Max von Sydow Biography (1929-)

Original name, Carl Adolf von Sydow; born April 10, 1929, in Lund, Sweden; son of Carl Wilhelm (an ethnologist and professor of Scandinavian and Irish folklore) and Greta (maiden name, Rappe) von Sydow; married Kerstin (some sources cite Christina) Olin (an actress), August 1, 1951 (divorced, 1996); marriedCathrine Brelet (a documentary filmmaker), April 30, 1997; children: (firstmarriage) Claes Wilhelm, Per Henrik. Addresses: Agent: Alisa Adler, Paradigm, 360 North Crescent, Los Angeles, CA.

Birth Details
April 10, 1929
Lund, Sweden

Famous Works

  • Film Appearances
  • Nils, Bara en mor (also known as Only a Mother), Svensk Filmindustri, 1949
  • Hand, Froeken Julie (also known as Miss Julie), Sandrews, 1951
  • Olof, Ingen mans kvinna, Svensk Filmindustri, 1951
  • Antonius Block, Det sjunde inseglet (also known as The SeventhSeal), Janus, 1956
  • Bergman, Raetten att aelska, Europa Film, 1956
  • Gustaf Oemark (title role), Praesten i Uddarbo (also known as The Minister of Uddarbo), Nordisk Tonefilm, 1957
  • Henrik Aakerman, Smultronstaellet (also known as Wild Strawberries), Janus, 1957
  • Albert Emanuel Vogler, Ansiktet (also known as The Face andThe Magician), Janus, 1958
  • Harry Andersson, Naera livet (also known as Brink of Life and So Close to Life), Nordisk Tonefilm, 1958
  • Tysk topagent Horst, Spion 503, Dansk Film Company, 1958
  • Herr Toere, Jungfrukaellan (also known as The Virgin Spring), Svensk Filmindustry, 1959
  • Anders Frost, Broellopsdagen (also known as The Wedding Dayand Ja!), Nordisk Tonefilm, 1960
  • Martin, Saasom i en spegel (also known as Through a Glass Darkly), Svensk Filmindustry, 1961
  • The father, Nils Holgerssons underbara resa (also known as Adventures of Nils Holgersson and The Wonderful Adventures of Nils), Nordisk Tonefilm, 1962
  • Married man, Aelskarinnan (also known as The Mistress and The Swedish Mistress), Svensk Filmindustry, 1962
  • Jonas Persson, Nattvardsgaesterna (also known as Winter Light), Janus, 1963
  • Jesus, The Greatest Story Ever Told (also known as George Stevens Presents the Greatest Story Ever Told), United Artists, 1965
  • Kvist, "Uppehaall I myrlandet," 4 x 4 (also known as 4 x 4--Pike med hvit ball and Nordisk kvadrille), Vaeinaen Filmi, 1965
  • Scott Swanson, The Reward, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1965
  • Abner Hale, Hawaii, United Artists, 1966
  • Johan Borg, Vargtimmen (also known as The Hour of the Wolf), Lopert, 1966
  • Oktober, The Quiller Memorandum, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1966
  • Smaalands-Pelle, Haer har du ditt liv (also known as Here's Your Life and This Is Your Life), Svensk Filmindustri, 1966
  • Gustav Olofsson, Svarta palmkronor (also known as Black Palm Trees), Sandrews, 1968
  • Jan Rosenberg, Skammen (also known as Shame), Lopert, 1969
  • Magnus Rud, Made in Sweden, Svensk Filmindustri, 1969
  • Andreas Winkelman, En passion (also known A Passion and The Passion of Anna), United Artists, 1970
  • Colonel Vladimir Kosnov, The Kremlin Letter, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1970
  • Andreas Vergerus, Beroeringen (also known as The Touch), 1971
  • Gorenko, Embassy (also known as Target: Embassy), Hemdale,1971
  • Salem, The Night Visitor (also known as Salem Come to Supper and Papegojan), UMC Pictures, 1971
  • Karl-Oskar Nilsson, Utvandrarna (also known as The Emigrants), Warner Bros., 1972
  • Himself, Ingmar Bergman, 1972
  • Roy Lindberg, Aeppelkriget (also known as The Apple War), Svensk Filmindustri, 1972
  • Karl-Oskar Nilsson, Nybyggarna (also known as The New Land), Warner Bros., 1973
