'He was blessed.' Topaz
Tzipi Shavit
Photo: Smadar Shiloni
Benny Don Yehiya
Photo: Amit Magal

Entertainment industry stunned by Topaz's death

TV veteran's fellow entertainers shocked by news of his suicide. 'The situation was very difficult and evidently he couldn't take it,' says friend and entertainer Tzipi Shavit. Topaz's lawyer: He was desperate, saying jail stripped him of his free will

The Israeli entertainment industry was stunned to learn of Dudu Topaz's suicide Thursday morning.


The entertainer, who was the focus of a conspiracy scandal, hanged himself in he cell at the Nitzan Detention Center in Ramla, a little after 7am.


"This was a sad story from beginning to end," television personality Tzvika Hadar, who was allegedly one of Topaz's intended targets, told Ynet.


Topaz's family refused to speak to the media. His niece, TV host Karin Magrizo said that the family hoped the media would respect their need for privacy at this time.


Tzipi Shavit, a leading figure in the Israeli entertainment industry and one of Topaz's closet friends, told Ynet:"He was my friend. He was talented and blessed, from his good looks and his writing, through to his understanding of the way television works. He wasn’t dubbed 'the No.1 entertainer' for nothing. What he did was incomparable.


"I, of course, will always remember Dudu as funny, intelligent and hardworking. He was a great father and friend and was always willing to help people.


"I can't justify his latest actions – he crossed the line – but throughout the years, he was crazy in the most charming sense of the word. His ending is so horrible and tragic to me, all I can do now is cry for him."


When asked if Topaz's friends were concerned he might try to take his own life, Shavit added that "we were worried. His confinement, the anguish, his health, facing his children – the situation was very difficult and evidently he couldn't take it".


'Dudu was desperate'

"I was hoping this wouldn’t happen, but I could never rule it out," Attorney Benny Don Yehiya, Topaz's friend and lawyer, told Ynet.


Yehiya met Topaz at the Nitzan Detention Center last week and said that "he didn’t seem suicidal, but he was desperate. He said that jail stripped him of his free will and that he had to follow orders. He was not used to the confinement and he knew he would probably have to be in jail for a long time.


"He kept telling me how ashamed he was by what he had done and that he never meant for things to turn out as bad as they did."


According to Yehiya, Topaz wrote him a letter shortly after he was arrested and said that the media had already tried him: "He wrote that the media was trying to destroy his reputation and that his punishment was decided on before he had a chance to speak out."


The letter, he added, also expressed Topaz's remorse over his actions.


Keren Natanzon and Tal Rabinovsky contributed to this report  


פרסום ראשון: 08.20.09, 11:10
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