Game of Thrones and Star Wars actor Max von Sydow dies aged 90

The legendary star has passed away at his home

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Max von Sydow attends the 2016 Creative Arts Emmy Awards held at Microsoft Theater on September 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

Oscar-winning actor Max von Sydow – who starred in Game of Thrones and Star Wars –  has died aged 90, his agent Jean Diamond confirmed.

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The news was announced by film producer Catherine von Sydow, who has been married to the actor since 1997.

Speaking to Paris Match, she 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 on 8 March 2020.”

Max passed at his home in France on Sunday.

LYON, FRANCE - OCTOBER 17: Max von Sydow attends the 5th Lyon Film

The French star, born Carl Adolf von Sydow in Sweden, had a stage and screen career spanning five decades and starred in many high-profile American and European films.

He was best known for roles in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Exorcist and Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close.

Recently, he appeared HBO series Game of Thrones as the mystical Three-Eyed Raven, for which he received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination.

Max worked with Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman 11 times in films such as Wild Strawberries (1957) and The Virgin Spring (1960).

However, it’s The Seventh Seal that remains the most memorable, though, for the scene in which his character – a knight – plays chess with Death.

Max Von Sydow

Max was born in Lund, in the Southern Swedish province of Scania, to a wealthy family.

His father, Carl Wilhelm von Sydow, was an ethnologist and professor of Irish, Scandinavian, and comparative folklore at the University of Lund, while his mother, Maria Margareta, was a schoolteacher.

At school he and some friends founded an amateur theatrical company. He completed his national service before studying at the Royal Dramatic Theatre (Dramaten) in Stockholm, where he trained between 1948 and 1951.

It’s here where he made his screen debut  in Alf Sjöberg’s films Only a Mother.

From here, Max – who was the first choice to play the tile role in the first ever Bond film Dr No – went on to star in some of the biggest Hollywood films to date.

Max Von Sydow in a scene from the film 'The Greatest Story Ever Told', 1965. (Getty Images)
Max Von Sydow in a scene from the film ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’, 1965. (Getty Images)

He moved to Hollywood in 1965 after signing on to play Jesus in George Stevens’ epic The Greatest Story Ever Told.

Over the next few decades, Max had supporting roles in 1970s spy thriller Three Days of the Condor (1975) and big-budget 1980s films Flash Gordon (1980), Conan the Barbarian (1982) and David Lynch’s Dune (1984).

His later credits include Minority Report (2002) and Shutter Island (2010).

Max married twice – first in 1951 to actress Christina Inga Britta Olin, with whom he has two sons, and then again to his current wife Catherine Brelet.

Catherine and Max tied the knot in Province in 1997, and five years later, he relinquished his Swedish citizenship to become a citizen of France.

Max Von Sydow and wife Catherine Brelet
Max Von Sydow and wife Catherine Brelet
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The actor will posthumously appear in war drama Echoes of the Past.