  • Father Lankester Merrin, The Exorcist, Warner Bros., 1973, released as The Exorcist: The Version You Haven't Seen Yet (also known as The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen and William Peter Blatty'sThe Exorcist), 2000
  • Harry Haller, Steppenwolf (also known as Il lupo della steppa), 1974
  • The baron, The Ultimate Warrior (also known as The Barony and The Last Warrior), Warner Bros., 1975
  • The father, Aegget aer loest! (also known as Egg! Egg! A Hardboiled Story and The Softening of the Egg), Svensk Filmindustri, 1975
  • Joubert, Three Days of the Condor, Paramount, 1975
  • Larsen, Foxtrot (also known as The Far Side of Paradise andThe Other Side of Paradise), 1975
  • Matthew Lawrence, Trompe l'oeuil (also known as Le miroir eclate), 1975
  • Professor Filipp Filippovich Preobrazenski, Cuore di cane (also known as Dog's Heart, Heart of a Dog, and Warum bellt, Herr Bobikow?), 1975
  • Captain Hortiz, Il deserto dei tartari (also known as The Desert of the Tartars, Die Tartarenwueste, Le desert des tartares, and Le desert des tartars), Corona, 1976
  • Chief magistrate Riches, Cadaveri eccellenti (also known as TheContext, Excellent Cadavers, Illustrious Corpses, and Cadavres exquis), United Artists, 1976
  • Captain Gustav Schroeder, Voyage of the Damned (also known as El viaje de los malditos), Avco-Embassy, 1977
  • Father Lankester Merrin, Exorcist II: The Heretic, Warner Bros., 1977
  • Francois Marneau, March or Die, Columbia, 1977
  • Lisa Carpi/police chief, Gran bollito (also known as Black Journal and La signora degli orrori), Italfrance Films, 1977
  • Himself, A Look at Liv (documentary), Win Kao Productions, 1977
  • Shelley/Webber, Brass Target, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1978
  • Dr. Bascomb, Hurricane (also known as Forbidden Paradise),1979
  • Emperor Ming the Merciless, Flash Gordon, Universal, 1980
  • Gerald Mortenhoe, La mort en direct (also known as Death in Full View, Deathwatch, Death Watch--Der gekaufte Tod, and Der gekaufte Tod), Quartet Films, 1980
  • Marcello Herrighe, Bugie bianche (also known as Footloose,Venetian Lies, and Bugie veneziane), 1980
  • Major Karl von Steiner, Victory (also known as Escape to Victory), Paramount, 1981
  • Colonel O'Donnell, Jugando con la muerte (also known as TargetEagle and El mercenario), Esme International/Golden Sun, 1982
  • King Osric, Conan the Barbarian, Universal, 1982
  • Himself and the voice of Nijinsky, She Dances Alone, 1982
  • Salomon August Andree, Ingenjoer Andrees luftfaerd (also known asThe Flight of the Eagle and Ingenioer Anrees luftferd), SwedishFilm Institute, 1982
  • Brewmeister Smith, Strange Brew (also known as The Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie and The Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie: Strange Brew), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1983
  • Carlo di Vilafratti, Le cercle des passions (also known as Circle of Passions and Circulo de pasiones), Cinema International Corporation, 1983
  • Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Never Say Never Again (also known as Warhead and James Bond 007--Sag niemals nie), Warner Bros., 1983
  • Dr. Kynes, Dune, Universal, 1984
  • Dr. Paul Novotny, Dreamscape, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1984
  • (In archive footage) Father Lankester Merrin, Terror in the Aisles(also known as Time for Terror), 1984
  • Jurgen Brausch, Code Name: Emerald (also known as Deep Cover and Emerald), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1985
  • Himself, George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (documentary), Rosebud Communications Releasing, 1985
  • Spinola, Il pentito, 1985
