Cinema Legend Max Von Sydow, Star Of 'The Exorcist' And 'The Seventh Seal,' Has Died At Age 90

Legendary actor Max von Sydow, who left an indelible mark on cinema with his turns in classics like The Exorcist and The Seventh Seal, has died at age 90. The Swedish-born actor, best known for his solemn gravitas and his collaborations with influential director Ingmar Bergman, starred in more than 100 films and TV series through his 70-year career and appeared in recent major hits like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Game of Thrones.

Max von Sydow's family announced through his agent Jean Diamond that the veteran actor passed away on Sunday.

"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) March 8, 2020," his wife Catherine said in a statement to USA Today.

Born in Lund, Sweden in 1929, Max von Sydow would become a fixture of European arthouse cinema through his 11 collaborations with Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, starring in such films as The Seventh Seal (1957), Wild Strawberries (1957) and The Virgin Spring (1960). But it was his performance in The Seventh Seal that immortalized him in cinema history, with the iconic scene in which he plays chess with Death frequently celebrated and satirized.

Von Sydow would maintain that prestigious reputation upon his move to Hollywood. He starred in the title role in William Friedkin's Oscar-winning horror classic The Exorcist. But despite the serious films with which he was often associated, Von Sydow displayed remarkable range, appearing in genre films like 1980's Flash Gordon, comedies like 1983's Strange Brew, and played his fair share of accented villains, playing the infamous James Bond villain Ernst Blofeld in 1983's Never Say Never Again.

The actor was often typecast in Hollywood as the sophisticated villain, which the Associated Press said was due to his "tall and lanky" looks "with sullen blue eyes, a narrow face, pale complexion and a deep and accented speaking voice."

But Von Sydow often rejected that typecast, saying once in an interview, "What I as an actor look for is a variety of parts. It is very boring to be stuck in more or less one type of character."

Von Sydow acted well into the 2010s, with roles in Martin Scorsese's Shutter IslandStar Wars: The Force Awakens, and 2011's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, the latter of which earned him his second Academy Award nomination — the first being for his leading role in 1987's Pelle the Conqueror. Von Sydow's last-released film was 2018's Kurk but he will appear in the upcoming Echoes of the Past, which is currently in post-production.

Von Sydow is survived by his wife and four sons, two with his first wife Christina Inga Britta Olin. In 1997, he married Catherine Brelet in Provence and became a citizen of France five years later.