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Seton Hall University

Sister Rose Thering Fund Mourns Late Actor  

Theodore Bikel receives a Doctorate of Humane Letters at the tenth annual Evening of Roses in 2003The Sister Rose Thering Fund for Education in Jewish-Christian Studies mourns the loss of actor and humanitarian Theodore Bikel, who passed away on Tuesday, July 21, 2015.

A long-time friend of the Sister Rose Thering Fund, Bikel advanced the legacy of Sister Rose by fostering understanding and cooperation among Jews, Christians and people of other religious traditions through advocacy and education. The internationally known musician/actor was honored by Seton Hall at the tenth annual Evening of Roses in 2003 with a Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa. Three years later and shortly before Sister Rose's death, Bikel took time out of a busy schedule to visit and sing for her at her home in Whippany, New Jersey.

Bikel also leaves behind a legacy as a gifted actor and singer. A master of languages, dialects and accents, he portrayed a variety of film and stage roles with outstanding depth and dimension. Some of his most memorable roles on the silver screen include Sheriff Max Muller in "The Defiant Ones," for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, as well as a German naval officer in "The African Queen" and the king of Serbia in "Moulin Rouge." Equally at home on the stage, Bikel received a Tony Award nomination for his performance in "The Rope Dancer" in 1958. He also originated the role of Captain Georg von Trapp in the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic "The Sound of Music," for which he received a second Tony Award nomination. Since 1967, he performed the role of Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof" over 2,000 times, both on Broadway and on tour.

The Sister Rose Thering Fund remembers Theodore Bikel with great fondness, particularly as we recall his comments upon receiving his honorary degree: "I know too well that we live in a world of guns, bombs and terror. To conquer hate always seems a near impossible task. But I prefer to make common cause with those whose weapons are guitars, banjos and fiddles and words."

Categories: Faith and Service

For more information, please contact:

  • Marilyn Zirl
  • (973) 761-9006
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