Israeli Actor Aharon Ipalé Dies of Cancer at 74

Ipalé performed alongside many of Hollywood's greatest stars and returned to Israel a few years ago, but never recreated success here.

Aharon Ipale at 2015 Bel Air Film Festival.

Israeli actor Aharon Ipalé, who took part in a long list of British and American productions and played alongside some of Hollywood’s greatest stars, passed away on Monday at age 74. Ipalé died in Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer after battling cancer for his last few months. He left behind a daughter. He was buried Monday night in Holon.

Ipalé was born in Morocco on December 27, 1941 and came to Israel age two with his family. After finishing his army service, he studied theater in London. After his studies, he began appearing in television series and theater in England, playing Jesus in the TV mini-series “Christ Recrucified.” He appeared alongside John Gielgud in “The Shooting Party” in 1985, and with Burt Lancaster in the TV mini-series “Moses the Lawgiver,” in which he played Joshua, the role that put him on his way to Hollywood.

He had parts in a long list of famous American television series, including “Dynasty,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Kojak,” “The Love Boat,” “MacGyver,” “Miami Vice,” and “Charlie’s Angels.” On the big screen, he acted alongside Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks in “Charlie Wilson’s War,” directed by Mike Nichols; and with Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman in “Ishtar.” He also had parts in “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Xanadu,” “Airport ‘79,” “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns.”

But his career never took off in Israel. He starred in Nissim Dayan’s “Gesher Tzar Me’od” in 1985, but when he returned to Israel four years ago after working for decades overseas, especially in London and Hollywood, he never succeeded in regaining his place in the local scene.

“There are some people in the industry in Israel that no matter what I did outside [of Israel], as far as they are concerned, I don’t exist,” Ipalé said in an interview last year with Maariv. “If I was a director or producer here, and knew that an actor who’d been good enough for Hollywood and London was here in Israel, I would snatch him up. But no one looks outside. They think they invented the wheel here.”