Theodore Bikel, known to Trek fans for his role of Sergey Rozhenko, Worf’s Russian adopted father, is dead at the age of ninety-one.
The actor died on Monday of natural causes.
Born in Austria, Bikel’s family fled to Palestine after the Nazis invaded his country in 1938. Bikel began his career in Tel Aviv in 1943 and then made his way to London, where he remained until coming to the US in the 1950s.
Working on both stage and screen, Bikel was best-known for his role of Tevye in the Broadway performance of Fiddler on the Roof. Bikel was also a singer who recorded dozens of albums.
In 1958 he was nominated for his first Tony Award for The Rope Dancers, and he won a Tony Award in 1960 for The Sound of Music. In 1959, Bikel was nominated for an Academy Award for his work in The Defiant Ones, but he lost out to Burl Ives in The Big Country.
Bikel took on the role of Rozhenko in Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Family episode. The Next Generation’s Brent Spiner said, “farewell to the wonderful Theodore Bikel. He was a great father to Worf, among hundreds of other terrific performances.”
“From the time he joined Equity in 1954, Bikel has been an advocate for the members of our union and his extraordinary achievements paved the way for so many,” said the Actors’ Equity Association in a statement. “No one loved theater more, his union better or cherished actors like Theo did. He has left an indelible mark on generation of members past and generations of members to come. We thank you, Theo, for all you have done.”
Bikel is survived by his fourth wife, Aimee Ginsburg-Biken, two sons, two stepsons, and three grandchildren.