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Theodore Bikel, The Tony- and Oscar-Nominated Actor and Singer Dies at 91



Theodore Bikel, The Tony- and Oscar-Nominated Actor and Singer Dies at 91

Theodore Bikel, the Tony- and Oscar-nominated actor and singer whose passions included folk music and political activism, died Tuesday morning of natural causes at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, said his agent Robert Malcolm. He was 91.

The Austrian-born Bikel was noted for the diversity of the roles he played, from a Scottish police officer to a Russian submarine skipper, Jewish refugee, Dutch sea captain and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He sang in 21 languages.

He also appeared on numerous television shows, recorded books on tape, appeared in opera productions and issued more than 20 contemporary and folk music albums. Many albums featured Hebrew and Yiddish folk music.

He received an Oscar nomination for his 1958 portrayal of a Southern sheriff in “The Defiant Ones,” the acclaimed drama about two prison escapees, one black and one white.

The following year, Bikel starred on Broadway as Capt. Georg von Trapp in the original 1959 production of “The Sound of Music.”

But many viewers knew him best for his longtime portrayal of Tevye in stage productions “Fiddler on the Roof.” Although he did not appear in the original 1964 Broadway version or the 1971 film, he played Tevye more than 2,000 times on stage from 1967 onward.

Among his film roles, he played the grumpy Soviet submarine captain in the Oscar-nominated 1966 Cold War comedy “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming.” He played Kissinger in the TV movie “The Final Days.”

A prolific recording artist, Bikel also helped found the Newport Folk Festival with Pete Seeger in 1959, an event that has drawn hundreds of thousands of fans to Rhode Island over the decades and launched the careers of many notable musicians.

Bikel, who jokingly referred to himself as “the poor man’s Peter Ustinov,” was 80 when he received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 2005. Friends including Martin Landau and Ed Asner were among the fellow actors who flanked Bikel during the ceremony.

“Finally, Theo gets his due!” Asner said.

He spent much of his youth in Palestine and was fiercely devoted to supporting Jewish causes, as well as the Democratic Party and human rights groups. He was one of six leaders of the American Jewish Congress arrested while protesting in 1986 outside the Soviet embassy in Washington, over that government’s restrictions on letting Jews leave the country.

Bikel did not consider his activism at odds with his work as a performer. In fact, he once said he thrived on the variety in his life.

“Professionally, I can count three or four separate existences,” he said.

Born in 1924, in Vienna, Austria, Bikel moved with his family to Palestine when he was a teenager. While living on a kibbutz there, he discovered his love for drama.

“I often stood on heaps of manure, leaning on a pitchfork, singing Hebrew songs at the top of my voice – songs that extolled the beauty of callused hands and the nobility of work, which I was not doing too well,” he wrote in his 1994 autobiography.

Bikel started acting in Tel Aviv’s Habimah Theatre in 1943, then moved in 1946 to London to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Within a few years, he won a role in the London production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Vivien Leigh. He played Mitch, Stanley Kowalski’s friend. It was the first of several high-profile collaborations between Bikel and scores of noteworthy fellow performers in Europe and North America.

He made his Broadway debut in 1955 in “Tonight in Samarkind” and in 1958 was nominated for a Tony for “The Rope Dancers.”

In 1959, he created the role of Capt. von Trapp in the original Broadway production of “The Sound of Music,” playing opposite Mary Martin as Maria. It earned him a second Tony nomination.

As a folk musician, Bikel made his concert debut in 1956 at the Carnegie Recital Hall, and went on to write, perform and translate lyrics to music for the next several decades.

Bikel, who became an American citizen in 1961, said in his autobiography, “Theo: The Autobiography of Theodore Bikel,” that one of the key moral dilemmas of his life was whether to return to his homeland in 1948 when Israel declared its statehood.

He chose to remain in London.

“A few of my contemporaries regarded what I did as a character flaw, if not a downright act of desertion,” he wrote. “In me, there remains a small, still voice that asks whether I can ever fully acquit myself in my own mind.”

Bikel was among the guests on Sept. 13, 1993, when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat sealed their historic peace agreement with a handshake on the White House lawn.

Bikel also served as a delegate to the 1968 Democratic Party convention in Chicago, president of the Actors’ Equity Association from 1973-1982, board member of Amnesty International, member of the National Council on the Arts, and president of the Associated Actors and Artistes of America.

Bikel is survived by his wife, Aimee Ginsburg; sons Rob and Danny Bikel; stepsons Zeev and Noam Ginsburg; and three grandchildren.

Entrepreneur, contributor, writer, and editor of Sostre News. With a powerful new bi-lingual speaking generation by his side, Sostre News is becoming the preferred site for the latest in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Culture, Tech, Breaking and World News.



Beyoncé’s Natural Hair is Hair Goals!



Beyoncé's Natural Hair is Hair Goals! - Sostre News

Have you seen Beyoncé’s natural hair? Listen, now that is what I call “hair goals”! Her mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson, has shared a video showing off her famous daughter’s hair on Instagram. In the video Ms Tina is brushing through her multi talented daughter’s hair, and kept saying “au naturale”.

To say that Queen Bey’s hair is “envy enducing” would just be an understatement, that hair is just all kinds of amazing! I mean, if that was my hair I would probably not even wait for my mom to gush about it, I would do the bragging my self. Beyoncé though, isn’t as “petty” as I am, in fact she didn’t seem to appreciate her mother’s antics. She can be heard saying: “Mama, that is really annoying. I mean very annoying”, in a strained laugh.

