Theodore Meir Bikel ( bih-KEL; May 2, 1924 – July 21, 2015) was an American actor, folk singer, musician, composer, unionist, and political activist. He appeared in films, including The African Queen (1951), Moulin Rouge (1952), The Kidnappers (1953), The Enemy Below (1957), I Want to Live! (1958), My Fair Lady (1964), The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966), and 200 Motels (1971). For his portrayal of Sheriff Max Muller in The Defiant Ones (1958), he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.He made his stage debut in Tevye the Milkman in Tel Aviv, Israel, when he was in his teens. He later studied acting at Britain's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and made his London stage debut in 1948 and in New York in 1955. He was also a widely recognized and recorded folk singer and guitarist. In 1959, he co-founded the Newport Folk Festival, and created the role of Captain von Trapp opposite Mary Martin as Maria in the original Broadway production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The Sound of Music. In 1969, Bikel began acting and singing on stage as Tevye in the musical Fiddler on the Roof, a role he performed more often than any other actor to date. The production won nine Tony Awards, and was one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history.
Bikel was president of the Associated Actors and Artistes of America until 2014, and was president of Actors' Equity in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He served as the chairman of the board of directors of Partners for Progressive Israel, where he also lectured.