Israeli actor and comedian Sefi Rivlin passes away at age 66

Rivlin gained fame for iconic television roles; succumbs to cancer after years-long battle.

Sefi Rivlin 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Sefi Rivlin 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israeli actor and comedian Sefi Rivlin succumbed to cancer on Tuesday at the age of 66.
Rivlin had suffered from the disease for the past several years and his condition had worsened over recent weeks.
Rumors that Rivlin had passed away have been circulating in recent days, including during the funeral of Israeli singer Arik Einstein, who died last week.
Rivlin was one of Israel’s most successful comedians, acting in dozens of films and television programs.
Among the programs Rivlin gained fame for were Nikui Rosh (Head-Cleaning) – a popular satire program – and the children’s programs Rega im Dodley (A moment with Dodley) and Ha-Bayit Shel Fistuk (Pistachio’s House).
Rivlin won the Israeli Television Academy award and The Golden Screen award for lifetime achievement.
He grew up in Rishon Lezion’s Nahalat Yehuda neighborhood. After finishing his acting studies at the Beit Tzvi School, he began his career in the play The Servant of two Masters.
He subsequently starred in several other stage plays, but he is most well-known for his television roles.
He played the part of the Archie Bunker character in the Israeli version of All in the Family, as well as starring in the series Sefi, the Israeli version of Britain’s Mr. Bean.
Rivlin was identified with the Likud party, and starred in advertisements for the party in the run-up to the 1984 national elections. He briefly served on the Rishon Lezion City Council.
Rivlin was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2007. He announced in 2010 that he had beat the disease, but in 2012 was forced to undergo further treatment, which left him unable to speak.
He leaves behind his wife, Rina, four children and seven grandchildren.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said he mourned the passing of his friend, Sefi Rivlin, who had regaled generations of Israelis with his wit and humor. Rivlin he said had firm nationalistic political believes but at the same time engaged in dialogue and had friends with many different opinions who respected and appreciate him, Netanyahu said.
“Sefi was a man of principles and values. He was educated, sharp and kind. He fought his illness courageously for many year with the spirit of optimism and hope that had defined him. He will be greatly missed by me and the people of Israel,” Netanyahu said.