Israeli actor Chaim Topol, best known for his role as Tevye in the film “Fiddler on the Roof,” may have had an unexpected double life outside of acting.
The actor, who passed away in March, used his VIP status as an actor to work for Mossad, according to a new interview with his family in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz.
Topol’s wife Galia, who he met while a member of the Israeli army in the 1950s, and children, son Omer and daughter Adi, told the outlet he had been involved in “secret missions” for the country’s intelligence agency.
“I’m not sure what the exact definition is for the missions and roles he undertook,” said Omer. “But what’s clear is that Dad was involved in secret missions for the Mossad.”
The family noted that he often took trips abroad with a miniature camera and tape recorder. “He took the camera and the recording equipment on every trip abroad,” Topol’s daughter claimed.
Fox News Digital has reached out for comment from Topol’s representatives.
They also shared memories of a family friend, Zvi Malkin, a well-known member of Mossad who was part of the squad that captured Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aries in May 1960, and often met with Topol in his London home.
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“Zvika always showed up in disguise, came through the backyard so he wouldn’t be seen, and then came into our apartment,” Adi recalled.
Topol was raised in Tel Aviv and after his army service, he became an actor, first gaining fame in the 1964 Israeli film “Sallah Shabati.” The film earned a Golden Globe for best foreign language film and one for Topol as well, in the most promising male newcomer category.
He is best known for the role of Tevye in the 1971 film production of “Fiddler on the Roof” – he originated the role on London’s West End in 1967, and earned a Golden Globe for his performance in the film adaptation. He was additionally nominated for a Tony Award when he revisited the part in the 1991 Broadway revival.
According to his family, the notoriety from “Fiddler” offered a distraction for work done with and by Malkin and others.
Adi claimed, “Zvika would come to London and stay with us when necessary. Dad helped him in a variety of ways, like checking access, drawing up plans and making security arrangements. They went together, with Zvika taking pictures and making tape recordings. Sometimes they entered a particular embassy. Zvika would disappear for a moment, do what he did and return at some point. To divert attention from Zvika, Dad made noise.”
Omer shared another story about Topol and Malkin installing eavesdropping equipment in an apartment, with the cover story of being a dentist and patient, complete with medical equipment. Per the actor’s son, they were discovered and played their parts. “As befits two skilled actors, they put on a perfect show. The security men were persuaded and left,” Omer said.
Topol’s family aren’t the only ones making claims about the actor’s espionage efforts.
Another individual outside the family, Uri Slonim, told Haaretz he used Topol to make connections in countries where Israelis weren’t necessarily welcome.
“Chaim was an actor with an international reputation, but he was also someone who knew his way around and had a lot of connections,” Slonim told Haaretz. “And it can be said that his reputation and status as a beloved and popular actor helped him in communicating with people in these countries.”
In 2015, Israel celebrated 67 years of independence, honoring Topol with the Israel Prize for his lifetime achievements. One year earlier, the University of Haifa gave Topol an honorary degree, recognizing his cultural impact for more than 50 years.
A cause of death for the actor was not revealed, however his son told the Israeli press last year that his father was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Fox News Digital’s Caroline Thayer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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