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Fiddler on the Roof actor Chaim Topol dies aged 87

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Fiddler on the Roof actor Chaim Topol has died at the age of 87.

The Israeli actor is best known for the portrayal of Tevye in the 1971 musical.

His death was confirmed in a Twitter post by Israeli president Isaac Herzog on Wednesday, in which he said Topol was “one of the giants of Israeli culture”.

The president 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”.

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

Born in 1935, he grew in a working-class area of Tel Aviv.

Topol’s career took off after starring as the titular character in the 1964 Israeli comedy Sallah Shabati, for which he won a Golden Globe award for most promising male newcomer.

He picked up a second Golden Globe in 1971 for best actor for his role in Fiddler on the Roof.

He was also nominated for a Tony Award for best actor when he starred in a 1991 Broadway revival of the musical. He performed the role of milkman Tevye more than 3,500 times both on stage and screen from the late 1960s until 2009.

Topol starred in several Israeli and American films including the 1975 adaption of Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo and the 1980 sci-fi film Flash Gordon.

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

Topol is survived by his wife Galia, who he married in 1965, and their children, daughters Anat and Ady and son Omer.

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