91 (passed away Jul. 21st, 2015)
May. 2nd, 1924
Theodore Bikel's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Theodore Meir Bikel (pronounced bih-KEL; May 2, 1924 ~ July 21, 2015) was an Austrian-American Jewish actor, folk singer, musician, composer, and activist.
Bikel is one of the most versatile and respected actors and performers of his generation. A master of languages, dialects and accents, he has played every sort of film villain and semi-bad guy imaginable, and always adds depth, dimension and even sympathy to characters that would end up as cardboard cutouts in the hands of lesser actors. His memorable supporting roles include a German naval officer in The African Queen (1951), the king of Serbia in Moulin Rouge (1952) and a German submarine officer in The Enemy Below (1957). He was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in The Defiant Ones (1958).
Equally at home on the stage, Bikel is remembered for creating the role of Captain Von Trapp in the original Broadway cast of The Sound of Music opposite 'Mary Martin'. He also appeared on stage in Tonight in Samarkand, The Lark and The Rope Dancers. Bikel is fluent in more than half a dozen European and Middle Eastern languages, and sings folk songs in nearly 20 languages, skillfully accompanying himself on guitar, mandolin, balalaika and harmonica. He was a regular on the early 1960s TV show Hootenanny (1963), a weekly cavalcade of folk music. Over the years he has performed on college campuses and in concert halls all over the country, and has recorded a number of record albums of folk music from around the world.
Bikel was married four times. He married Ofra Ichilov in (1942). They divorced the following year. His second marriage was in (1967) to Rita Weinberg Call with whom he has two children. They divorced in (2008). He married conductor Tamara Brooks later that year. She died in 2012. He married Aimee Ginsburg (December 29, 2013).
For his 90th birthday in May 2014, various stars and celebrities paid tribute to his career through a video produced by Moment Magazine. Among those who spoke were 'Kirk Douglas', writer Leon Wieseltier and 'Leonard Nimoy', who himself had also played the role of Tevye when he acted in Fiddler on the Roof early in his career. Songwriter Peter Yarrow dedicated and performed a song he wrote about Bikel.
Bikel died on (July 21, 2015), at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles of natural causes, according to publicist Harlan Boll. Bikel is survived by his wife, Aimee Ginsburg-Bikel, his sons from his second marriage, Robert and Daniel, and three grandchildren.
- He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Live Theatre at 6233 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
- Was 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."
- Appeared as a member of a Mensa-like society in an episode of Columbo (Columbo: The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case) and is a real-life member of Mensa.
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