Los Angeles, July 22 (IANS) Oscar and Tony-nominated character actor Theodore Bikel, who originated the role of Captain von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” on Broadway and starred in “Fiddler on the Roof” on stage in thousands of performances, is dead. He was 91.
Bikel died of natural causes on Tuesday morning at UCLA Medical Center here, his publicist Harlan Boll announced, reports hollywoodreporter.com.
Internationally renowned and respected as one of the most versatile actors of his generation, Bikel received an Academy Award nomination as best supporting actor for “The Defiant Ones” (1958), in which he played a Southern sheriff.
Bikel’s background and versatility led to a wide range of roles. Often playing authority figures, the native of Vienna starred as a Dutch doctor in “The Little Kidnappers”; a German submarine officer in “The Enemy Below”; a French general in “The Pride and the Passion” and a Hungarian phonetics expert in “My Fair Lady”.
In “The Sound of Music”, which opened on Broadway in 1959 and ran until 1963, Bikel earned a Tony Award nomination for his work.
Bikel did a weekly radio program, “At Home With Theodore Bikel”, which was nationally syndicated.
He is the author of “Folksongs and Footnotes”, and his autobiography “Theo” was published in 1994.
Late into his life, Bikel wrote and starred in numerous performances of the play and musical “Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears”, which had its world premiere in Washington in 2008.