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British director Edgar Wright leads tributes to Game Of Thrones and The Exorcist star Max Von Sydow after he died aged 90

Edgar Wright

Stars of the silver screen have today paid tribute to the actor Max Von Sydow, who has died at the age of 90.  

The Hollywood legend, known for roles in Star Wars, Game Of Thrones, Flash Gordon and The Exorcist, died at his home in France on Sunday.

His family announced the Swedish-born actor’s death ‘with a broken heart and infinite sadness’ today.

Actress Mia Farrow, who appeared alongside Von Sydow in the 1979 movie Hurricane, was among those paying tribute, remembering him as a ‘great artist and true gentleman.’

British director Edgar Wright called Von Sydow ‘A God’, tweeting: ‘Max Von Sydow, such an iconic presence in cinema for seven decades, it seemed like he’d always be with us.

‘He changed the face of international film with Bergman, played Christ, fought the devil, pressed the HOT HAIL button & was Oscar nominated for a silent performance.’

The actor’s agent Jean Diamond 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.’

Born in 1929, Von Sydow made his film debut in 1949, going on to appear in several films by Ingmar Bergman including a role as a knight in The Seventh Seal.

The film’s scenes of him playing chess with the figure of Death would become renowned in cinematic circles.

Before his big-screen career took off, Von Sydow studied at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm.

He went on to work with Bergman at the Malmo Municipal Theatre in the 1950s.

He also went on to star in other Bergman films including Wild Strawberries, The Virgin Spring and Hour Of The Wolf.

Subsequently, he enjoyed an illustrious Hollywood career with movies including The Exorcist and Minority Report.

He played Jesus in The Greatest Story Ever Told and Lassefar Karlsson in Pelle the Conqueror, which earned him an Oscar nomination for best actor.

He received a second Oscar nomination, for best supporting actor, in 2011 for his role in the post-9/11 film Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close.

He also played sinister James Bond super-villain Ernst Blofeld in 1983’s Never Say Never Again.

During his extensive film career he worked with a number of heavyweight directors, such as Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Woody Allen and Steven Spielberg.

In 2015, von Sydow joined the cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, portraying Lor San Tekka who appeared at the very start of the film.

The following year, he portrayed the mysterious Three-Eyed Raven in HBO’s Game Of Thrones, receiving a Primetime Emmy nomination.

Although originally from Sweden, Von Sydow lived in France for many years and eventually took French citizenship.

While his characters were often sinister, tormented or evil, the soft-spoken Von Sydow said he became an actor to overcome his own shyness.

‘I was a very shy boy when I was a kid,’ he once said in an Associated Press interview.

‘When I started acting in an amateur group in high school, although I wasn’t aware of it at the time, I suddenly got a tool in my hand that was wonderful.

‘I was allowed to express all kinds of strange things that I never dared to express before. Now I could do it with the character as a shield, as a defense, and as an excuse.

‘I think that for many years I used my profession as some kind of a mental therapy.’

Von Sydow married Swedish actress Christina Olin in 1951 and had two sons, Clas and Henrik.

The couple later divorced and he married French filmmaker Catherine Brelet in 1997, with whom he had two more sons, Yvan and Cedric.



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