Israeli actor Chaim Topol and Hollywood actor Robert Blake
Israeli actor Chaim Topol and Hollywood actor Robert Blake Image Credit: AP

Actor Sean Connery was reported to have once said that he wanted to be recognised outside of his work as James Bond, the fictional spy for the British intelligence service MI6. Connery was singularly famous for his portrayal of 007 in the James Bond movie series, thanks to his portrayal of the suave spy. We present to you two actors who were similarly synonymous for one of their most famous works in cinema — Chaim Topol and Robert Blake.

Hollywood actor Robert Blake, best known as a child star in Westerns of the 1940s and 1950s, and his starring role in the 1970s television series 'Beretta', died on March 9. Chaim Topol, the Israeli actor and singer who's singularly known for his portrayal of Tevye, the lead role in the stage musical 'Fiddler on the Roof' and its 1971 film adaptation, died a day before. We take a closer look at their career and their finest performances on screen.

Chaim Topol

Chaim Topol (centre) in 'Fiddler On The Roof' (1971)
Based on a stage play of the same name seven years ago, 'Fiddler On The Roof' revolves around Tevye, a milkman who attempts to maintain his traditions and has to contend with modern romantic ideals of three of his daughters. Topol played the lead role in n the stage musical and the 1971 film adaptation, performing this role more than 3,500 times from 1967 through 2009. Image Credit: IMDB
Chaim Topol
'Fiddler On The Roof', which opened in Broadway in 1964 and was the first to surpass 3,000 theatrical performances. It held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years until 'Grease' surpassed its run. Image Credit: IMDB
Roger Moore and Chaim Topol in 'For Your Eyes Only' (1981).
Chaim Topol acted in the adventure-packed 'For Your Eyes Only' (1981), the twelfth film in the James Bond franchise starring Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent who's out to locate a missing missile command system in Greece. Topol played Milos Columbo, a Greek smuggler who helps Bond in his endeavour. 'For Your Eyes Only' is also known for its spirited theme song by Sheena Easton. Image Credit: IMDB
Melody Anderson, Sam J Jones and Chaim Topol in 'Flash Gordon' (1980)
Topol also starred in the 1980 superhero film 'Flash Gordon' as Hans Zarkov in which Sam J Jones (centre) plays the titular character, a sportsman who unites the warring factions of the fictitious planet of Mongo against Ming the Merciless (Max Von Sydow), who wants to destroy Earth. Image Credit: IMDB

Robert Blake

Robert Blake as a child artiste
Robert Blake began his acting career as a child. His first role was was as Toto in the MGM movie 'Bridal Suite' (1939). He acted in other in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movies like the 'Our Gang (Little Rascals)' short film series, which ran for five years till 1944. He also appeared as a child actor in 22 entries of the 'Red Ryder' film franchise — often as an American Indian or Latino character. Image Credit: IMDB
Robert Blake and others in 'Joy Scouts' (1939)
He acted in many movies as a child until adulthood in 1950, when he was drafted into the US army. Here he is seen with other child artistes in 'Joy Scouts' (1939). Image Credit: IMDB
Robert Blake and Bill Elliott in 'Cheyenne Wildcat' (1944)
Bill Elliott and Robert Blake in 'Cheyenne Wildcat' (1944) Image Credit: IMDB
Robert Blake
As an adult, he was praised for his portrayal of real-life murderer Perry Smith in the movie of Truman Capote’s true crime best seller ‘In Cold Blood’. The best of his career was yet to come. Image Credit: IMDB
Robert Blake in 'Baretta'
Blake's career peaked with the 1975-78 TV cop series, ‘Baretta’. He starred as a detective who carried a pet cockatoo on his shoulder and was fond of disguises. It was typical of his specialty, portraying tough guys with soft hearts, and its signature line: “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time,” was often quoted. Blake won a 1975 Emmy for his portrayal of Tony Baretta, although behind the scenes the show was wracked by disputes involving the temperamental star. Image Credit: IMDB
Robert Blake
It was during this period that Blake gained a reputation as one of Hollywood’s finest actors, but also that of one of the most difficult to work with. He later admitted to struggles with alcohol and drug addiction in his early life. Image Credit: IMDB
Kirk Douglas, Richard Jaeckel, and Robert Blake in 'Town Without Pity' (1961)
Blake, seen here with Kirk Douglas and Richard Jaeckel in 'Town Without Pity' (1961), never recovered from a long ordeal which began with the shooting death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, outside a Studio City restaurant on May 4, 2001. The story of their strange marriage, the child it produced and its violent end was a Hollywood tragedy played out in court. Blake became better known as the centre of a real-life murder trial. He was adamant that he hadn’t killed his wife and a jury ultimately acquitted him. But a civil jury would find him liable for her death and order him to pay Bakley’s family $30 million, a judgment which sent him into bankruptcy. The daughter he and Bakley had together, Rose Lenore, was raised by other relatives and went for years without seeing Blake, until they spoke in 2019. She would tell People magazine that she called him ‘Robert’, not ‘Dad’. Image Credit: IMDB