July 21st marks the three-year yarzheit (death anniversary) of actor, singer, Zionist and peace activist, Theodore Bikel. In celebration of his life and work, we are releasing a new Spotlight Series video that we recorded with Bikel and his wife Aimee who narrates the short documentary. The video was recorded a few months before Theodore Bikel's passing in 2015.
Born in Vienna in 1924, Bikel and his family fled the German occupation to Palestine in 1938, beginning a life of wandering and seeking. He moved from country to country and genre to genre, recording 37 albums in 21 languages, originating the role of Captain Von Trapp and performing the role of Tevye the Dairyman over 2,000 times, garnering Tony and Oscar nominations along the way.
But the self-described lifelong refugee always maintained a sense of purpose stemming from his Jewish roots.
"… There was always a purpose to what I did. I believe in some redeeming features of kindness—human kindness—that is necessary. I get that from my background. I get that from my Jewishness. I get that from the ethos I grew up with."
Watch the newly released video to hear Bikel reflect on his life journey from Vienna to a kibbutz, to the pinnacles of entertainment, in his calling to be a "singer of his people."