This morning, news broke that Swedish-born actor Max Von Sydow has passed away. He flourished in European cinema as well as in Hollywood and can be seen in arthouse films and genre fare alike. According to Variety, his long life and impressive career came to an end this past Sunday.
Von Sydow has over 150 acting roles to his name, including numerous films, TV series, and even video games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Force Awakens. He’s an icon of classic cinema for starring roles in movies like The Seventh Seal, The Exorcist, and The Greatest Story Ever Told. Von Sydow also left an indelible mark on geek culture with his appearances in films like Flash Gordon, Conan the Barbarian, Dune, and Minority Report, as well as playing the Three-Eyed Raven on Game of Thrones. From Biblical adaptations to the likes of Judge Dredd, he basically did it all.
There’s always a collective sadness when a star dies, especially one who has been on the screen for so long and in so many capacities. Max Von Sydow’s versatile presence transcended not only genre and medium but language, culture, and geography as well. As such, more people have seen and enjoyed his performances than many artists and performers could ever hope to reach. Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, and regardless of what your interests may be, you’ve likely consumed a film, series, or game that featured his talents in some capacity. It’s always sad when someone dies, but it feels bigger to me when the person in question was present longer and in more ways. It’s like the world all grieves together for a time. 90 years is a good life for anyone, and he certainly left his mark on the industry and the arts, but he will be missed by fans, as well as his own family and friends.
RIP Max Von Sydow, AKA Father Merrin, Ming the Merciless, Blofeld, Lor San Tekka, and many, many more.
April 10, 1929-March 8, 2020