Bikel originated the role of Captain Georg von Trapp in the 1959 production of The Sound of Music, which earned him the second of his two Tony Award nominations; the first was for The Rope Dancers in 1958. Bikel's other Broadway credits included Tonight in Samarkand, The Lark, Café Crown, Pousse-Café and The Inspector General. However, Bikel is perhaps best known for playing the role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof more than 2,000 times in productions around the world. He was also a former president of Actors Equity Association, the actors' union. Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said, “Theodore Bikel was a great talent and an accomplished performer whose contributions touched audiences from around the world. And in his role as President of Actors Equity Association, he made significant contributions to the world of Broadway. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and fans.”
Bikel made his film debut in “The African Queen" in 1951 and went on to earn more than 150 screen credits including Sheriff Max Muller in “The Defiant Ones” for which he received an Oscar nomination. Other well-known roles included the Russian captain in "The Russians are Coming" and Zoltan Karpathy in "My Fair Lady."