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Tevye: Wikis


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Tevye the dairyman ([ˈtɛvjə], Yiddish: טבֿיה דער מילכיקער Tevye der milkhiker) is the protagonist of several of Sholem Aleichem's stories, originally written in Yiddish and first published in 1894. The character became best known from the fictional memoir Tevye and his Daughters (also called Tevye the Milkman or Tevye the Dairyman), about a pious Jewish milkman in Tsarist Russia, and the troubles he has with his six daughters[1]: Tzeitel, Hodel, Chava, Shprintze, Bielke, and Teibel, as well as from the musical dramatic adaptation Fiddler on the Roof. The village of Boyberik, where the stories are set, is based on Boyarka, now in Ukraine.

The story was adapted for stage and film several times, including several Yiddish-language musicals. Most famously, it was adapted as the Broadway musical and later film versions of Fiddler on the Roof. The original Broadway musical was based on a play written by Arnold Perl called Tevye and his Daughters.


Tevye as a dramatic role

Zero Mostel and Chaim Topol are the two actors most associated with the role of Tevye. For the film version, the part ultimately went to Topol, as producer-director Norman Jewison felt that Mostel's portrayal was too broadly comic.[2] This has long been the subject of great controversy by devoted fans of Mostel, but others, including critic Pauline Kael, have warmly embraced Topol's performance, and he has appeared in several stage revivals of the show. He was also Oscar-nominated for his performance in the film version of Fiddler, but lost to Gene Hackman, who won for his performance in The French Connection.

Tevye is also the name of a 1939 film adaptation of Sholem Aleichem's story. In this adaptation, Tevye plays the role as a narrator of the events as well as a main character. He is portrayed as a gruff, somewhat intimidating character.

See also


  1. ^ In the first short story, there is also a mention of a seventh daughter; in Fiddler, however, there are only five daughters, of whom only three have major roles.
  2. ^ Fiddler on the Roof at


  • Liptzin, Sol, A History of Yiddish Literature, Jonathan David Publishers, Middle Village, NY, 1972, ISBN 0-8246-0124-6. 68-70.

External links



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