Theo: An Autobiography / Edition 1

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Theodore Bikel is an actor: as Mitch opposite Vivien Leigh's Blanche DuBois in the original London production of A Streetcar Named Desire; opposite Bogie and Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen; as Baron Von Trapp opposite Mary Martin's Maria in the Broadway landmark The Sound of Music; and, of course, as Tevye, the sagacious milkman from the tales of Sholom Aleichem, immortalized in Fiddler on the Roof. Theodore Bikel is an activist: from his early involvement with the struggle for civil rights to his support and active campaigning for then-Senator John F. Kennedy, through his work for progressive causes the world over, from Tel Aviv to Tbilisi. And with that voice, the voice that has won him applause as a singer, and, as an actor, an Emmy, an Oscar nomination, and countless other citations for his talent and his commitment. Now, Theodore Bikel, Theo, as he calls himself, turns his voice to the telling of a truly compelling story: his own. Born in Austria, raised in Palestine, educated in England, and with a stellar career in the United States and around the world, Theo's autobiography is the story not only of his own life, but of our collective history of the past six decades, from the Third Reich to the birth of the state of Israel, the McCarthyite fifties and the struggles of the tumultuous sixties in America. All rendered in his uniquely eloquent, fiercely committed voice. It will surprise, delight, and shock you. A tale from a man you thought you knew: actor, activist, singer, writer. Theo is all of these, and so much more.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Noted film actor (The Defiant Ones), Broadway star (The Sound of Music) and folksinger Bikel documents his life, beginning in 1938, when he escaped with his family at age 13 from German-occupied Austria. He recalls his early days in the Hebrew Theatre in Palestine, his training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and his move to the U.S., where he continued his acting career and became intimately involved with folk music. Extremely versatile, he has performed in the theater, in films, on radio, on TV and in other venues. Bikel has led an active political life as well, and his narrative is interspersed with comments on his work for Democratic Party causes, the National Council on the Arts, the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement of the 1960s and on behalf of Soviet Jewry and other Jewish causes. Pride in accomplishment is understandable, but it's no excuse for an autobiography that is too long and at times tedious. Photos not seen by PW. Jewish Book Club alternate. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

“Bountiful and rewarding: an intimate memoir by an actor who is passionate on the subject of acting, a generous and endearing storyteller, and an eye-witness to history.”—Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times

“Bikel has been an articulate spokesman against oppression, dictatorship, inhumanity, war.”—Boston Globe

“An engaging, well-written memoir . . . full of theater stories about playing Mitch opposite Vivien Leigh’s Blanche in the London production of A Streetcar Named Desire, playing Baron von Trapp opposite Mary Martin’s Maria in The Sound of Music, and of course his many performances as Tevye [in Fiddler on the Roof].”—Oakland Tribune

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299182847
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 9/5/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 452
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Theodore Bikel lives in California. He continues to work as an actor, singer, and activist, supporting the search for peace and other causes.
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Table of Contents

1 Flashback 1
2 Hebrew Theatre 22
3 ... Trippingly on the Tongue 37
4 The Kindness of Strangers 56
5 The Guitars of the Exile 73
6 East End, West End, and the Palace 93
7 How Much Does He Want? 113
8 America - Love at First Sight 134
9 Folk Lure 152
10 Peregrinations 184
11 The Hills Are Alive 204
12 Union Dues 219
13 Come, Let Us Reason Together 249
14 I Sing and I'll Keep Singing 267
15 Versatility 289
16 Tevye 321
17 From Jerusalem to Jerusalem 355
18 Entebbe, Vanessa, and Other Thoughts 366
19 Zorba 382
20 Toward the Millennium 406
Epilogue 429
Postscript 2002 431
Index 443
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