1. Carl Adolf “Max” von Sydow is a Swedish-born French actor. He has starred in many films and had supporting roles in dozens more in many languages, including Swedish, Norwegian, English, Italian, German, Danish, French and Spanish.
2. Max von Sydow was born Carl Adolf von Sydow in Lund, to a wealthy family.
3. He attended Lund Cathedral School, where he learned German and English starting at the age of nine.
4. At school he and some friends founded an amateur theatrical company.
5. He completed his national service before studying at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, where he trained between 1948 and 1951 with the likes of Lars Ekborg, Margaretha Krook and Ingrid Thulin.
6. In 1955, he moved to Malmö, where he met his mentor, Ingmar Bergman.
7. His first work with Bergman occurred on stage at the Malmö Municipal Theatre.
8. Von Sydow later would work with Bergman on films such as The Seventh Seal .
9. In The Seventh Seal, von Sydow is the knight who plays a chess game with Death.
10. The chess scenes and the film were international breakthroughs for actor and director alike.
11. It was in these films where von Sydow honed and perfected his craft.
12. Von Sydow came to dominate the screen as he did the stage, becoming an idol of the international arthouse film scene.
13. Critical recognition came as early as 1954 when he was awarded the Royal Foundation Culture Award.
14. He worked profusely on both stage and screen while in Scandinavia, resisting the increasing calls from the United States to go to Hollywood.
15. As his talents were soon in demand in other American productions, von Sydow and his family relocated for some time to Los Angeles.
16. From 1965, he became a regular on the American screen while maintaining a presence in his native Sweden.