This is not the first time Ms Tina has gushed over her daughter’s hair on social media. Last year she shared a photo of Queen Bey’s glorious tresses tied in a ponytail, and talked about how happy she was that her daughter’s hair grew back after she had cut it into a pixie.  Ms Tina is obviously proud of her daughter’s hair, but I mean, which mother wouldn’t be?

In fact she is proud of both her daughters, Beyonce and Solange. Back in February, in an interview with ET Online, she gushed over their accomplishments and said the the most rewarding thing is seeing them “grow up, and their accomplishments”.  She also added that the best thing about her daughters is “how good and grounded they both are “.

It seems like I’m not the only one who thinks Queen Bey’s natural hair is beyond amazing, one fan commented on Ms Tina’s post and said: “Beys hair is long like her money, lol. LENGTH BABY! LENGTH!!!!” . Then on Twitter, another posted: “I need her hair routine and products RIGHT NOW! I’m kidding [I’m] sure I can’t afford them.”

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Geto Boys’ Bushwick Bill Is “Still Alive and Fighting Cancer”

Legendary Geto Boys member Bushwick Bill has died after a longtime battle with pancreatic cancer, TMZ reports. Last month, Bill released a video describing the chemotherapy treatment he’d been receiving for his Stage 4 cancer.



Geto Boys’ Bushwick Bill Is “Still Alive and Fighting Cancer”

Legendary Geto Boys member Bushwick Bill has died after a longtime battle with pancreatic cancer, TMZ reports. Last month, Bill released a video describing the chemotherapy treatment he’d been receiving for his Stage 4 cancer.

His death was confirmed by Geto Boys groupmate Scarface this morning, who took to Instagram to pay tribute to the rapper. “RIP Bushwick Bill,” he wrote in his Instagram caption. He was 52.

Bushwick Bill was born on December 8, 1966 in Kingston, Jamaica. The rapper (born Richard Stephen Shaw) moved to Brooklyn, New York in his youth before ultimately settling in Houston, where he joined Geto Boys as a dancer in the late 1980s.

Shaw suffered from dwarfism throughout his life, which informed to his early Geto Boys stage name “Little Billy.” At 3 feet 8 inches tall, he became one of the group’s most memorable contributors, and his image graced the cover of Geto Boys’ 1991 album We Can’t Be Stopped, which depicts groupmates Scarface and Willie D rushing Shaw to the hospital after shooting his own eye out in the summer of 1991. Shaw released six studio albums as a solo artist including 1992’s Little Big Man, 1995’s Phantom of the Rapra, and most recently the 2010 album My Testimony of Redemption.

Last month, Geto Boys announced a farewell tour following Shaw’s cancer diagnosis, which was later cancelled due to his health. According to reports from TMZ, he was also upset by the title of the tour, which implied he was on his deathbed.

Update (12:30pm): Bushwick Bill apparently hasn’t died after all. TMZ has updated their report to note that the musician is “still alive and fighting cancer” according to his publicist. The publicist confirmed his status with hospital staff, who say that the musician is still in their care, with numerous family members by bedside.

Update (1:45pm): In a new post on Instagram, Bushwick Bill’s son confirmed that the Geto Boys musician is still alive. “My dad IS NOT dead, he’s still alive and fighting for his life,” he writes in the post’s caption. “He needs your continued prayers and support. Certain people have been so quick to write him off as dead so they can capitalize off it, and it’s messed up because y’all really think these people care about him. There is no Geto Boys without Bushwick Bill.”

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Nick Jonas Feared Brothers Would ‘Never Speak to Me Again’ After Band Split



Nick Jonas Feared Brothers Would ‘Never Speak to Me Again’ After Band Split

Just days before the release of the Jonas Brothers’ new album “Happiness Begins” on June 7th, the band sat down with CBS Sunday Morning to discuss their reunion journey and the circumstances behind their breakup.

After the brothers Jonas, Kevin, Joe and Nick, encountered stagnating record and ticket sales and faced internal strife, the band split up in 2013. “To call it creative differences is almost too simple,” Nick said. “And I think a lot of people lost the appetite for what we were putting into the world. So, you know, we were putting up shows that weren’t selling. We were making music that I don’t think we were all super proud of, and it wasn’t connected.”

He explained that the brothers’ relationship was also strained, so he had a “tough conversation” with Kevin and Joe. “I said, ‘You know, I feel like the Jonas Brothers should be no more, and we should go on individual journeys.’ And it didn’t go so well,” he recalls.

At that point, Joe thought that the band was done. “I checked out in my mind that – that was it. There’s going to be no more brothers ever,” he tells Smith.

Nick added, “And I feared that, you know, we – they would never speak to me again.”

Inbetween their breakup, Joe focused on his funky pop project DNCE, while Nick concentrated more on acting and his solo career. Kevin was dedicated to raising his two daughters.

Ultimately, the brothers couldn’t stay apart. “I think we –- we definitely were supposed to go through all of what we went through to get to this point, definitely,” Joe says. “I think it was, it was kind of, I guess you could say destiny, whatever it may be, but yeah, we got a do-over, and I think this time around we’re going to do it right.”

In February, the Jonas Brothers revealed their reunion plans with the release of “Sucker,” which debuted at Number One on the Billboard Hot 100. They’ve since released another single titled “Cool.” Alongside the release of their first album in 10 years, the band announced earlier this week that they would release new documentary “Chasing Happiness” on June 4th via Amazon Prime and a memoir titled “Blood” on November 12th.

On August 7th, the Jonas Brothers will head out on a North American tour in support of “Happiness Begins” in Miami.

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