Max von Sydow Dies; Game of Thrones Star was 90

Max von Sydow, a veteran actor best known for his roles in The Exorcist and Game of Thrones, passed in France on Sunday, March 8.

He was 90 years old.

“It is with a broken heart and with infinite sadness that we have the extreme pain of announcing the departure of Max von Sydow,” the star’s agent, Jean Diamond, said in a statement to the Associated Press on Monday, March 9.

von Sydow was a well-known figure in both European and American cinema, starring in films from Bergman’s masterpiece “The Seventh Seal” to international blockbusters such as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

He portrayed the Three-Eyed Raven on multiple episodes of the aforementioned HBO hit.

Von Sydow was born as Carl Adolf von Sydow in Sweden in April 1929, but he changed his name after World War II. For obvious reasons, you know?

He began acting at the age of 20, making his debut in the 1949 Swedish movie Only a Mother… and went on to star in nearly 200 projects.

Among the most notable on the big screen were likely von Sydow’s roles as Jesus in “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965) and Father Lankester Merrin in “The Exorcist” (1973).

He was nominated for Academy Awards for “Pelle the Conqueror” in 1988 and for “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” in 2012.

The actor also had memorable roles as:

  • Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the 1983 Bond film Never Say Never Again
  • Leland Gaunt in Stephen King’s 1993 horror movie Needful Things
  • Dr. Jeremiah Naehring in Martin Scorsese’s 2010 thriller Shutter Island
  • Lor San Tekka in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Most recently, he received an Emmy nomination for his previously cited work as the Three-Eyed Raven in Game of Thrones.

“I can’t say exactly what influence he’s had on me, but it must be enormous,” von Sydow previously told the AP of director Ingmar Bergman, with whom he worked almost a dozen times.

“We did most of that work when we were much younger.

“We were free — he hadn’t yet become world famous and I was just a regular stage actor with a few film roles to my credit.

“We worked hard and had a lot of fun.”

Von Sydow was married to Swedish actress Christina Olin from 1951 to 1979, and they had two sons, Clas and Henrik.

He wed French filmmaker Catherine von Sydow (née Brelet) in 1997, and they then welcomed two more sons, Yvan and Cedric.

In response to this passing, many big screen and small screen fans have taken to social media to mourn Max von Sydow.

“RIP [Max von Sydow] a brilliant, brilliant actor and a true Hollywood legend,” wrote one fan. “We have lost one of the true greats.”

"RIP [Max von Sydow] a brilliant, brilliant actor and a true Hollywood legend," wrote one fan. "We have lost one of the true greats."

“NOOOOOO, I just learned that beloved [Max von Sydow] has passed away at 90!!!” reacted another fan, adding:

“[RIP Max] There would have been no Exorcist, Minority Report or FLASH GORDON!!!!”

We send our condolences to the friends, family members and loved ones of Max von Sydow. 

May he rest in peace.

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