Theodore Bikel

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Theodore Bikel (b. 1924, Vienna, Austria) is an actor, musician, and activist in liberal Zionism.

Stage and cinema

Sir Laurence Olivier first cast him in a London production of "A Streetcar Named Desire". On Broadway, he was original Captain Von Trappe of "The Sound of Music" and the Tevya of the original run of "Fiddler on the Roof". Many consider him the definitive Tevya in over 2,000 performances.

In films, he is known for his role as a German U-boat captain in the film "The Enemy Below" and was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in the 1958 movie "The Defiant Ones".


Best known for vocal and guitar renditions of folk music, he reguarly performed on the weekly television series Hootenanny, before co-founding (with Pete Seeger) the Newport Folk Festival.

Political and labor

Active in the American Civil Rights Movement,he was an elected delegate to the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. He has been Senior Vice President of the American Jewish Congress, he served as President of the Actors' Equity Association (1973-82), as a Vice President of the International Federation of Actors (FIA), (1981-1991), as a Board Member of Amnesty International (USA), and, by Presidential appointment, as a member of the National Council on the Arts (1977-82). He is currently the President of the Associated Actors and Artistes of America (4A's).

He is chair of Meretz-USA and contributes to Ameinu.


  • London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (1948)
  • Languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, German, English and French