Known for movies

Short Info

DiedJuly 21, 2015, Westwood, California, United States
SpouseAimee Ginsburg, Tamara Brooks, Rita Weinberg Call, Ofra Ichilov
FactBikel's folk song record album, "Songs of a Russian Gypsy" (1958) became an unexpected hit and remained highly popular through the early 1960s. This became Elektra Records' best selling album at the time.

Theodore Bikel is an actor, folk singer, musician, writer and political activist. He has performed in over 100 stage productions and has appeared in numerous films and television shows. He is best known for his role as Tevye in the Broadway production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Bikel was born in Vienna, Austria on May 2, 1924. His parents were Jewish and his father was a doctor. Bikel’s family was forced to flee Austria when the Nazis came to power in 1938. They settled in Palestine, where Bikel attended high school. He later served in the British Army during World War II.

After the war, Bikel moved to London to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He made his stage debut in 1946 and his film debut in 1947. In 1955, Bikel moved to the United States and became a naturalized citizen.

Bikel’s most famous role was as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” He originated the role on Broadway in 1964 and won a Tony Award for his performance. He also played the role in the 1971 film adaptation of the musical.

In addition to his work in theatre and film, Bikel was also a successful folk singer. He released several albums and toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe. He was also a political activist and a supporter of the civil rights movement.

Bikel married actress Rita Zohar in 1949. The couple had two children before divorcing in 1966. He married Aimee Ginsberg in 1969 and they had one child together. Bikel died on July 21, 2015 at the age of 91.

General Info

Full NameTheodore Bikel
DiedJuly 21, 2015, Westwood, California, United States
Height1.85 m
ProfessionActor, Teacher, Singer, Businessperson, Composer, Record producer, Screenwriter
EducationRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art


SpouseAimee Ginsburg, Tamara Brooks, Rita Weinberg Call, Ofra Ichilov
ParentsMiriam Riegler, Josef Bikel


NominationsAcademy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance
MoviesThe Defiant Ones, The African Queen, My Fair Lady, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, The Enemy Below, The Pride and the Passion, I Want to Live!, 200 Motels, Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem, The Blue Angel, My Side of the Mountain, The Colditz Story, Above Us the Wave...
TV ShowsAnother World, Testimony of Two Men, Directions

Social profile links


1[on President Reagan's annual budget cuts to the arts] Every profession has its John Wilkes Booth. Ours is Reagan.
2I prefer to make common cause with those whose weapons are guitars, banjos, fiddles and words.
3I tried for awhile to be an agricultural worker and was hopelessly bored. I would stand around in heaps of manure and sing about the beauty of the work I wasn't doing.
4No doubt, unity is something to be desired, to be striven for, but it cannot be willed by mere declarations.
5What moves me is neither ethnocentric pride nor sectarian arrogance. I make no claim that Jewish culture is superior to other cultures. But it is mine.
6You learn more from the flops than from the hits.


1Following his death, he was interred at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California, at the Garden of Solomon.
2Theodore Bikel screen tested for the title role of the James Bond movie Goldfinger (1964), which went to Gert Fröbe.
3Bikel's folk song record album, "Songs of a Russian Gypsy" (1958) became an unexpected hit and remained highly popular through the early 1960s. This became Elektra Records' best selling album at the time.
4His parents, Miriam Gizella (Riegler) and Josef Bikel-Hasenfratz, were Jewish immigrants from Bukovina, in Central Europe.
5Had performed the role of Tevye ("Fiddler on the Roof") over 2,000 times at various venues.
6While making his film debut in The African Queen (1951), he appeared on the London stage in "Love of Four Colonels".
7Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote the song "Edelweiss" specifically for him to perform on Broadway in "The Sound of Music".
8Co-founded the Newport Folk Festival (with Pete Seeger).
9Had played submarine officers from three different European navies: as the executive officer of a German World War II U-Boat in the film The Enemy Below (1957); as retired World War I Austro-Hungarian U-Boat Captain Georg Von Trapp in the original 1959 Broadway production of The Sound of Music (1965); and as the captain of a Soviet submarine during the Cold War in the film The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming (1966).
10He made guest appearances on both of the longest running prime time dramas in US television history: Gunsmoke (1955) and Law & Order (1990).
11Had appeared as a member of a MENSA-like society in Columbo: The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case (1977)). In real life, he actually was a MENSA member.
12He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Live Theatre at 6233 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on April 29, 2005.
13Was twice nominated for Broadway's Tony Award: in 1958, as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for "The Rope Dancers", and in 1960, as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Musical) for "The Sound of Music".