  • Dr. Louis Feldman, Duet for One, Cannon, 1986
  • Frederick, Hannah and Her Sisters, Orion, 1986
  • August Strindberg, Oviri (also known as The Wolf at the Door and Gauguin, le loup dans le soleil), Manson, 1987
  • Dr. Huber, The Second Victory (also known as Der Zweite Sieg and Die Narbe), Films around the World, 1987
  • Pappa Lassefar "Lasse" Karlsson, Pelle erobreren (also known as Pelle the Conqueror and Pelle eroevraren), Danish Film Institute/Swedish Film Institute/Kaerne, 1987
  • Dr. Peter Ingham, Awakenings, Columbia, 1990
  • Pope Clement VII, Una vita scellerata (also known as Cellini: AViolent Life, A Violent Life, Cellini, l'or et le sang, and Cellini, una vita violenta), 1990
  • Von Schleheim, Mio caro dottor Graesler (also known as The Bachelor and Dr. Graesler), Eidoscope International, 1990
  • Henry Farber, Bis ans Ende der Welt (also known as Until the End of the World and Jusqu'au bout du monde), Warner Bros., 1991
  • Thor Carlsson, A Kiss before Dying, Universal, 1991
  • Henry Kesdi, Dotkniecie reki (also known as The Silent Touch, The Touch, and Beroeringen), Castle Hill Productions, 1992
  • Joseph "Joe" Mueller, Father, Northern Arts Entertainment, 1992
  • Narrator, Europa (also known as Zentropa), Prestige Films,1992
  • The vicar, Oxen (also known as The Ox), First Run Features/Castle Hill Productions, 1992
  • Leland Gaunt, Needful Things, New Line Cinema, 1993
  • Simon S. L. Fromm, Morfars resa (also known as Grandfather's Journey and Grandpa's Journey), Swedish Film Institute, 1993
  • Joseph "Joe" Kaufman, Time Is Money, 1994
  • Chief Justice Fargo, Judge Dredd, Buena Vista, 1995
  • (Uncredited) Jacob Aakerblom, Lumiere et compagnie (documentary; also known as Lumiere and Company and Lumiere y compania), Le Studio Canal/Alta Films, 1995
  • Narrator, Atlanten (also known as The Atlantic), Triangelfilm, 1995
  • Narrator, Dypets ensomhet (also known as Depth Solitude andLoneliness of the Deep), 1995
  • A che punto e la notte, 1995
  • Knut Hamsun, Hamsun, Swedish Film Institute, 1996
  • The vicar, Jerusalem, First Look Pictures Releasing, 1996
  • Truck Stop, 1996
  • Voice of August Andrie, En frusen droem (documentary; also known as Their Frozen Dream), Swedish Film Institute, 1997
  • Voice for Swedish-language version, Hercules (animated; also knownas Hercules: From Zero to Hero), Buena Vista, 1997
  • The tracker, What Dreams May Come, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment,1998
  • Nels Gudmundsson, Snow Falling on Cedars, Universal, 1999
  • Guttuart, Druids (also known as Vercingetorix and Vercingetorix, la legende du druide roi), Columbia/TriStar Home Video, 2001
  • Ulisse Moretti, Non ho sonno (also known as I Can't Sleep and Sleepless), Medusa Distribuzione, 2001
  • Director Lamar Burgess, Minority Report, Twentieth Century-Fox, 2002
  • Samuel, Intacto (also known as Intact), Lions Gate Films, 2002
  • Film Director
  • Ved vejen (also known as Katinka and Vid vaegen), Danish Film Institute, 1987
  • Television Appearances
  • Miniseries
  • Narrator, I havsbandet, 1971
  • Engineer Planertz, Kvartetten som spraengdes, 1973
  • Fridtjof Nansen, "The Last Place on Earth," Masterpiece Theatre, PBS, 1985
  • King John of Portugal, Christopher Columbus (also known as Cristoforo Colombo), CBS, 1985
  • Melchior Sinclaire, Goesta Berlings saga, 1986
  • Johan Aakerblom (Anna's father), Den goda viljan (also known as The Best Intentions, Con le migliori intenzioni, Den gode vilje, Die Besten Absichten, Hyvae tahto, and Les meilleuresintentions), PBS, 1991
  • Baron Franz von Trotta und Cipolje, Radetzkymarsch (also known asRadetzky March and La marche de Radetzky), 1994
