Chaim Topol, the Israeli actor best known for his starring role as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” has died at age 87 in Tel Aviv, Israeli leaders confirmed on Thursday.
Last year, according to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Topol’s son Omar shared that his father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, though his cause of death was not immediately known.
Topol’s role of Tevye earned him a 1973 Oscar nomination for best lead actor, along with a Golden Globes win for best actor in a motion picture in the comedy or musical category.
Topol played the part of Tevye more than 3,500 times on-stage, and even most recently as 2009, according to the Associated Press.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog expressed his condolences at the actor’s passing, calling him “one of the giants of Israeli culture.”
Herzog described Topol as “a gifted actor who conquered many stages in Israel and overseas, filled the cinema screens with his presence and above all entered deep into our hearts.”
In 2015, Topol was awarded the Israel Prize for liftetime achievement, the highest cultural honor the state can bestow.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu also expressed his condolences, writing on Twitter, “My wife Sarah and I, like all citizens of Israel, are saying goodbye today with deep pain to our beloved Haim Topol.”
Netanyahu went on to call Topol a “versatile artist, with great charisma and energy” and “a huge heart.”
In 1991, Topol’s reprisal of his role of Tevye in the Broadway production of “Fiddler on the Roof” earned him a Tony nomination for best actor in a musical.
Additionally, Topol won a Golden Globe for most promising newcomer for his role in the 1964 Israeli film, “Sallah.”
He is also known for his roles in the early 1980s films, “Flash Gordon” and “For Your Eyes Only,” and his ongoing philanthropic work as president of the Jordan River Village, a charity for sick Israeli children.
He is survived by his wife and three children, according to the BBC.
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