Max von Sydow’s death on Sunday at age 90 brings to a close one of the most illustrious acting careers in history, from his first credit in 1949’s Only a Mother to his collaborations with Ingmar Bergman to his later recent work in pop culture staples Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Game of Thrones.
In between were more than 100 film credits including iconic roles in Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, and as Emperor Ming in Flash Gordon.
The Sweden-born von Sydow studied at Stockholm’s Royal Dramatic Theatre before getting his start in the film business through his work with Bergman, his mentor. He made the move to Hollywood in the mid-1960s, appearing in such varied roles as Jesus in George Stevens’ The Greatest Story Ever Told, a Nazi major in the soccer classic Victory and as Brewmaster Smith in Strange Brew.
The massive swath of titles and roles has elicited much reaction in Hollywood. Here’s a sampling:
“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.”
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