TEL AVIV – Israeli actor Chaim Topol, best known for his performance as Tevye the milkman in “Fiddler On the Roof,” has been awarded Israel’s highest honor: the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement.
Israel’s Education Ministry, which oversees the prize, announced the award on Monday.
Topol, 79, is among Israel’s most decorated actors. The winner of two Golden Globes, including one for his performance as Tevye, he has also been nominated for both an Academy Award and a Tony Award.
He broke onto the Israeli screen in 1964’s “Sallah Shabati,” a racially tinged comedy that was one of the first true Israeli hits, and which made history for being the first Israeli film to ever earn an Oscar nomination.
During his long career, Topol has also appeared on Broadway and West End stages, and in films in both Israel and Hollywood. He played the title role in Joseph Losey’s “Galileo,” appeared as Dr. Hans Zarkov in “Flash Gordon,” and aided James Bond in the role of Milos Columbo in “For Your Eyes Only.”
Topol lives in Tel Aviv and is also a well known activist for children with special needs. He will share the Lifetime Achievement Award with Esther Herlitz, 93, the founder of Israel’s umbrella organization for voluntary services.