The Milken Archive of Jewish Music, in conjunction with the Theodore Bikel Legacy Project, releases a mini-documentary on “The Singer of His People”

July 17, 2018

Theodore Bikel’s hope was to be remembered as “the singer of his people.” He was that—and a lot more besides. The Emmy winning, Oscar and Tony-nominated actor, singer, and peace activist defined iconic roles in “The Sound of Music” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” released dozens of albums of folk songs, was co-founder of the Newport Folk Festival, took a lead role in the Civil Rights Movement, was a long-time president of Actor's Equity, and helped secure the survival of Yiddish culture for future generations.

Produced by the Milken Archive of Jewish Music in cooperation with his wife, Aimee Ginsburg Bikel, this short documentary tribute features Bikel reflecting on his life and career in an oral history session recorded in the final months of his life. Dozens of rare photographs from his personal archives enhance the story. Bikel’s own recordings form the musical score. Aimee Ginsburg Bikel narrates.

The release of the 10-minute documentary is timed to coincide with the three-year commemoration (yahrzeit) of Bikel's passing on July 21, 2015, at age 91.

"It is impossible to believe three years have passed," said Aimee Ginsburg Bikel, the founder and director of the Theodore Bikel Legacy Project. “People continue to approach us daily with their warm memories, with their appreciation for everything that Theo meant to them, and with the wish that his clear voice for peace and justice could be heard again. Theo is greatly missed, but his memory is indeed a blessing and his legacy lives on.”

“Bikel was a giant in every sense of the word—his imposing stature, his many talents, his commitment to activism, and his influence on Jewish culture,” noted Milken Archive Curator Jeff Janeczko. “Watching him reflect on his remarkable life and many accomplishments reminds us of the hole that remains where he once stood.”

Viewing is free and available to all:

For more info on Theodore Bikel

For more info on the Milken Archive of Jewish Music

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