Theodore Bikel, created the role of Baron von Trapp in the original Broadway production of “The Sound of Music” Dies at 91
Theodore Meir Bikel (May 2, 1924 – July 21, 2015) was an Austrian-American Jewish actor, folk singer, musician, and composer. He made his film debut in The African Queen (1951) and was nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting role as Sheriff Max Muller in The Defiant Ones (1958). Bikel is President of the Associated Actors and Artistes of America and was president of Actors' Equity in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Partners for Progressive Israel,where he also lectures. His autobiography, Theo, first published in 1995, has been reprinted and updated three times. On Broadway he originated the role of Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music in 1959, for which he received his second Tony nomination. Bikel did not like his role in The Sound of Music because his ability to sing was limited in the play, and he did not like to perform repeatedly the same role of the Captain. The song "Edelweiss" was created spontaneously, during the final try-outs off-Broadway, when it was realized that Bikel, an experienced folk singer, acting as Captain von Trapp, had no song of his own. Later, many people in theatre audiences claimed they remembered hearing "Edelweiss" as a traditional folk song.
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