Max von Sydow ( /vɒn ˈsiːdoʊ/; Swedish: ; born 10 April 1929) is a Swedish actor. He has also held French citizenship since 2002. He has starred in many movies and had supporting roles in dozens more. He has performed in movies filmed in many languages, including Swedish, Norwegian, English, Italian, German, Danish, French and Spanish.
Some of his most memorable film roles include knight Antonius Block in Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal (the first of his eleven films with Bergman and the film that includes the iconic shot of his career in the scene where he plays chess with Death), Jesus in George Stevens's The Greatest Story Ever Told, Father Merrin in Friedkin's The Exorcist, Joubert the assassin in Three Days of the Condor, and Ming the Merciless in the 1980 version of Flash Gordon.
Von Sydow was born Carl Adolf von Sydow to a wealthy family in Lund, Skåne, Sweden. His father, Carl Wilhelm von Sydow, was an ethnologist and professor of Irish, Scandinavian and comparative folklore at the University of Lund. His mother, Baroness Greta (née Rappe), was a school teacher. Von Sydow was brought up as a Lutheran and later became an agnostic.