Recently, it was announced that beloved veteran actor Max von Sydow has passed away. Sydow has film and television credits for over 150 different roles, including 3 Days of the Condor, Ghostbusters II, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The actor also appeared in an arc on HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Max von Sydow was born April 10, 1932 in Lund, Sweden which sits across from Copenhagen, Denmark. Sydow began his acting career in his native Sweden performing in several plays alongside the acting troupe to which he belonged.
While a member of the Malmo City Theatre, Sydow met and befriended director Ingmar Bergman. This led to Bergman casting Sydow as Antonius Block in the 1957 classic film The Seventh Seal. As most cinephiles will remember, The Seventh Seal features the iconic scene of Sydow playing chess against Death. After this, Sydow and Bergman would go on to work on several more films together.
Sydow is probably best known to horror fans as Father Lankester Merrin, from 1973’s horror classic The Exorcist. Sydow was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in the film. He would go on to reprise his role as Father Merrin in the much maligned The Exorcist II: The Heretic.
Sydow terrified youngsters (myself included) as the voice of Vigo the Carpathian in Ghostbusters II. He also returned to voice several phrases as Vigo for Ghostbusters: The Video Game released in 2009.
Sydow, himself an icon, has shared the screen with some of Hollywood’s best and brightest talent, including Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robin Williams, and Tom Hanks. One look at Sydow’s filmography reads like a who’s who in the film industry.
Max von Sydow throughout his career of stage, screen and television has entertained and terrified millions of people the world over. Whether he is battling the Devil for control of the soul of a 12-year-old girl or taking Robin Williams on a journey of The Underworld, his performances never disappointed.
He has left us with a huge collection of his work which he will live on through. Godspeed Max Von Sydow, thanks for the laughs, tears and terror.