The Little Traitor2007Interrogator
JAG2003TV SeriesFarmer with Plane
Crime and Punishment2002Captain Koch
H.U.D.2000TV MovieAmbassador Bjorn Jorgensen
Trickle1998ShortMr. Fix
Second Chances1998Dutch John Hathaway
The Pretender1998TV SeriesMartin Zeller / Dr. Werner Krieg
Babylon 5: In the Beginning1998TV MovieLenonn
Michael Hayes1997TV Series
Brooklyn South1997TV SeriesSolomon Shuyler
Shadow Conspiracy1997Prof. Yuri Pochenko
The Burning Zone1996TV SeriesOld Priest
America's Music Legacy: Folk1994Video
Murder, She Wrote1987-1994TV SeriesInspector Van Horn / Yuri Lermentov / Rosanno Bertolucci / ...
Babylon 51994TV SeriesRabbi Koslov
Law & Order1994TV SeriesSol Bregman
My Family Treasure1993Grandpa Danieloff
Benefit of the Doubt1993Gideon Lee
Crisis in the Kremlin1992Leo
L.A. Law1992TV SeriesKurt Rubin
Memories of Midnight1991TV MovieNapoleon Chotas
The New Lassie1991TV SeriesScotty MacPherson
Shattered1991Dr. Berkus
Star Trek: The Next Generation1990TV SeriesCPO Sergey Rozhenko, ret.
City1990TV SeriesDr. Calagari
Christine Cromwell1989-1990TV SeriesHorace
The Final Days1989TV MovieHenry Kissinger
See You in the Morning1989Bronie
Dark Tower1989Max Gold
The Equalizer1988TV Series
Beauty and the Beast1988TV SeriesEli
A Stoning in Fulham County1988TV MovieAbe Moser
Los Angeles History Project1988TV SeriesHarris Newmark
Falcon Crest1987-1988TV SeriesMarin Dimitrov
Buck James1988TV Series
The New Mike Hammer1987TV SeriesRussell Garringer
Very Close Quarters1986Victor
The Paper Chase1986TV SeriesProfessor George Ballard
Dynasty1985TV SeriesWarnick
Hell Town1985TV Series
The Fall Guy1985TV SeriesKamal
Cover Up1985TV SeriesAssad
Hotel1985TV SeriesConstantin Markos
Glitter1984TV Series
Prince Jack1984Georgi
Staus: Growing Old in America1983TV Short
Knight Rider1983TV SeriesGraham Deauville
Trapper John, M.D.1982TV SeriesVladimir Lopatkin
The Return of the King1980TV MovieAragorn (voice)
All in the Family1978-1979TV SeriesAlbrecht 'Alvin' Klemmer
The Stingiest Man in Town1978TV MovieMarley's Ghost (voice)
Fantasy Island1978TV SeriesAmbassador Eric Soro
The Amazing Spider-Man1978TV SeriesMandak
Loose Change1978TV Mini-SeriesTom Feiffer
Police Woman1978TV SeriesAdamus Tarash
The San Pedro Beach Bums1977TV SeriesRashid
Columbo1977TV SeriesOliver Brandt
Testimony of Two Men1977TV Mini-SeriesPeter Heger
Charlie's Angels1977TV SeriesProf. Peter Wycinski
Victory at Entebbe1976TV MovieYakov Shlomo
Little House on the Prairie1976TV SeriesYuli Pyatakov
Ellery Queen1976TV SeriesSergio Vargo
Medical Center1976TV SeriesJoseph Zankov
Medical Story1975TV SeriesDanziger
Murder on Flight 5021975TV MovieOtto Gruenwaldt
Mod Squad1973TV SeriesMax Kalatsis
The Little Ark1972The Captain
Cannon1972TV SeriesMike Tampa
Killer by Night1972TV MovieSgt. Phl 'Sharkey' Gold
200 Motels1971Rance Muhammitz / Dave
Ironside1971TV SeriesArschag Divinian
Darker Than Amber1970Meyer
Hawaii Five-O1969TV SeriesProf. Erich Stoss
My Side of the Mountain1969Bando
An den Wassern zu Babylon1969TV Series
Mission: Impossible1968TV SeriesGeneral Casimir Zepke
Sweet November1968Alonzo
Saint Joan1967TV MovieRobert de Baudricourt
The Diary of Anne Frank1967TV MovieHans Van Daan
Beyond the Mountains1967Kisielev
ABC Stage 671966TV SeriesHomer T. Hatch
