Actor Max Von Sydow, who appeared in films and TV series including The Exorcist, Flash Gordon and Game of Thrones, has died at the age of 90.
His family announced “with a broken heart and infinite sadness” that the Swedish-born actor died on Sunday.
Von Sydow’s other film credits included Hannah and Her Sisters, The Seventh Seal and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
He was nominated for two Oscars during his career – including best actor in 1998 for Pelle the Conqueror.
His other Academy nomination was best supporting actor for his role in 2011’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.
He was nominated for an Emmy in 1990 for his role in the HBO thriller Red King, White Knight.
Von Sydow had a fruitful run of 11 films with Ingmar Bergman, including The Seventh Seal, in which he famously played chess with Death.
The actor also played Ming the Merciless in 1980’s Flash Gordon and appeared in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island and Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report.
In 1983, Von Sydow played the sinister James Bond villain Ernst Blofeld in Never Say Never Again.
He was often typecast in Hollywood as the sophisticated villain, which the Associated Press said was down to him being “tall and lanky, with sullen blue eyes, a narrow face, pale complexion and a deep and accented speaking voice”.
But, he once said 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 continued acting late in life, voicing a character in The Simpsons in 2014, appearing in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015, and in three episodes of Game of Thrones in 2016, for which he earned a second Emmy nomination.
Director Edgar Wright led the tributes on Twitter, writing: “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 and was Oscar nominated for a silent performance. A god.”
Film critic Guy Lodge said Von Sydow was “an actor who could bring great gravity to weightless junk, and quick, unpredictable humanity to, well, very grave films”.
Von Sydow has 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, meaning he had to relinquish his Swedish citizenship.