Veteran Actor Max von Sydow Dead at 90
His roles include everything from "The Seventh Seal" to "Game of Thrones"
In an industry abounding with fascinating careers on the silver screen, Max von Sydow may have had the most singular film career imaginable. Von Sydow, who died on Sunday at the age of 90, was perhaps best-known for his work with Ingmar Bergman — including starring in 1957’s The Seventh Seal. But that was just the beginning of a long career for the Swedish actor, which included everything from multiple Oscar nominations to high-profile roles in a handful of blockbuster films.
The Guardian‘s obituary notes that von Sydow met Bergman in 1955; the two quickly began collaborating on a host of acclaimed films which are still enthusiastically watched today:
The Seventh Seal was made in the same year as Wild Strawberries; Brink of Life, Rabies and The Magician followed in 1958. Other key collaborations included The Virgin Spring (1960) and Winter Light (1963).
Von Sydow appeared in a number of high-profile American films over the years, including The Exorcist, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Over the course of his career, he was nominated for two Academy Awards — in 1987, for Pelle the Conqueror; and in 2011, for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.
Here was Max Von Sydow with his dear friend, master cinematographer, Sven Nykvist. Two great artists. Two true gentlemen. We were working on Bora Bora. I picture Max in heaven wearing his white linen suit, w Sven, Ingmar Bergman, Bibi Andersson, laughing & loving each other 💔 pic.twitter.com/ENdcB9bPKZ
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) March 9, 2020
The legendary actor who gave us both Brewmeister Smith and Ming the Merciless has finally laid down his King in the eternal chess match. Farewell, Max von Sydow. You were in many much more respected movies than Strange Brew and Flash Gordon but I loved you for those flicks first. https://t.co/ltytehF5Rm
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) March 9, 2020
In recent years, von Sydow’s long career has prompted thoughtful consideration from some longtime observers of the world of cinema. Writing in The Atlantic in 2015, Terrence Rafferty observed that von Sydow is “the auteur of any scene he’s in.” And in a video for the Criterion Collection, scholar Peter Cowie explored the ways in which “von Sydow was finally able to plunge into the darkest recesses of the human psyche, using his looming frame to embody a number of memorably cowering characters.” Von Sydow’s long career is at an end, but his presence on screen will endure for years to come.
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