The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming1966The Russian Captain
Sands of the Kalahari1965Dr. Bondarahkai
The Trials of O'Brien1965TV SeriesBen Moravian
Burke's Law1964-1965TV SeriesSenor Manfred Gonzales / Vic Bates
Who Has Seen the Wind?1965TV MovieJosef Radek
Gunsmoke1965TV SeriesMartin Kellums
Rawhide1964TV SeriesPence
My Fair Lady1964Zoltan Karpathy
Combat!1964TV SeriesFrancois Perrault
Another World1964TV SeriesHenry Davenport (1982-1983)
The Doctors and the Nurses1964TV SeriesDr. Kralik
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre1963TV SeriesRalph Traven
East Side/West Side1963TV SeriesGeorge Everett, Sr.
The DuPont Show of the Week1963TV SeriesDiamond Cutter Herbert Vanderling
Alcoa Premiere1962TV SeriesStefan Tamarow
Sam Benedict1962TV SeriesNeil Bonney
Route 661962TV SeriesDr. Anton Koseloff
Dr. Kildare1962TV SeriesDr. Mahmel Homatka
General Electric Theater1962TV SeriesRabbi Halevy
The Dick Powell Theatre1962TV SeriesNicholas Simonakis / Captain Bellini
The Twilight Zone1962TV SeriesOliver Crangle
Wagon Train1962TV SeriesDr. Denker
Naked City1961-1962TV SeriesDr. Stanley Wilford / Nicholas Ross / Nicholas Rozinski
Directions1960TV SeriesHost
Play of the Week1960TV SeriesSender
Hotel de Paree1959TV SeriesCarmoody
The Blue Angel1959Klepert
Woman Obsessed1959Dr. R. W. Gibbs
A Dog of Flanders1959Piet van Gelder
The Angry Hills1959Dimitrios Tassos
Folio1958TV SeriesBarbaso
I Want to Live!1958Carl G.G. Palmberg
Playhouse 901958TV SeriesRapp
I Bury the Living1958Andy McKee
The Defiant Ones1958Sheriff Max Muller
Fräulein1958Col. Dmitri Bucaron
Kraft Theatre1955-1958TV Series
The DuPont Show of the Month1958TV Series
The Kidnappers1958unconfirmed
The Enemy Below1957'Heinie' Schwaffer
The Pride and the Passion1957Gen. Jouvet
Studio One in Hollywood1955-1957TV SeriesHenri Blanchard / Grossman / Julius Caesar / ...
The Vintage1957Eduardo Uribon
Alfred Hitchcock Presents1957TV SeriesSergeant Ottermole
Climax!1957TV SeriesMartin Humphries
There Shall Be No Night1957TV MovieUncle Vlahos
The United States Steel Hour1955-1956TV SeriesGrigor Dimitorski / Fritz Gerhardy
Goodyear Playhouse1955-1956TV SeriesPaul Laurent
The Alcoa Hour1956TV SeriesIl Vecchio
Escape from the Iron Curtain1956Col. Sandor Kosice
Justice1955TV Series
Strange Experiences1955TV Series
Appointment with Adventure1955TV SeriesRichter
Star Tonight1955TV Series
Armstrong Circle Theatre1955TV Series
The Elgin Hour1955TV SeriesMr. Wu
Producers' Showcase1955TV Series
Above Us the Waves1955German Officer
The Colditz Story1955Vandy
Look Up and Live1954TV Series
The Divided Heart1954Josip
Betrayed1954German Sergeant (uncredited)
Chance Meeting1954Joseph
Forbidden Cargo1954Max
The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse1954TV Series
The Love Lottery1954Parsimonious
The Little Kidnappers1953Dr. Willem Bloem
Johnny, You're Wanted1953TV Mini-SeriesFerrari
A Day to Remember1953Henri Dubot
Melba1953Paul Brotha
Never Let Me Go1953Lieutenant
Desperate Moment1953Anton Meyer
Moulin Rouge1952King Milo IV of Serbia
The African Queen1951First Officer
Island Rescue1951Man at Newspaper Vendor (uncredited)
Ein Breira1949Narrator
The Cherry Orchard1947TV Movie 20th March 1947 version


