Acting Legend Max von Sydow Dies at Age 90

It is with profound sadness that (via The Guardian) must report the passing of one of cinema’s true icons. The legendary Swedish stage and screen actor Max von Sydow has died at age 90 in Provence, France, leaving behind a legacy that spans over 70 years on the silver screen.

“It is with a broken heart and with infinite sadness that we have the extreme pain of announcing the departure of Max von Sydow on 8 March 2020,” his wife Catherine Brelet said in a statement.

Beginning his career on the Swedish stage, von Sydow had an auspicious launch in the movies as perhaps THE central collaborator with director Ingmar Bergman. From 1957’s landmark arthouse film The Seventh Seal (in which he portrays a knight who plays chess with Death) through 1971’s The Touch, Bergman and von Sydow made eleven pictures together. Other notable collaborations between the two include Wild Strawberries (1957), The Virgin Spring (1960) and The Passion of Anna (1969).

In 1965 von Sydow made the leap to Hollywood, and after turning down the villain role in Dr. No he made his studio debut as Jesus Christ in 1965’s The Greatest Story Ever Told. In 1973 he starred in arguably his best-known role as Father Merrin, the title character in William Friedkin’s horror blockbuster The Exorcist. He later reprised the role in the reviled sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic.

Over the next few decades he racked up roles in countless beloved classics and cult films, including as a hitman in Three Days of the Condor (1975), Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon (1980), King Osric in Conan the Barbarian (1982), Blofeld in Never Say Never Again (1983), Doctor Kynes in David Lynch’s Dune (1984), the uncredited voice of Vigo in Ghostbusters II (1989), Dr Peter Ingham in Awakenings (1990), the evil Leland Gaunt in Stephen King adaptation Needful Things (1993), Judge Fargo in Judge Dredd (1995), the voice of Zeus in the Swedish dub of Disney’s Hercules (1997), as villain Lamar Burgess in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report (2002), Varden Reynard in Rush Hour 3 (2007), Dr Jeremiah Naehring in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island (2010) and as Sir Walter Loxley in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood (2010).

In recent years he became known to a new generation of fans as the mysterious Lor San Tekka in J.J. Abrams’ 2015 phenomenon Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and a highly memorable turn as the Three-eyed Raven on Game of Thrones. Von Sydow earned two Academy Award nominations for Pelle the Conqueror (1987) and a silent turn in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011).

Fans of the actor have long cherished this memorable moment from Bergman devotee Woody Allen’s 1986 dramedy Hannah and Her Sisters

Here are some reactions to the death of Max von Sydow from Twitter…

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)


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