It’s a sad day in Hollywood as The Exorcist favourite Max von Sydow has sadly passed away at the age of 90. While the Swedish actor has already made a name for himself by starring in the likes of The Seventh Seal (1957), he cemented himself as a horror icon thanks to his role as Father Lankester Merrin in The Exorcist.
Max von Sydow is survived by wife Catherine Brelet, who told Paris Match: “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.”
Twitter was soon flooded with tributes to the star. Among his mourners were the likes of Mia Farrow, Kevin Smith, and Bloody Disgusting’s John Squires.
Here was Max Von Sydow with his dear friend, master cinematographer, Sven Nykvist. Two great artists. Two true gentlemen. We were working on Bora Bora. I picture Max in heaven wearing his white linen suit, w Sven, Ingmar Bergman, Bibi Andersson, laughing & loving each other 💔 pic.twitter.com/ENdcB9bPKZ— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) 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
Rarely do younger actors convincingly play older characters on screen, and Max von Sydow as Father Merrin in The Exorcist is one of the great master classes in that department. Von Sydow was 43 when he played Merrin and that still blows my mind. Incredible makeup & performance. pic.twitter.com/HRxecB74yK— John Squires (@FreddyInSpace) March 9, 2020
Although Max von Sydow will always be the titular exorcist of William Friedkin’s movie, others will know him from a variety of projects. He notably played the villainous Ming the Merciless in camp classic, Flash Gordon.
In more recent years, von Sydow had a small part in Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and played the Three-Eyed Raven in HBO’s Game of Thrones. Still, with his role as the aged Father Merrin earning him a Golden Globe nomination, von Sydow’s role in The Exorcist holds a place in our hearts.