All in the Family1978-1979TV Series performer - 2 episodes
The Stingiest Man in Town1978TV Movie performer: "I Wear a Chain"
I Bury the Living1958performer: "Hey, Ho, Anybody Home?", "Lord Randall, My Son" - uncredited


America's Music Legacy: Folk1994Video


Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem2014Documentary


Journey 4 Artists2013Documentary


The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1967-1970TV SeriesHimself / Himself - Guest
The Ed Sullivan Show1968-1969TV SeriesHimself
The Hollywood Palace1967TV SeriesHimself - Folk Singer
Dream Girl of '671967TV SeriesHimself - Bachelor Judge
Gypsy1967TV SeriesHimself
Swingin' Country1966TV SeriesHimself
Firing Line1966TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Hollywood Talent Scouts1966TV SeriesHimself
That Regis Philbin Show1964TV SeriesHimself
The Steve Allen Playhouse1964TV SeriesHimself
Hootenanny1963TV SeriesHimself
To Tell the Truth1963TV SeriesHimself - Guest Panelist
Here's Hollywood1962TV SeriesHimself
The Jack Paar Tonight Show1959-1961TV SeriesHimself
Q for Quest1961TV SeriesHimself
Parade1960TV SeriesHimself
Directions1960TV SeriesHimself - Jewish host
Play Your Hunch1960TV SeriesHimself
About Faces1960TV SeriesHimself
Today1960TV SeriesHimself
Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall1960TV SeriesHimself
The Pat Boone-Chevy Showroom1960TV SeriesHimself
The 31st Annual Academy Awards1959TV SpecialHimself - Nominee: Best Actor in a Supporting Role
The Seven Lively Arts1958TV SeriesHimself - Host
Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age2017Documentary post-productionHimself
Teens Wanna Know2015TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Oh du mein Österreich2015TV Movie documentaryHimself
Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem2014DocumentaryHimself
Shadows from My Past2013DocumentaryHimself
Journey 4 Artists2013DocumentaryHimself
Embracing Chaos: Making the African Queen2010Video documentaryHimself
Katz's: That's All2010DocumentaryHimself
The Sound of Music: Musical Stages2010Documentary short
The Florence Henderson Show2008TV SeriesHimself
A Sacred Duty2007DocumentaryReader (voice)
Lonely Man of Faith: The Life and Legacy of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik2006DocumentaryRabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (voice)
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts2004TV MovieHimself
Isn't This a Time! A Tribute Concert for Harold Leventhal2004DocumentaryHimself
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts2003TV SpecialHimself
The Lost Wooden Synagogues of Eastern Europe2000DocumentaryNarrator
AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Robert Wise1998TV Special documentaryHimself
The Making of 'My Fair Lady'1995Video documentaryHimself / Zoltan Karpathy (as Theo Bikel)
Humphrey Bogart: Behind the Legend1994DocumentaryHimself
The True Story of Frank Zappa's 200 Motels1988Video documentaryHimself
Lodz Ghetto1988Documentary voice
Covenant: People of the Living Law1986TV Movie documentaryHimself - Host
Rodgers & Hammerstein: The Sound of American Music1985TV Movie documentaryHimself
Night of 100 Stars1982TV SpecialHimself
Over Easy1978TV SeriesHimself
The Paul Ryan Show1977TV SeriesHimself
Dinah!1977TV SeriesHimself
The Mike Douglas Show1962-1974TV SeriesHimself / Himself - Actor / Folksinger
Day at Night1974TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Out of Bondage1974Documentary shortNarrator
The David Frost Show1969-1970TV SeriesHimself
Della1970TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

Die Öscars2016TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
The 70th Annual Tony Awards2016TV SpecialHimself - In Memoriam
The 88th Annual Academy Awards2016TV SpecialHimself (Memorial Tribute)
22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards2016TV SpecialHimself - In Memoriam
Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words2016DocumentaryRance Muhammitz
Behind the Scenes with 'Goldfinger'1995Video documentary shortHimself / Auric Goldfinger Screen Tests
Frank Zappa: New York and Elsewhere1980TV Movie documentaryRance Muhammitz


Won Awards

2014Lifetime Achievement AwardRhode Island International Film FestivalJourney 4 Artists (2013)
2005Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameLive PerformanceAwarded on April 29, 2005 at 6233 Hollywood Blvd.
1989EmmyLos Angeles Area Emmy AwardsPerformerLos Angeles History Project (1988)

Nominated Awards

1959OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actor in a Supporting RoleThe Defiant Ones (1958)
1959Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Male Supporting PerformanceThe Defiant Ones (1958)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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