Max von Sydow, the Swedish actor who made his name in a series of landmark films with Ingmar Bergman before progressing to international stardom, has died in France. He was 90.
Sydow’s most iconic role was in Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957), in which he plays chess with Death. He also brought immense presence and gravity to roles such as Jesus Christ in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), a doomed priest in William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, and an intellectually snobbish artist in Woody Allen‘s Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).
More recently, he appeared in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and on Game of Thrones as the mystical Three-Eyed Raven.
The news was broken on Monday by his wife, the producer Catherine Brelet, who told Paris Match: “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.”
Speaking to the Guardian, Martin Scorsese – who directed him in 2011’s Shutter Island – called Von Sydow “something like a consummate actor, with a pride in his art and a dedication to his craft that I’ve encountered in very few people in my life.”
He continued: “I had the chance to work with him only once and I cherished every minute of it. On the set he was remarkable, and off the set he a complete gentleman.
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