Max von Sydow is dead

He’s gone. He had some impressive roles, he had some cheesy roles, but one thing he always had was presence.

One thing that always struck me about him is that he reminded me of my great grandfather: that slight accent, the pitch of his voice, and that he was tall and physically similar (I think my great grandfather was tall, but I was also very small when I knew him). I kind of hoped I’d grow old to be like Great-Grandpa Westad, or like Max von Sydow, but I think I got too many Myers genes.


  1. mastmaker says

    Enjoyed watching him as impassive assassin hired by CIA in ‘Three days of Condor’. RIP Max.

  2. blf says

    You “can’t” mention his sad passing — I cried when I learned the news earlier today — without mentioning The Seventh Seal (or many many other roles). About that particular role, Scott Walker brilliantly sang a synopsis in c.5mins (which I originally learned about from another commentator here at Pharyngula). I gave it another intense listen earlier today, and he did capture that role / movie in just a few minutes.

  3. publicola says

    The first time I saw him was when my grandmother walked me down to the Strand Theater to see “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. It’s still one of my favorite movies because of his portrayal of Christ, (ironic, since I’m an atheist). The world has lost a great actor.

  4. sirbedevere says

    Check out the 1995 HBO movie “Citizen X”, the true story of the hunt for a serial killer in Soviet-era Russia. Stephen Rea and Donald Sutherland are the stars but Max von Sydow has an important part late in the film. He executes a beautiful, understated and note-perfect portrayal of a psychiatrist who gets involved in the case, brilliantly conveying the excitement of seeing hypotheses being borne out, carefully suppressed by the professionalism demanded by circumstances. Just remarkable to watch. His charming performance stole the film (which is really quite good), as far as I’m concerned.

  5. psychomath says

    @8 – Susan Montgomery

    Truly, his greatest role. When I watched it as a kid, my father pointed out that he was a great actor but that he admired that Von Sydow was a working actor and wasn’t picky about roles if he wanted to do some acting. It stuck with me and I’m always a bit more appreciative of actors who are willing to do what is available without worrying about their legacy. I understand that newer actors have to be more cautious, of course.

    He also was great in Needful Things, and even smaller roles in Conan the Barbarian and Judge Dredd had an effect. I’m glad he had a long run.

  6. says

    The virgin spring saw it at 11 it was the first time the concept that the world could be both terrible and beautiful was born in my infant perspective of said world. Shook me to the core. One of the most heartbreaking roles Sydow ever played. (Btw virgin spring was based on a medieval murder ballad)