Website last updated: 7-5-2024

A Celebration of Israeli actor Chaim Topol on his 85th birthday

By: Steven Jay Rubin
Topol Columbo For Your Eyes Only
The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia presents This Day in James Bond History - wishing actor Chaim Topol a very happy 85th birthday. Chaim Topol portrayed Greek smuggler Milos Columbo in For Your Eyes Only (1981). His performance is a major plus for a film that returns to the world of serious cloak and dagger.

After Moonraker (1979), producer Albert R. Broccoli told screenwriter Richard Maibaum to "pull in the balloon" and return to the kind of spy story epitomized by From Russia with Love (1963).

In For Your Eyes Only, we meet Columbo and his nemesis, Ari Kristatos (Julian Glover) who are involved in a blood feud that dates back to the time they were World War II partisans - and Kristatos was on the Nazi payroll. Columbo, an earthy, full-of-life, pistachio chewing smuggler, is thus cut from the same cloth as From Russia with Love's Ari Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendariz) and the blood feud echoes the enmity between the Bulgars and Gypsies in that film. Topol, a native Israeli, is, of course, famous as Tevye the milk man in the classic musical Fiddler on the Roof (1971) - the perfect role for this wonderful screen presence.

Director John Glen was pleased Topol joined the cast. “He’s famous for Fiddler On The Roof, and I don’t think he can live it down. It’s rather like being an ex-James Bond, you can never shake it off.”

So let's hoist a glass of ouzo to Topol, Columbo and serious spying. It is a true honor to toast him on his September 9th birthday, a day that we share.

James Bond (Roger Moore) accompanies Milos Columbo (Topol) and his crew on a raid at Kristatos’ opium-processing warehouse in For Your Eyes Only:

Copyright © 2020 Steven Jay Rubin. All rights reserved.



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