Famous Israelis – Israel Culture – Chaim Topol

Chaim Topol is a famous Israeli Actor and musical theatre performer.
He was born to Rel (Goldman) and Jacob Topol on the 9th September 1935 in Tel Aviv Israel which at that time was the British Mandate territory of Palestine.

Chaim began acting in amateur theatrical plays during his mandatory service in the Israeli Defense Force and after completion of his National Service established a satirical cabaret theatre group in Tel Aviv called “The Spring Onion” together with Ephraim Kishon, an army friend.

In 1957 he married Galia Finkelstein and they have 3 children Omer, Adi and Anat who is also an actress. In 1960 he significantly contributed to the founding of the National Theatre of Haifa.

Topol acted in a number of Israeli films the best known being Sallah Shabati which was an adaptation of a play written by Ephraim Kishon about the difficulties experienced by Yeminite Jewish immigrant family. The film received an Oscar nomination in 1964 for best foreign language film and Topol won the Golden Globe Award for best new actor of the year. In 1966 Topol made his first screen appearance as Abou Ibn Kaqden in an English Language Movie “Cast a Giant Shadow” starring Kirk Douglas.

Chaim Topol is best known for his role of Tevya the Milkman in the blockbuster movie Fiddler on the Roof and while on active service in the Israeli Army he was informed that he had won a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar nomination for best actor in the film version and was given permission to attend the award ceremonies.

Since then Topol has had notable parts in many films and has played Tevye in Stage Productions of Fiddler on the Roof, in London, New York as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and many countries in Europe.