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Fiddler On The Roof star Chaim Topol dies at the age of 87

Chaim Topol has died at the age of 87, Israel’s president has said.

The Israeli actor was best known for his portrayal of Tevye in 1971 musical Fiddler On The Roof.

Topol’s death was confirmed in a statement shared on Twitter by president Isaac Herzog on Wednesday, in which he paid tribute to Topol as “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”.

He added that throughout his career, the actor had “represented us with great respect”.

The Oscar-nominated actor was reportedly diagnosed with dementia last year.

Topol’s acting career began to gain momentum after he was cast as the titular character in Israeli comedy Sallah Shabati, which earnt him the Golden Globe award for most promising male newcomer.

Topol went on to star in a number of films, both in Israel and the US, including the 1975 adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo and 1980 sci-fi film Flash Gordon.

The Israeli actor was best known for his portrayal of Tevye in 1971 musical Fiddler On The Roof (Alamy/PA)
The Israeli actor was best known for his portrayal of Tevye in 1971 musical Fiddler On The Roof (Alamy/PA)

Topol scooped a second Golden Globe in 1971, this time for best actor, for his role of Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof.

A 1991 Broadway revival of Fiddler On The Roof also saw Topol nominated for a Tony Award for best actor.

In his statement, Herzog added that despite being highly decorated for his “talent and creation”, it was the people of Israel that had won “the most important award” by being able to enjoy his work.

In addition to acting, Topol also dedicated his time to charitable causes and founded Variety Israel – an organisation that provides support for children living with disabilities and their families.

Topol also served as the president of Jordan River Village, a free overnight camp for Israeli children living with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.

In 2015 Topol was awarded the Israel Prize – the country’s most prestigious award – for lifetime achievement and special contribution to society and the state.

Topol is outlived by his wife Galia, who he married in 1965, and the couple’s three children, daughters Anat and Ady and son Omer.