Veteran Actor Max von Sydow Dead at 90

His roles include everything from "The Seventh Seal" to "Game of Thrones"

Max von Sydow
Max von Sydow in 2007.
Mark Mainz/Getty Images for AFI

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.

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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