(Richard Severo’s and Ralph Blumenthal’s article appeared in The New York Times, 7/21.)

Theodore Bikel, the multilingual troubadour, character actor and social activist who created the role of Baron von Trapp in the original Broadway production of “The Sound of Music” and toured for decades as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” died on Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 91.

B. Harlan Böll, his publicist, confirmed the death, at the UCLA Medical Center. Mr. Bikel lived in Los Angeles.

A bulky, bearish man with an international background — he was born in Vienna and lived for years in England and British-administered Palestine — Mr. Bikel (pronounced bih-KEL) sang in 21 languages and was comfortable playing characters of almost any nationality, whether comic buffoons or scoundrels. He won warm reviews and a loyal following, but it was often suggested that he was underappreciated — an “actor in search of an ID,” in the words of a 1988 headline in The Los Angeles Times.


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