Austrian-born US actor and singer. Bikel was cast as the original Georg von Trapp in Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music in 1959. He became an American citizen in 1961 and appeared in revivals of such musicals as Fiddler on the Roof, appearing many times as Tevye the milkman, and Zorba.
He also played character parts in many films, including a German naval officer in The African Queen (1951); a Southern sheriff in The Defiant Ones (1958), for which he received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor; and a Hungarian phonetics expert in the 1964 musical My Fair Lady.
He was born in Vienna. After his family fled to Palestine in 1938, he played Tevye in his first professional role, in Tel Aviv. He studied at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) from 1946 to 1948 and appeared in the first UK production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Laurence Olivier.
[16 November 1959] musical play by Howard Lindsay, Russel Crouse (bk), Richard Rodgers (mu), Oscar Hammerstein (lyr) [Lunt-Fontanne Thea; 1,443p TA]
Robert Wise, USA, 1965 Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker 174 minutes; colour The film Having proved herself...
A stage musical (1964) and film (1971), with a book by Joseph Stein, score by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, that relate the story...