- Max was a Swedish actor, voice actor and director
|Real name:||Carl Adolf von Sydow|
|How tall was Max von Sydow?||193 cm / 6 ft 4 in|
|Weight|| 85 kg / 187 lbs||Born:||10 April 1929 |
|When did Max von Sydow die? / Died||08 March 2020|
|How many years did Max von Sydow live? / Lived||90 years|
|Where was Max von Sydow born?||Lund, Sweden|
|Where did Max von Sydow die? / Deathplace ||Provence, France|
Net worth 2020 (estimated)
|How much is Max von Sydow worth?||$16,000,000|
Who was Max von Sydow? / Facts
- Early life and education - Max was born as Carl Adolf von Sydow in Lund, Sweden, to his father, Carl Wilhelm von Sydow, who was an ethnologist and professor of folkloristics at the University of Lund, and his mother, Baroness Maria Margareta von Rappe, who was a schoolteacher.
Max had German ancestry through his mother, who was of Pomeranian descent. His surname traces back to his father's partial German ancestry, too.
He was brought up as a Lutheran and later became an agnostic.
Max attended Lund Cathedral School, where he learned English at an early age. He became interested in drama after seeing a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which prompted him to found an amateur theatrical group along with some of his friends at school.
Von Sydow served for 2 years in the Swedish military with the Army Quartermaster Corps, where he adopted the name "Max" from the star performer of a flea circus he saw.
After completing his service, von Sydow studied at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, where he trained between 1948 and 1951.
During his time there, he helped start a theatre group, of which actress Ingrid Thulin was a member.
- Stage debut - After graduation, Max worked at the city theatres in Norrköping and Malmö.
He made his stage debut in a small part in the Goethe play Egmont, which he considered "almost a disaster", but received good reviews for his performance.
- Big screen debut - His first role was as Nils the crofter in Alf Sjöberg's Only a Mother (1949).
- Movies - He appeared in 13 films directed by Ingmar Bergman: The Seventh Seal (1957), Wild Strawberries (1957), Mr. Sleeman Is Coming (1957), Brink of Life (1958), The Magician (1958), Rabies (1958), The Virgin Spring (1960), Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Winter Light (1963), Hour of the Wolf (1968), Shame (1968), The Passion of Anna (1969) and The Touch (1971).
His work in the movies by Ingmar Bergman (especially The Seventh Seal (1957), that includes the iconic scenes in which he plays chess with Death) made him well-known internationally, and he started to get offers from abroad.
His career abroad began with him playing Jesus in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), then Hawaii (1966) and The Quiller Memorandum (1966).
Since then, his career includes very different kind of characters, like Karl Oskar Nilsson in The Emigrants (1971), Father Lankester Merrin in The Exorcist (1973), Joubert the assassin in Three Days of the Condor (1975), Emperor Ming in Flash Gordon (1980); the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Never Say Never Again (1983), Liet-Kynes in Dune (1984), the artist Frederick in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Lassefar in Pelle the Conqueror (1987), for which he received his first Academy Award nomination, Dr. Peter Ingham in Awakenings (1990), and Lamar Burgess in Minority Report (2002), which one of his biggest commercial successes.
In 2004, Max appeared in a television adaptation of the Ring of the Nibelung saga. The show set ratings records and was later released in the United States as Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King.
In 2007, he starred in the box-office hit Rush Hour 3, and played the father of the protagonist in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Julian Schnabel's adaptation of the memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby.
In 2009, Max appeared in the drama series The Tudors.
In 2010, he played a sinister German doctor in Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island, and Robin Hood's blind stepfather Sir Walter Loxley in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood.
Max played a mute elderly renter in Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011), which earned him his second Academy Award nomination.
In 2015, he played the explorer Lor San Tekka in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
- Game of Thrones - In 2016, he joined the sixth season of the HBO series Game of Thrones (2011) as the Three-eyed Raven, which earned him his Primetime Emmy Award nomination.
- Animations - Max provided the voice of an art forger in a March 2014 episode of The Simpsons.
- Video games - He voiced Esbern, a mentor of the protagonist in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011), and narrated the game's debut trailer.
He also lent his voice to the 2009 game Ghostbusters: The Video Game and reprised his role as Lor San Tekka in Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2016).
- Final projects - In 2017, von Sydow joined the cast of Thomas Vinterberg's film Kursk, based on the true story of the submarine accident.
His final film role was set to be the Nicholas Dimitropoulos war drama Echoes of the Past.
- Awards and nominations - Max has become one of Sweden's most admired and professional actors and is the only male Swedish actor to receive an Oscar nomination. Max has been nominated twice: for Pelle the Conqueror (1987) in 1988 and for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011) in 2012.
He received the Guldbagge Award for Best Director in his directing debut, the drama film Katinka (1988), and was co-head of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1985.
