Dudu Topaz takes life while awaiting trial
LONDON — Fallen Israeli TV idol Dudu Topaz has committed suicide while awaiting trial for allegedly ordering attacks on TV toppers who had dropped his show.Topaz, 62, was being held at Nitzan Prison, about an hour from Tel Aviv, in a special unit for prisoners at risk of harming themselves. Israeli media reported he was found hanging by the cord of an electric kettle from the shower in his cell at around 6 a.m. local time on Thursday. Topaz allegedly ordered attacks against Reshet TV VP Shira Margalit, who was beaten up outside her Tel Aviv home in May; Keshet CEO Avi Nir in November; and agent Boaz Ben-Zion a few months earlier. Topaz had clashed with the three after the cancellation of his long-standing variety show, “HaRishon BaBidur” (First in Entertainment), four years ago. He was charged with assault and battery, conspiracy to commit a crime, extortion and obstruction of justice. Topaz had previously tried to commit suicide by overdosing on insulin, to which as a diabetic he was allowed access in prison. Topaz came to prominence in the early 1990s as a charismatic and hugely popular TV host, attracting some of the highest ratings on Israeli TV. However, his fame was marred by a series of incidents including assault and allegations of sexual harassment.