  • Jacob, Enskilda samtal (also known as Private Confessions and Private Conversations), SVT, 1996
  • David, Solomon (also known as Die Bibel--Salomon and Salomone), 1997
  • Samuel Rosenman, Nuremberg, TNT, 2000
  • Movies
  • The hunter, Herr Sleeman kommer, Sveriges, 1957
  • Bo Stensson Svenningson, Rabies, Sveriges, 1958
  • The Last Civilian (also known as Le dernier civil), 1983
  • Sidka, Samson and Delilah, ABC, 1984
  • Peter Barak, Kojak: The Belarus File (also known as The BelarusFile), CBS, 1985
  • The apostle Peter, Quo Vadis?, USA Network, 1987
  • Szaz, Red King, White Knight, HBO, 1989
  • Brotherhood of the Rose, NBC, 1989
  • The Wisdom and the Dream, 1989
  • Father Siemes, Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes, NBC, 1990
  • Dr. Aleksandr Bukhanovsky, Citizen X, HBO, 1995
  • (Uncredited) Narrator, Samson and Delilah (also known as Die Bibel: Samson und Delila and Sansone e Dalila), 1996
  • Admiral Chernavin, Hostile Waters (also known as Death of a Yankee, Im Fahrwasser des Todes, and Peril en mer), HBO, 1997
  • Epos, La principessa e il povero (also known as The Princess and the Pauper and Die Falsche Prinzessin), 1997
  • Specials
  • Otto Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank, ABC, 1967
  • "A Search for Strindberg," N.E.T. Playhouse, NET (later PBS), 1972
  • Voice of the devil, "A Soldier's Tale," Great Performances, PBS, 1984
  • Narrator, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, Showtime, 1991
  • Eugene O'Neill, Och ge oss skuggorna, 1993
  • World of Film, PBS and syndicated, 1993
  • Professor Serebrejakov, Onkel Vanja, 1994
  • Himself, The Fear of God: The Making of the Exorcist, 1998
  • Himself, Spotlight on Location: Snow Falling on Cedars, 2000
  • Awards Presentations
  • The American Film Institute Salute to John Huston, CBS, 1983
  • The 15th Annual People's Choice Awards, CBS, 1989
  • The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1989
  • Episodic
  • Dr. Sigmund Freud, "Vienna, November 1908," The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, ABC, 1993
  • "Shadow of Angels," Profiler, NBC, 1997
  • Psychoanalyst, "Fantasma per caso," Professione fantasma, 1998
  • Stage Appearances
  • Victor, Yerma, Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm, Sweden, 1961
  • Achilles, Troilus and Cressida, Royal Dramatic Theatre, 1967
  • August Strindberg, The Night of the Tribades, Helen Hayes Theatre,New York City, 1977
  • Dr. Alfred Feldmann, Duet for One, Royale Theatre, New York City,1981-1982
  • Prospero, The Tempest, London, 1988
  • Master Olaf, Royal Dramatic Theatre, 1988
  • Appeared as the title role, Peer Gynt; and as Brick, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; appeared in Faust, Paris, and Helsinki, Finland. Alsoappeared in productions of After the Fall, Ett dromspel, Henry IV, King John, The Legend, The Misanthrope, La valse des toreadors, Les sequestres d'Altona, and The Wild Duck.
  • Radio Appearances
  • "The Hands," Swedish Radio Theatre, 1961
  • The stranger, "Braenda Tomten," Swedish Radio Theatre, 1962
  • Videos
  • (In archive footage) Himself, He Walks in Beauty: The George Stevens Production "The Greatest Story Ever Told," Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists Home Entertainment, 2001
  • Screenplays
  • Ved vejen (also known as Katinka and Vid vaegen; based on the novel Along the Road, by Herman Bang), Danish Film Institute, 1987

Further Reference


    • International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, St. James Press, 1996
    • Booklist, November 15, 1996, p. 602
    • New Republic, May 19, 1997, pp. 26-27

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