The family of late actor Chaim Topol has revealed that, between acting gigs, he regularly worked on reconnaissance missions for Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel.
The news comes one month after Topol’s death, who passed away at the age of 87 after a long career as an international film star and “one of the most outstanding Israeli stage artists,” according Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
Best known for his role as milkman Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” Topol’s status as a famous actor allegedly gave him the ability to travel abroad and meet with dignitaries and other important officials without drawing suspicion, reports Deadline.
In an interview with Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Topol’s family claims he would use his London apartment as a base from which he would target embassies, airports and airlines of Arab enemies.
One story recounts Topol on a trip with his friend, Mossad officer Peter Zvi Malkin, as the two traveled to a European city and bugged an Arab embassy.
They drilled through a neighboring apartment wall to accomplish the feat, pretending to be a dentist and dental patient to cover for the sound of drilling.
“I don’t know exactly what the appropriate definition is for the missions and duties he performed,” his son Omer said in the interview. “But what is clear is that Dad was involved in secret missions on behalf of the Mossad.”
“His status in those years was that of an international star, and he could go anywhere he wanted,” Omer added. “He had the ability to deliver documents and take pictures without anyone questioning anything. But he was no James Bond or anything like that!”
That said, perhaps his experience working on a James Bond flick came in handy. In 1981, Topol played Bond villain-turned-collaborator Milos Columbo in “For Your Eyes Only,” opposite Roger Moore.
Over the course of his acting career, he appeared in more than 30 films in Israel and the U.S., including “The Public Eye” (1972), “Galileo” (1975) and “Flash Gordon” (1980).
After portraying Tevye in the original West End production of “Fiddler on the Roof” in 1967, he went on to star in the 1971 film adaptation. Between 1983 and 2009, he reprised the role on Broadway, across the U.S., and throughout England, Israel, and Australia, performing the part more than 3,500 times total.
© 2023 New York Daily News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC