Actor Max von Sydow, whose seven-decade-long career included roles as Father Merrin in the horror movie “The Exorcist”, Emperor Ming in the cult classic “Flash Gordon,” and Three-Eyed Raven in “Game of Thrones” died Sunday, his agent said. He was 90.
“It is with a broken heart and with infinite sadness that we have the extreme pain of announcing the departure of Max von Sydow,” his wife Catherine said in a statement sent to NBC News by agent Jean Diamond.
Max von Sydow, who was born in Sweden in 1929, however, became a French resident in 2002, began acting in European movies around the age of 20. Since at that point, he had shown up in almost 200 films and television shows, acting in multiple languages.
Recently, Max von Sydow played the Three-Eyed Raven in “Game of Thrones,” Lor San Tekka in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and voiced Klaus Ziegler for “The Simpsons.”
Max von Sydow’s appearance in “Game of Thrones” earned him an Emmy nomination. He has likewise been nominated for two Academy Awards — for best actor in the late 1980s for his depiction of a penniless farmer in “Pelle the Conqueror” and best-supporting actor in 2012 for his role as a quiet in the 9/11-related drama, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”
Max von Sydow likewise got the 2017 Los Angeles Film Critics Association career achievement award.
Max von Sydow became an icon of the global film during the 1950s and 60s with his roles in renowned Swedish movie producer Ingmar Bergman’s brooding existential dramatizations, for example, “The Seventh Seal.” The actor was a standard in the director’s movies, acting in almost a dozen of his projects.
Max von Sydow likewise worked with acclaimed directors Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Sydney Pollack, Woody Allen, John Huston, Ridley Scott, and William Friedkin.
Max von Sydow made his Hollywood debut as Jesus in 1965’s “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” however shot to fame years after the fact in his mid-40s playing the cleric in 1973’s “The Exorcist.”
Max von Sydow later depicted the devil in the 1993 horror movie “Needful Things,” because of the Stephen King novel. He was likewise known for roles in “Shutter Island” and “Minority Report.”
Max von Sydow wedded Swedish actress Christina Olin in 1951 and had two children, Clas and Henrik, before divorcing. He at that point wedded French movie producer Catherine Brelet in 1997, and the couple had two children, Yvan and Cedric.
Max von Sydow was dubbed Carl Adolf von Sydow, however later changed his name after World War II, saying his given name was “not a good name,” as per The Associated Press.
Max von Sydow has said that his family didn’t have an interest in the theater, yet his dad wanted to tell stories, which propelled him to act. He began a theater society with his companions at 14. He proceeded to learn at the Royal Dramatic Theater in Stockholm and act in small municipality theaters in Sweden for about 10 years.
In a 2018 video shared by Diamond on Monday, Max von Sydow bemoaned the celebrity status that his long and prolific career had earned him, disregarding the term “movie star.”
“This is not what I’m after,” he said. “I want to work with interesting things, you see. I want to work in the theater, I want to work in a film with interesting material that you can do something with. All the rest has no interest to me at all.”
While Max von Sydow’s characters were often dark, he said in an AP interview that he began acting in part to battle his childhood bashfulness.
“I was a very shy boy when I was a kid,” he said. “When I started acting in an amateur group in high school, although I wasn’t aware of it at the time, I suddenly got a tool in my hand that was wonderful.”
“I was allowed to express all kinds of strange things that I never dared to express before. Now I could do it with the character as a shield, as a defense, and as an excuse,” Max von Sydow said. “I think that for many years I used my profession as some kind of mental therapy.”