“I wasn’t brought up in Hollywood. I was brought up on a kibbutz.” – Topol

Known to all by the single name ‘Topol,’ the Israeli actor, singer and illustrator was also recognized by another name, ‘Tevye,’ his signature role from ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’

Chaim Topol was born on September 9, 1935, in Tel Aviv. His father, Jacob, was a Russian immigrant and plasterer who later served in the Haganah, while his mother, Inrela, was a seamstress from a Gerrer Chasidish family.

Topol’s career began in the 1950s during his military service in Israel. It wasn’t until 1964 when he starred in his breakout role in the hit film ‘Sallah Shabati.’ The movie won Topol his first Golden Globe and became the first Israeli film to receive an Academy Award nomination. 

In 1971, he portrayed Tevye in the movie adaptation of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Topol played the role of Tevye more than 3,500 times.