James Bond and Star Wars actor Max von Sydow dies aged 90
9 March 2020, 13:20
Actor Max von Sydow has died at his home in France at the age of 90, his agent has confirmed.
The actor was best known for his roles in Game of Thrones, The Exorcist and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
He was also recognised for his many collaborations with Swedish film-maker Ingmar Bergman.
A statement released by his agent, Jean Diamond, on behalf of his wife Catherine said: “It is with a broken heart and with infinite sadness that we have the extreme pain of announcing the departure of Max von Sydow, March 8, 2020.”
Von Sydow, who was born in Sweden and held French citizenship, had a varied career that spanned more than six decades and saw him appear in more than 100 films and TV series.
He was nominated for two Oscars throughout his illustrious career - best actor for Pelle The Conqueror in 1989 and best supporting actor for his role in 2011's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.
During his extensive film career, he worked with a number of heavyweight directors, such as Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Woody Allen and Steven Spielberg.
However, he was most noted for his many collaborations with Swedish director Bergman.
Von Sydow's first Bergman movie was in 1957 - The Seventh Seal, in which he played knight Antonius Block. The scenes of him playing chess with the figure of Death would become renowned in cinematic circles.
He also went on to star in other Bergman films including Wild Strawberries, The Virgin Spring and Hour Of The Wolf after first meeting the director in the 1950s at the Malmo Municipal Theatre in Sweden.
After years of appearing in European films, von Sydow went to America to play Jesus Christ in George Stevens's epic The Greatest Story Ever Told in 1965.
It was his first English language film and launched his Hollywood career.
He went on to appear in films including Flash Gordon, Conan The Barbarian, Dune, Hannah And Her Sisters, Shutter Island and Minority Report.
He also played sinister James Bond super-villain Ernst Blofeld in 1983's Never Say Never Again.
In recent years, von Sydow lent his voice to animated comedy The Simpsons, and he appeared in three episodes of Game Of Thrones in 2016 as Three-Eyed Raven.
Tributes have also been paid to Max von Sydow on social media.
One user wrote: "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."
Another said: "Quite the legend. An actor who transported you to different worlds within his films. RIP Max Von Sydow."
"Rest in peace, Max von Sydow, a film titan and one of the greatest actors to ever illuminate the screen," another read.