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Remembering Theodore Bikel, 1924-2015

Remembering Theodore Bikel, 1924-2015 is saddened to report the death of yet another respected entertainment figure and Star Trek guest star, namely Theodore Bikel. The stage and screen actor, folk singer and guitarist, and longtime union activist was best known for playing Tevye in thousands of performances of Fiddler on the Roof, on Broadway and on the road, and for his Oscar-nominated turn as Sheriff Muller in The Defiant Ones. Star Trek: The Next Generation fans will remember that he played Sergey Rozhenko, the Russian adoptive father of Worf, in the episode "Family." Bikel, who was still making public appearances as recently as last month, passed away on July 20 at the age of 91 in Los Angeles. According to his official website, he died of natural causes.Brent Spiner mourned Bikel in a Tweet that said, "Farewell to the wonderful Theodore Bikel. He was a great father to Worf, among hundreds of other terrific performances." And, as part of a video celebrating Bikel's 90th birthday last year, Leonard Nimoy implored Bikel -- in both Yiddish and English -- to "Live Long and Prosper."

Bikel, who was born in Vienna, Austria, worked steadily for decades. His lengthy list of stage, screen and television credits included The Rope Dancer (his first Tony nomination), The Sound of Music (he originated the role of Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, securing his second Tony nomination), The African Queen, The Pride and the Passion, The Blue Angel, My Fair Lady, The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!, 200 Motels, The Twilight Zone, Mission: Impossible, All in the Family, Charlie's Angels, Fantasy Island, Dynasty, Law and Order, Babylon 5, Murder, She Wrote, JAG and Crime and Punishment. Of course, his signature part was Tevye, which he played on stage more than 2,000 times between 1967 and 2009. His autobiography, Theo: The Autobiography of Theodore Bikel, was published in 1995, he released 27 albums and in 2010 he was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for outstanding solo performance for Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears.

Bikel, according to Variety, served as president of the Associated Actors and Artistes of America, a federation of trade unions for performing artists in the U.S. including Actors’ Equity and the Screen Actors Guild. He was active in Actors Equity for many years and was the group's president in the late 70s and early 80s. And well before then he fought for causes he believed in, participating in civil rights demonstrations and opposing the Vietnam War in the 60s.

Bikel was married four times. He is survived by his fourth wife, Aimee Ginsburg-Bikel, sons Rob and Danny, and stepsons Zeev and Noam Ginsburg, as well as three grandchildren. Please join in offering our condolences to Bikel's family, friends and fans.


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