Chaim Topol lived double life as a Mossad agent family reveals
Israeli actor Chaim Topol lived a double life as a Mossad agent using his VIP status to gain entry to sensitive sites on daring missions around the world, his family reveals after his death aged 87
- Chaim Topol’s family revealed the actor lived a double life as a Mossad agent
- The revelation comes weeks after his death was announced at the age of 87
- He was best known for playing Tevye in stage and screen productions of Fiddler
Fiddler on the Roof star Chaim Topol was actually a Mossad agent who went on daring missions around the world, his family have revealed weeks after his death.
The Israeli actor, who died last month aged 87, lived a secret double life of ‘adventure and courage’ in between stints on the stage.
Although he gained fame for his depiction of Tevye in Shalom Aleichem’s stage musical, and then later in the 1971 film adaptation, his life off-stage was even more extraordinary.
His family say he used his London home as a base to welcome Mossad spies sent from Israel, who he plotted with to use his VIP status to gain entry to sensitive locations.
The trips usually targeted the embassies, airports and airlines of Israel’s Arab enemies, as revealed by his widow Galia, and children Adi and Omer in an interview with Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Omer told the publication: ‘I don’t know exactly what the appropriate definition is for the missions and duties he performed. But what is clear is that Dad was involved in secret missions on behalf of the Mossad.
The Israeli actor, who died last month aged 87 and was widely known by his surname Topol, lived a secret double life of ‘adventure and courage’ in between long stints on the stage
The trips usually targeted the embassies, airports and airlines of Israel’s Arab enemies, as revealed by his widow Galia (pictured with Topol)
Topol long ranked among Israel’s most decorated actors. Among his roles, he starred as James Bond’s foil-turned-ally Milos Columbo in For Your Eyes Only alongside Roger Moore
In 2015, Topol was celebrated for his contributions to film and culture with the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement, his country’s most prestigious honour
READ MORE: Chaim Topol dies at 87: Beloved star of Oscar-nominated musical Fiddler On The Roof passes away in Israel following battle with Alzheimer’s
RIP: Chaim Topol, a leading Israeli actor who charmed generations of theatergoers and movie-watchers with his portrayal of Tevye, the long-suffering and charismatic milkman in Fiddler on the Roof, died at 87 in Tel Aviv
‘His status in those years was that of an international star, and he could go anywhere he wanted. He had the ability to deliver documents and take pictures without anyone questioning anything.
‘But he was no James Bond or anything like that!’
The family claim much of his work was carried out when he moved to London in the 1970s for a stint of Fiddler on the Roof on the West End.
He would regularly visit the Israeli embassy, where he would meet his friend, Mossad officer Peter Zvi Malkin. The family said Mr Malkin would visit their home by sneaking in through the back garden.
Topol ‘was a kind of cover for [Malkin’s] operations,’ Galia said. ‘He would come to London and live with us when he needed to’.
One of the most amazing tales of Topol’s double life was a mission that involved bugging an Arab country’s embassy in an undisclosed European capital city.
Topol and Malkin rented an apartment next door to the embassy to drill holes in the shared wall and insert listening devices, the family revealed.
But the mission was only successful thanks to Topol’s acting skills.
The apartment was dressed as a dental clinic and when the Arab embassy security came to check on the drilling noise next door, Topol lay down on the dentist’s chair.
Topol’s accomplice, Zvi Zamir, who later became the head of Mossad, was quick to assume the role of the dentist while Topol acted as the patient, and the security guards quickly left, having been convinced by the pair.
According to the family Zamir regularly visited their London home.
They claim that the day before the Yom Kippur war broke out in 1973, Zamir arrived at the family home to tell them about the upcoming war.
Following the war, Topol joined the Israeli Defence Force’s information unit where he worked to build relationships with foreign journalists, covering peace talks between Israel and Egypt.
The family claim much of his work was carried out when he moved to London in the 1970s for a stint of Fiddler on the Roof on the West End (Pictured Topol and Galia)
Film producer Norman Jewison (left), film actress Norma Crane, and Topol (right) at the premiere of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’
Topol was pictured in June of 1981 opposite Ali MacGraw in the ABC miniseries The Winds of Wa
During this time, he came to know Egyptian generals and other top security figures. When the First Lebanon War began in 1982, he was sent to Beirut to meet with foreign agents and journalists to gather information on missing Israeli soldiers.
A recipient of two Golden Globe awards and nominee for both an Academy Award and a Tony Award, Topol long ranked among Israel’s most decorated actors.
Among his roles, he starred as James Bond’s foil-turned-ally Milos Columbo in For Your Eyes Only alongside Roger Moore.
More recently in 2015, he was celebrated for his contributions to film and culture with the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement, his country´s most prestigious honour.
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