The Business of Art and the Artist (1992)
Narration
The Assassination Game (1992)
Leo
Shattered (1991)
In Vino Veritas (1990)
See You in the Morning (1989)
Dark Tower (1989)
Dr Max Gold
Things That Go Bump in the Night (1989)
The Final Days (1989)
Easy Come, Easy Go (1989)
The March for Disarmament (1988)
Himself
A Stoning in Fulham County (1988)
Abe Moser
Lodz Ghetto (1988)
Voice
Prince Jack (1984)
Russian Ambassador
Very Close Quarters (1983)
Victor
Victory at Entebbe (1976)
Murder on Flight 502 (1975)
The Little Ark (1972)
The Captain
Killer By Night (1972)
200 Motels (1971)
Rance Muhammitz
Darker Than Amber (1970)
Meyer
My Side of the Mountain (1969)
Bando
The Desperate Ones (1968)
Kisielev
Sweet November (1968)
Alonzo
Festival (1967)
The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming (1966)
Russian captain
The Last Chapter (1966)
Narrator
Sands of the Kalahari (1965)
Bondarahkai
Who Has Seen the Wind? (1965)
My Fair Lady (1964)
Zoltan Karpathy
A Dog of Flanders (1960)
Piet Van Gelder
Woman Obsessed (1959)
Dr. Gibbs
The Blue Angel (1959)
Kiepert
The Angry Hills (1959)
Dimitrius Tassos
Fräulein (1958)
Col. Dmitri
The Defiant Ones (1958)
Sheriff Max Muller
I Bury the Living (1958)
Andy McKee
I Want to Live! (1958)
Carl Palmberg
The Enemy Below (1957)
Schwaffer
The Vintage (1957)
Eduardo Uriburri
The Pride and the Passion (1957)
General [Henri] Jouvet
Above Us The Waves (1956)
The Divided Heart (1955)
Josip
The Colditz Story (1955)
Vandy
Betrayed (1954)
German sergeant
The Young Lovers (1954)
Joseph
Forbidden Cargo (1954)
The Little Kidnappers (1954)
Willem Bloem
Never Let Me Go (1953)
Lieutenant
Melba (1953)
Paul Brotha
Moulin Rouge (1953)
Milan IV, King of Serbia
The African Queen (1951)
German first officer

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Isn't This a Time! A Tribute Concert for Harold Levanthal (2004)
Other
The March for Disarmament (1988)
Other
Madame Rosa (1978)
Other

Cast (Special)

They Came For Good: A History of the Jews in the United States (2001)
Voice
The Eternal Road: Encounter With the Past (2000)
Narrator
A Taste of Chanukah (1999)
A Taste of Passover (1999)
The American Film Institute Salute to Robert Wise (1998)
Performer
A Laugh, a Tear, a Mitzvah (1997)
Voices of Leningrad (1990)
Narration
Inside the Soviet Circus (1988)
Narrator
Jews of Moscow: An Inside Story Special Edition (1986)
Narrator
Martin Luther King: The Dream and the Drum (1986)
1986 Miss America Pageant (1986)
There Shall Be No Night (1957)
Uncle Vlahos

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Second Chances (1998)
Sidney Sheldon's Memories of Midnight (1991)
Loose Change (1978)
Testimony of Two Men (1977)

Life Events

1943

Theatrical debut as the Village Clerk of "Tevye the Milkman" in Tel Aviv

1944

Co-founded Israel Chamber Theatre (date approximate)

1948

London stage debut in "You Can't Take It with You"

1949

Appeared in West End production of "A Streetcar Named Desire", directed by Laurence Olivier; eventually assumed role of Harold 'Mitch' Mitchell

1951

Directed by Peter Ustinov in West End production of "The Love of Four Colonels"

1951

Feature acting debut in "The African Queen", playing first officer of the 'Luisa'

1955

Made TV debut on ABC's dramatic anthonlogy series, "Star Tonight"

1955

Broadway debut as Inspector Massoubre in "Tonight in Samarkand"; later that year portrayed Robert de Baudricourt in Broadway production of "The Lark", starring Julie Harris

1957

Played the second-in-command on the German U-boat in "The Enemy Below", directed by Dick Powell

1958

Nominated for Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role as moderate Sheriff Max Muller who refuses to get caught up in or intimidated by the mob psychology in Stanley Kramer's "The Defiant Ones"

1959

Created the role of Captain Georg von Trapp in Broadway production of "The Sound of Music" opposite Mary Martin; received Tony nomination

1964

Played noted linguist Zoltan Karpathy in George Cukor's film version of "My Fair Lady"

1966

Portrayed the Captain in "The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming"

