Stage and film star Theodore Bikel dies in LA at 91

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — Theodore Bikel, the Tony- and Oscar-nominated actor and singer whose passions included folk music and political activism, died Tuesday morning of natural causes at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, said his agent Robert Malcolm. He was 91.

The Austrian-born Bikel was the original Captain von Trapp when "The Sound of Music" premiered on Broadway in 1959. That role brought him one of his two Tony nominations.

He received an Oscar nomination for his 1958 portrayal as the Southern sheriff in "The Defiant Ones." He played Tevye the fiddler more than 2,000 times in stage productions of "Fiddler on the Roof."

Bikel sang folk music in more than 20 languages and helped found the Newport Folk Festival in 1959. He was also devoted to Jewish causes, the Democratic Party and human rights groups.