The Exorcist star Max von Sydow has died aged 90, his agent Jean Diamond has confirmed to PA.
The Oscar-nominated actor is said to have died at his home in France.
A statement 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.”
Appearing in over 100 films and TV series, the Sweden-born actor was best known for his performances in Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, as Father Merrin in the iconic horror film The Exorcist, as Ming The Merciless in Flash Gordon, and more recently as Lor San Tekka in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and as the Three-eyed Raven in HBO’s Game of Thrones, for which he received an Emmy nomination.
His last film appearance was in Thomas Vinterberg’s 2018 film Kursk alongside Colin Firth and Matthias Schoenaerts.
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Von Sydow received two Academy Awards nominations in his lifetime. One for Best Actor in 1987’s Pelle The Conquerer, and one for Best Supporting Actor in 2012’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. He received Golden Globe nominations for his work in The Exorcist and Hawaii.
He is survived by four children and his wife Catherine Brelet. He married Brelet in 1997 and became a citizen of France in 2002, relinquishing his Swedish citizenship.
UK film critic Mark Kermode, who interviewed von Sydow for his The Exorcist documentary The Fear of God, was among those paying tribute to the actor. The radio presenter simply shared his headshot without a caption.
Hot Fuzz director Edgar Wright hailed the actor as “an iconic presence in cinema”.
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. A god. pic.twitter.com/klhJ9RusdQ— edgarwright (@edgarwright) March 9, 2020
The legendary actor who gave us both Brewmeister Smith and Ming the Merciless has finally laid down his King in the eternal chess match. Farewell, Max von Sydow. You were in many much more respected movies than Strange Brew and Flash Gordon but I loved you for those flicks first. https://t.co/ltytehF5Rm— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) March 9, 2020
Guardian film critic Guy Lodge also paid tribute to the actor’s ability to bring “unpredictable humanity” to films.
Farewell, Max von Sydow, an actor who could bring great gravity to weightless junk, and quick, unpredictable humanity to, well, very grave films. His run of collaborations with Bergman have so much more life and electricity than the dour reputation with which people tag them.— Guy Lodge (@GuyLodge) March 9, 2020
Talking about Von Sydow while promoting Star Wars: The Force Awakens, director JJ Abrams called the actor “a gentleman”.
“He was awesome,” Abrams told Vanity Fair. “It was interesting because normally I would be nothing but terrified at the thought of directing an actor like Max von Sydow because, you’d think, ‘That’s a guy who’s going to see right through you’.
“But the truth is he was such a gentleman, so sweet, that he made it easy. He had to work a lot of late nights, too, and he was a complete trooper.”