The fantastic actor Max von Sydow has died aged 90 it has been revealed today. He will be known to a variety of different fans for appearing in several genres in a career spanning over 70 years.
Born in Lund, Sweden in 1929, von Sydow’s breakthrough role was in The Seventh Seal in 1957 – the movie where he famously plays a game of chess with Death. Among many other film credits he went on to play Jesus in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon (1980) and Blofeld in the James Bond remake Never Say Never Again (1983). He also appeared in Conan the Barbarian (1982), David Lynch’s Dune (1984), the Stephen King movie Needful Things (1993), Judge Dredd (1995) and Minority Report (2002). More recently he was seen as Lor San Tekka in Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) and as the Three-Eyed Raven in Game of Thrones (2016).
But for horror fans he will be best known for his star performance as Father Merrin in William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973). Only 44 years old at the time, special make up was used to turn him into the elderly Merrin, apparently taking 3 hours every day. His performance is so iconic in the movie that he IS the image of the movie.
(He also reprised the role of Father Merrin in Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) but the less said about that film the better)
He was a phenomenal screen presence and he will be sadly missed.