|The name Theodore Bikel is virtually synonymous with Jewish and Israeli music and song.|
Born in Vienna in 1924, Theo studied drama first at the Hamimah Theater in Tel Aviv, and then at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, where he developed a passionate interest in the guitar. His star rose quickly. Theo appeared in the London production of A Streetcar Named Desire as well as numerous English and American films, including The African Queen, The Enemy Below, Dog of Flanders, The Defiant Ones (for which he was honored with an Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor) as well as in close to a hundred major dramatic television roles. For four decades Bikel has nurtured dual careers in film and music. He co-founded the Newport Folk Festival and was appointed by President Carter to the National Council for the Arts. Signed by Jac Holzman of Elektra in the mid-'50s Theo recorded over a dozen albums featuring an eclectic repertoire of folk songs from Russia, Eastern Europe, and Israel.