The Great White Way will go dark for one minute at 7:45 Friday night to honor actor Theodore Bikel, who died Tuesday at the age of 91 in Los Angeles.
Acclaimed for his versatility, singing ability and social activism, Bikel, who was born in Vienna, originated the role of Capt. Von Trapp in the “The Sound of Music,” on Broadway in 1959 — a role that eerily reprised his own family’s escape from the Nazis and which earned him his second Tony nomination. (His first was for “The Rope Dancers” in 1958.) Bikel, who grew up in British-controlled Palestine, performed the role of Tevye the Milkman in “Fiddler on The Roof” more than 2,000 times, though not on Broadway.
Bikel made his screen debut in “The African Queen” in 1951 and went on to earn more than 150 screen credits, including as a Russian captain in “The Russians are coming, dialect maven Zoltan Karpathy in “My Fair Lady” and Sheriff Max Muller in “The Defiant Ones” — a role which resulted in an Oscar nomination. He also appeared in numerous t.v. shows and was a celebrated folk singer.
Bikel served as president of Actors’ Equity from 1973 to 1982 and was vice-president of the American Jewish Congress, a board member of Amnesty International and a member of the National Council on the Arts.
This will be the third time this year Broadway has darkened for a departed star; last year it did so 13 times.