We have some sad news to report this morning as acclaimed actor Max von Sydow has passed away at the age of 90.
While geek fandoms may know Von Sydow from his brief role as Lor San Tekka in Star Wars: The Force Awakens or the Three-Eyed Raven on Game of Thrones, Von Sydow had a rich and illustrious career that spanned seven decades and included working with some of the greatest filmmakers of all-time.
Von Sydow got his start working with the legendary Ingmar Bergman and playing lead roles in such classics as The Seventh Seal, The Virgin Spring, Through a Glass Darkly, and Shame. He would then easily transition to American movies in the 1970s to play key roles in such landmarks as The Exorcist, Hannah and Her Sisters, and Three Days of the Condor.
Obviously, Von Sydow had incredible range. Even in his old age, he could play the nefarious pre-crime boss in Minority Report or the kindly mute in Extremely Loud and Incredible Close. The latter role earned him an Oscar nomination, and he remains the only male Swedish actor to be nominated for an Academy Award.
You could never peg Von Sydow down to just one type. He could be silly like in Strange Brew or campy as Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon. He could also play Jesus, like he did in George Stevens‘ epic The Greatest Story Ever Told. All told, Von Sydow had a remarkable body of work, and if you only know him from his recent appearances in geek-oriented material, I highly encourage you to dig into his rich filmography and see why Von Sydow was so important as an actor. Personally, I’d say start with The Seventh Seal, which is a great entry point not only for Von Sydow’s career but also Bergman’s.
Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Von Sydow’s friends and family. The acting world has lost one of its brightest luminaries.