Hollywood star Max von Sydow has died at the age of 90.
The actor, known for roles in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Game Of Thrones, The Exorcist and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – and for his many collaborations with Swedish film-maker Ingmar Bergman, died at his home in France on Sunday.
A statement issued by van Sydow’s agent Jean Diamond, on behalf of his wife Catherine, 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.”
Von Sydow, who was born in Sweden and held French citizenship, had a varied career that spanned more than six decades and saw him appear in more than 100 films and TV series.
He was nominated for two Oscars throughout his illustrious career – best actor for Pelle The Conqueror in 1989 and best supporting actor for his role in 2011’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.
During his extensive film career, he worked with a number of heavyweight directors, such as Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Woody Allen and Steven Spielberg.
However, he was most noted for his many collaborations with Swedish director Bergman.
Von Sydow’s first Bergman movie was in 1957 – The Seventh Seal, in which he played knight Antonius Block. The scenes of him playing chess with the figure of Death would become renowned in cinematic circles.
He also went on to star in other Bergman films including Wild Strawberries, The Virgin Spring and Hour Of The Wolf after first meeting the director in the 1950s at the Malmo Municipal Theatre in Sweden.
Prior to carving out a name for himself in the Swedish theatre, von Sydow studied at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, and he made his film debut in 1949 in Swedish drama film Only A Mother.
After years of appearing in European films, von Sydow went to America to play Jesus Christ in George Stevens’s epic The Greatest Story Ever Told in 1965.
It was his first English language film and launched his Hollywood career.
He went on to appear in films including Flash Gordon, Conan The Barbarian, Dune, Hannah And Her Sisters, Shutter Island and Minority Report.
He also played sinister James Bond super-villain Ernst Blofeld in 1983’s Never Say Never Again.
In recent years, von Sydow lent his voice to animated comedy The Simpsons, and he appeared in three episodes of Game Of Thrones in 2016 as Three-Eyed Raven.
He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for his guest role in the hit fantasy drama series.