Game Of Thrones And Exorcist Star Max Von Sydow Dies

The legendary Swedish star appeared in more than 100 movies and TV shows over his career.


Legendary actor Max von Sydow has died. The Swedish star was 90 years old, and leaves a formidable body of work, including iconic roles in The Exorcist, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Von Sydow's long screen career began in the late 1940s, but it was his many collaborations with influential Swedish director Ingmar Bergman that brought him to the attention of film fans worldwide. Their best known work was 1956's classic The Seventh Seal, with its much-parodied scenes in which von Sydow's character plays chess with Death on the beach. Bergman and von Sydow's other films together include Wild Strawberries, The Virgin Spring, and Winter Light.

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Von Sydow started working in Hollywood in the mid-'60s, appearing in a variety of supporting roles, before the blockbuster horror movie The Exorcist established him as a star. The film was the most successful movie of 1973, and his portrayal of aging priest Father Lankester Merrin (von Sydow was in fact 43 at the time) was highly acclaimed.

Max von Sydow in The Exorcist
Max von Sydow in The Exorcist

Von Sydow's post-Exorcist career mixed more serious drama with work in a variety of popular sci-fi and fantasy movies. His best known roles throughout the '80s include Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon (1980), King Osric in Conan the Barbarian (1982), Blofeld in Never Say Never Again (1983), and Doctor Kynes in Dune (1984), as well as the Oscar-winning films Hannah and her Sisters (1985) and Pelle the Conqueror (1987).

In more recent years, von Sydow was part of two massive pop-culture properties. He appeared in the opening scenes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Lor San Tekka and as the Three-eyed Raven in Game of Thrones Season 6. The last movie released prior to his death was 2018's French/Belgian film Kursk, and he will also be seen in the Greek war drama Echoes of the Past, which is currently in post-production.

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