1. Richard Burton, Boom, 1968.  If the Burtons had not been (semi) hot, the movie  of Tennessee Williams’ 1963 flop, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (69 performances only) would not have even been whispered about.  The Euro-exiled US director Joseph Losey couldn’t even save their biggest flop.  Burton was once up – unbelievably – for Topol’s signature role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof.. back  in the day when Hollywood could not pronounce Topol’s name of Chaim as Haim but… Shame!
  2. Alan Arkin, The Magician of Lublin, 1979.     Producer Walter Reade’s  choice when setting it up as Czech director Milos Forman’s first US film.  Israeli producer-director Menahem Golan bought rights (back) after Reade’s fatal ski-ing accident. 
  3. Jack Birkett, The Tempest,  1979.     Among UK directing legend Michael Powell’s ideas  for the deformed (and villainous) Caliban during a  25 year obssssion about filming the Shakespeare play were… Topol, Malcolm McDowell and even  an extremely   keen  Telly Savalas (who loves ya, Prospero baby!).  According to  Dominic Nolan in The Greatest Movies You’ll Never See book, Derek Jarman felt he’d inherited Powell’s deream. Hah! He made a  (typically) homoerotic job of it  in 1979.  New York Times critic Vincent Canby was unimpressed by the film, “funny if it weren’t very nearly unbearable.” Nor by Birkett: “looks and acts as if he’d been borrowed from Hammer Films.”
  4. John Rhys-Davies, Sahara, 1983.    Jinx title.  Not even a  good character man like burly John could save it – nor the 2005 film of the same  name (different story). 

 Birth year: 1935Death year: 2023Other name: Chaim TopolCasting Calls:  4