1967

Reprised role of de Baudricourt for NBC "Hallmark Hall of Fame" production of "St. Joan"; also played Mr Van Daan in ABC's version of "The Diary of Anne Frank"

1972

Headlined the national tour of the stage musical "The Rothschilds"

1976

Played what is reportedly his favorite role in "Zorba!" on tour of US cities

1976

Acted in ABC movie "Victory at Entebbe"

1985

Had recurring role as Warnick on ABC's "Dynasty"

1987

Appeared as recurring character Martin Dimitrov on CBS' "Falcon Crest"

1989

Portrayed Henry Kissinger in the ABC movie "The Final Days", based on the book by Bob Woodward

1997

Acted the part of Profesor Pochenko in "The Shadow Conspiracy"

1998

Appeared in the shorts "Trickle" and "Boing"

1999

Returned to the NYC stage in "The Gathering"

2000

Toured as Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof"

Videos

Movie Clip

Defiant Ones, The (1958) - Open, Long Gone Producer-director Stanley Kramer begins what is perhaps his first altogether topical social-issue film with Sidney Poitier singing a W.C. Handy song, handcuffed to Tony Curtis, events leading to Sheriff Muller (Theodore Bikel) on the radio, in The Defiant Ones, 1958.
Enemy Below, The (1957) - Let's Go Get Him! Intensely technical from producer-director Dick Powell, the U-Boat captain (Curt Jurgens), whom we know to be highly disaffected, takes the bait from U.S. destroyer captain Murrell (Robert Mitchum), who impresses his crew and orders the chase, in The Enemy Below, 1957.
I Want To Live (1958) - Make It Out To Cash Barbara (Susan Hayward) working a con, rescued by bartender Hank (Wesley Lau), then meeting his crooked partner Perkins (Philip Coolidge), director Robert Wise embarking on a crime montage, in I Want To Live, 1958.
Enemy Below, The (1957) - Tastes Like A U-Boat Even before we get to know Robert Mitchum, captain of the pursuing American ship, an intense speech from German (English-speaking, for the movie) U-Boat commander Von Stolberg (Curt Jurgens), Wendell Mayes' script from Cmdr. D.A. Rayner's novel, in The Enemy Below, 1957.
Defiant Ones, The (1958) - I Don't Go South First shot of handcuffed prisoners Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier after the truck crash, no time for chat, while back at the site the dog trainer, sheriff and state police captain (King Donovan, Theodore Bikel, Charles McGraw) prepare to pursue, in Stanley Kramer's The Defiant Ones, 1958.
I Bury the Living - New customers I Bury the Living -- New Customers

Trailer

I Want to Live! - (Original Trailer) The true story of a small-time lady crook who fought to escape the electric chair in I Want to Live! (1958), starring Susan Hayward.
Pride and The Passion, The - (Original Trailer) A British naval officer (Cary Grant) helps Spanish peasants haul a large cannon cross-country to battle Napoleon in The Pride and The Passion (1957).
African Queen, The - (Original Trailer) Humphrey Bogart won a Best Actor Oscar portraying a grizzled skipper who pilots missionary Katharine Hepburn aboard The African Queen (1951).
200 Motels - (Original Trailer) Frank Zappa created and stars in this demented tale of what happens to his band The Mothers of Invention when touring leads them to 200 Motels (1971).
Angry Hills, The - (Original Trailer) A World War II correspondent fights to get strategic information out of occupied Greece. Starring Robert Mitchum.
Betrayed - (Original Trailer) During World War II, a U.S. officer falls for a Resistance fighter suspected of being an enemy spy in Betrayed (1954) starring Clark Gable and a brunette Lana Turner.
Vintage, The - (Original Trailer) Two fugitives (Mel Ferrer, John Kerr) hide out in a vineyard in The Vintage (1957).
Moulin Rouge - (Original Trailer) French painter Toulouse-Lautrec (Jose Ferrer) searches for love despite his physical limitations in Moulin Rouge (1952), an Oscar winning biography by director John Huston.
Defiant Ones, The - (Original Trailer) Two convicts, a white racist and an angry black, escape while chained to each other. Starring Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis.
Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, The - (Wide release trailer) When a Russian sub runs aground in New England, it creates a local panic in The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, 1966, starring Alan Arkin, directed by Norman Jewison.

Family

Josef Bikel
Father
Miriam Bikel
Mother
Robert Simon Bikel
Son
Daniel Martin Bikel
Son

Companions

Ofra Ichilov
Wife
Divorced.
Rita Weinberg
Wife
Married in 1967.

Bibliography

"Folksongs and Footnotes"
Theodore Bikel, Meridian Books (1961)

Notes

Among his many honors, Bikel was named Man of the Year (1967) by B'nai Brith