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  • Eric J. Cullen

IN MEMORIAM: Max von Sydow Passes

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Max von Sydow passed away this Sunday in Provence, France. A true legend of the screen, von Sydow was 90.

Born Carl Adolf von Sydow in Lund, Sweden, von Sydow expressed interest in theatre at a time when he was pursuing a different career path, in law. Along with some friends of his, von Sydow joined up with a local theatre group. This would be the starting point of his seventy year dedication to the craft of theatre, film and television.

After serving two years in the Swedish military, Max, a name he adopted, joined the Malmö City Theatre, where he would met Ingmar Bergman. The two would go on to make 11 films together including The Seventh Seal and The Virgin Spring. The Seventh Seal is considered a classic among film historians, the film containing scenes and performances that are studied at universities worldwide. During his early years of making films with Bergman, von Sydow married Christina Inga Britta Olin in 1951. They would go on to have two children and divorce in 1979.

Already an established actor, von Sydow would take on his greatest role in the year 1973, as the elderly priest Father Merrin in William Friedkin's The Exorcist. Von Sydow, who was only in his mid-forties at the time, was aged for the role with the help of make-up artist Rick Baker to portray the priest who was in his late seventies.

In his later years, von Sydow would marry again this time to Catherine Brelet. Appearing in a number of films like Needful Things, Minority Report and Shutter Island. Von Sydow would also do voice work for films, television shows and video games. Fans of fantasy were lucky enough to enjoy von Sydow not only in Elder Scrolls: Skyrim but in HBO's hit show Game of Thrones, as the Three-eyed raven.

Max von Sydow leaves behind his family, his fans and a library of work to entertain the world for centuries to come.

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