The Prolific Max von Sydow Has Passed Away at the Age of 90
Updated: Mar 28
Max von Sydow, one of Sweden’s finest exports, has passed away at the age of 90. His family reported the death early on Monday morning, as von Sydow passed away at his home in Provence, France on Sunday, March 8th. His career spanned several decades, generations, and languages, and his efforts scored him two Oscar nominations, two Primetime Emmy nominations, and two Golden Globe nominations. His credits are numerous, with his IMDb listing clocking in at 163 actor credits.
Early in his acting career, he was a frequent collaborator with fellow Swede Ingmar Bergman, famously starring as Antonius Block in The Seventh Seal, playing chess with Death himself. As far as horror is concerned, he may best be known as Father Lankester Merrin in the 1973 classic The Exorcist, as he fought to purge the demons possessing little Regan MacNeil. He would reprise the role in the less-than-well-received 1977 sequel.
In the world of science fiction, he may best be remembered as Ming the Merciless in the 1980 film adaptation of Flash Gordon, or as Doctor Kynes in David Lynch’s adaptation of Dune in 1984. Later in his career, he would play the contentious Director Lamar Burgess in Minority Report and Lor San Tekka in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
His nomination-winning roles include the aforementioned Father Merrin in The Exorcist, as well as for The Renter in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. His three-episode stint as Three Eyed Raven in "Game of Thrones" would net him his second Primetime Emmy nomination in 2016, twenty-six years after his first nod in Red King, White Knight.
Now, as he passes from this life to the next, as his friend and collaborator Ingmar Bergman promised an existence of such, perhaps the two will be reunited, if only to get a rematch with Death in a game of chess. His final film, Echoes of the Past, is currently in post-production.