In April 2013, Max was honored at the Turner Classic Movie (TCM) Festival in Hollywood, with screenings of two of his classic films, Three Days of the Condor and The Seventh Seal.
He also wan the Festival Trophy at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004, and the Career Achievement Award at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association in 2017.
He is one of very few actors to be nominated for an Oscar for a role in a foreign language film, for his performance in Pelle the Conqueror (1987). His performance as Lasse Karlsson in this movie is ranked #57 on Premiere magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
- Personal life - Max has lived in Los Angeles, California, Rome, Italy and Paris, France.
He married actress Christina Inga Britta Olin in 1951. They had two sons, Clas and Henrik, who appeared with him in the film Hawaii.
The couple divorced in 1979.
Max later married documentarian Catherine Brelet in 1997, and adopted Brelet's two children from a previous marriage.
In 2002, he became a citizen of France, at which time he had to relinquish his Swedish citizenship.
- Religious orientation - Max was reported to be either an agnostic or an atheist.
In 2012, he told Charlie Rose in an interview that Ingmar Bergman had told him he would contact him after death to show him that there was a life after death.
When Rose asked Max if he had heard from Bergman, he replied that he had, but chose not to elaborate further on the exact meaning of this statement.
In the same interview, Max described himself as a doubter in his youth, but stated this doubt was gone, and indicated he came to agree with Bergman's belief in the afterlife.
- Death - Max died on 8 March 2020, at the age of 90 at his home in Provence, France.
- Trivia - He was fluent in a number of languages, including Swedish, English, French and Italian.
In his career, he has played both Jesus and Satan, and was also the title character in the horror film The Exorcist (1973).
Max is one of 6 Swedish actors to be nominated for an Academy Award, and the only male Swedish actor to be nominated for an Oscar.
- Lund Cathedral School, Stockholm, Sweden
- Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm, Sweden
The film you hear about the most is The Exorcist. When people come up to me and say, 'Oh, you scared me!'... I was the good guy in that film!
The characters they offer me are most of the time grandfathers, or old fathers who are nice people but not terribly interesting. Most of the time they're not very well, and very often they die on page 36.
I want variety, and I have had it, but at times it's been difficult and tough to achieve because people have a tendency to typecast you. If you have been successful doing one thing, they want you to copy that success all the time. And I hate that.
You see, I had an odd upbringing. My father was a scholar, a professor in the town where I was born, and his subject was folklore. He was a master at telling stories -- folk tales and adventures. I was very shy as a boy, and heard more fairy tales than the average child because of my father. This and my shyness prompted my imagination, and led to an interest in make believe.
Playing Christ, I began to feel shut away from the world. A newspaper became one of my biggest luxuries. I noticed that some of my close friends began treating me with reverence. Playing the role of Christ was like being in a prison. It was the hardest part I've ever had to play in my life. I couldn't smoke or drink in public. I couldn't. The most difficult part of playing Christ was that I had to keep up the image around the clock. As soon as the picture finished, I returned home to Sweden and tried to find my old self. It took six months to get back to normal. When I finished the role of Christ, I felt as though I'd been let out on parole. A man who has served 18 months isn't eager to go back to prison.
Acting is such a weird profession. It's such a futile thing. Even when it's there on film, there's nothing really to it. It is not like making a piece of furniture or writing a book.
I have been brought up as a stage actor and there is where I feel at home, but I still feel that the cinema has one great advantage over the theater. Namely, proximity to the audience. Of course in a film an actor always has only himself as an audience while on a stage he can achieve a result along with his audience. However, when you stand on a stage, you can never work with your face in the same way as you can in front of a camera.
At home [in Sweden], the actor's profession was not considered particularly reputable, but being an actor or star in a Hollywood film was something very important in American eyes. Then I slowly realized that as an actor in Sweden you were allowed to be involved in some kind of artistic project which could be a flop and yet still be justifiable if it carried artistic weight and ambitions. In Hollywood, on the other hand, if you do not succeed you are nobody. You become a mere piece of paper with a figure on it. You are just as good-or bad-as your last film was financially. And while Sweden remains sufficiently small for you to work in, say, Malmö and still make films in Stockholm, in the States you either work in Hollywood or you live somewhere else and you work for the legitimate theater.
Sometimes I receive strange letters, and occasionally people come up to me in the street and say odd things. They want to be deceived, so it is difficult to disabuse them. At times, it is tiring not to be allowed to be a private person. If you are really marked out as a film star in the United States, then it must be absolutely exhausting and hard to maintain your integrity. Fortunately, Swedes are very reserved as a people and seldom show their emotions or feelings in public, so one is not subject to that kind of pressure in the country where I come from.
Max von Sydow Social Media Accounts
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Last update: 11 March 2020
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