TINSELTOWN TALKS: Bikel looks behind on long, sundry career
January 28, 2015 - accent chair
Growing adult in Austria, immature Theodore Bikel dreamed of performing. He would grasp that goal, and more.
“I was 19 when we initial achieved professionally on stage, and now I’m 90,” pronounced Bikel from Los Angeles.
But that prolonged career competence never have happened, had his family not fled their homeland in 1938.
“That’s when a Germans took over, and Austria became a strange, alien, and honest country,” pronounced Bikel, who removed being beaten adult during propagandize and chased by parks. “We went from consulate to consulate and embassy to embassy to find a nation that would take us, and eventually staid in Palestine.”
Before fleeing, 13-year-old Bikel glimpsed a face behind those dark, immorality days.
“We lived on a far-reaching highway and saw a troops impetus by with tanks,” he recalled. “One of a vehicles was an open limousine with Hitler roving in it, as it upheld right by a home. We were unequivocally afraid.”
Bikel changed to London in 1945, and a U.S. a decade later, apropos a successful actor, folk singer, author, and lecturer, though never forgot a fear from his childhood.
“It positively shabby most of my life and my loyalty to tellurian and polite rights,” he said. “I can't bear to see misapplication of any kind.”
Bikel’s biggest veteran theatre success came in 1967 as Tevye, a milkman in “Fiddler on a Roof,” a impression he portrayed for 4 decades in over 2,000 performances opposite North America. But when a 1971 film chronicle was filmed, a partial was given to Israeli actor Topol.
“I was unequivocally anticipating to get a role, though (director) Norman Jewison suspicion otherwise,” he said.
By then, Bikel’s film career was good underway, carrying begun in 1951 with his initial shade coming in “The African Queen” with Humphrey Bogart. Largely filmed on plcae in a Congo, Bikel was spared a disease, heat, and furious animals that a rest of a expel endured.
“All my scenes were filmed on a London studio backlot, sharpened during a day and appearing in a play during night,” he recalled. “Bogart was tremendous, unequivocally loose and we played chess. we would see him sitting in a make-up chair in a morning mumbling lines to himself. Then, half an hour later, he was on a set giving a ideal full-blown performance.”
Bikel attended a 1959 Academy Awards after he and 3 other expel members were nominated for performances in “The Defiant Ones.” Was there anything remarkable about a ceremony?
“Yes,” he replied, “I didn’t win.”
Neither did co-stars Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, or Cara Williams, nonetheless a film grabbed Oscars for best screenplay and cinematography.
Another tiny though remarkable purpose came in 1964 when Bikel was expel as Hungarian phonetician Zoltan Karpathy in “My Fair Lady.”
“The executive wanted someone with an exquisite accent and a lot of hair, so we qualified,” pronounced Bikel. “I unequivocally wanted to play Alfred Doolittle, though a purpose went to Stanley Holloway. we had to dance with Audrey Hepburn, so we insisted they give me ballroom dancing lessons — I wasn’t going to step on her toes.”
In 1966, Bikel assimilated Carl Reiner, Alan Arkin, and Jonathan Winters in a comedy “The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!”
“That was a glorious knowledge with a good expel and we desired spending time together on and off screen,” he noted.
Bikel done over 150 TV and film appearances, though one purpose that eluded him was master knave in James Bond’s “Goldfinger.”
“I did a shade exam and they even painted my hair gold,” pronounced Bikel. “They don’t tell we because we don’t get a role. Maybe we only wasn’t bizarre enough.”
Currently, Bikel is creation singular trips around a nation to speak about “Theodore Bikel: In a Shoes of Sholom Aleichem,” his documentary about Yiddish author and playwright Aleichem (see bikel.com).
“Theo: An Autobiography” was also updated and re-released final summer, detailing Bikel’s veteran career and lifelong regard for on-going causes.
“In a new edition, during 90, we demeanour during myself from a inside and see what we schooled from my life,” he said. “Maybe we can learn others from my experiences.”
- NICK THOMAS teaches during Auburn University during Montgomery, Ala., and has created features, columns and interviews for some-more than 400 magazines and newspapers.