The actor who played the hero Tevye
in the 1971 film Fiddler on the Roof
. His name is Chaim Topol, but he is usually known simply as Topol. The role was created on Broadway
by Zero Mostel
, who was also a possibility for the film role, as were Danny Kaye
and even Frank Sinatra
! But director Norman Jewison
chose the young Topol, who headed the London stage cast (with Miriam Karlin
He was born in Tel Aviv, started acting while doing his military service, and founded a satirical theatre company called The Spring Onion; then in 1960 he founded the Haifa Municipal Theatre. Plays he performed in here including Taming of the Shrew, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Andorra, The Rhinoceros, and Rashomon.
His first film was an Israeli comedy I Like Mike, followed by Sallah. It was his performance in the latter that led producer Hal Prince to cast him in the London run of Fiddler on the Roof, which brought him international fame. He has since appeared in numerous revivals of it, and has of course also been in many other plays and films since.
He has written an autobiography Topol by Topol, compiled a treasury of Jewish humour, and is also a book illustrator.
An unofficial web site on him: http://www.fiddleroz.com/Chaim_Topol/chaim_topol.html