Yosef “Seffy” Rivlin, a beloved Israeli actor and comedian, died today after a battle with cancer. He was 66 years old.

Rivlin was born in 1947 in the central city of Rishon Lezion, studying acting at the Beit Zvi School of the Performing Arts. His early years were spent in the theater, and he began his television career in the 70’s TV show “Nikui Rosh.” It would earn him his first taste of fame.

Later, Rivlin performed the role of Fistuk in the children’s shows “A Moment with Dodley” and “Fistuk’s House.” He also made appearances on a series of additional youth shows.

In the 80’s and 90’s he found a spot on comedic television and appeared in films. He is also a past recipient of the Israeli Academy of Television prize and the Masach Hazahav award for lifetime achievement.

In the 80’s, Rivlin also made a place for himself in the political world, starring in a series of Likud campaign ads. And from 2003 to 2010 he served as a council member for the Rishon Lezion Municipality. He ran for but lost a spot in the Knesset on the Likud ticket in 2008.

Seven years ago, Rivlin revealed he was battling cancer. The struggle led to him recently losing his voice, which he had become so famous for.

“Together with many people in Israel I am saddened by the passing of my friend and comrade Seffy Rivlin. Seffy was a popular artist who made generations of Israelis laugh with his witty humor. He had solid national opinions and he never gave in to the winds of fashion,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

“Nonetheless, he was open to a dialogue and friendship with people with different opinions who respected and appreciated him. Seffy was an ideological, educated, sharp minded and kindhearted person. He fought his disease courageously for many years out of a spirit of optimism and hope, which had always characterized him. He will be greatly missed by me and the people of Israel.”

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni added: “Seffy Rivlin was a talented actor and comedian who was not afraid to express his political opinions and fight for them even if they went against the flow. Even when he lost his voice, he was always heard and will continue to be heard in the future. Children will continue enjoying his wonderful series which will remain fresh.”

“I send my sincere and deep condolences to his family and I hope the people of Israel get other artists of the magnitude of those we have lost in the past year.”

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