Swedish actor who has had a long and varied career. His many collaborations with the director Ingmar Bergman began with Det sjunde inseglet/The Seventh Seal (1957) and include Nattvardsgästerna/Winter Light (1963) and Skammen/Shame (1968). He has also appeared in English-language films, including the classic horror film The Exorcist (1973), Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Steven Spielberg's Minority Report, and Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011); his supporting role in the latter was nominated for an Oscar.
In The Seventh Seal his character, a medieval knight, plays chess with Death for the lives of a family during a plague epidemic. Among his other films for Bergman are Smultronstället/Wild Strawberries (1957) and Såsom i en spegel/Through a Glass Darkly (1961).
With his dignified, earnest, and imposing presence, von Sydow made his Hollywood debut playing Jesus in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). His other roles include the villains Emperor Ming and Blofeld in Flash Gordon (1980) and Never Say Never Again (1983) respectively; a father trying to make a new life in Pelle Erobreren/Pelle the Conqueror (1988; Academy Award nomination); and the Three-Eyed Raven in the highly successful television series Game of Thrones (2016).
Von Sydow was born in Lund, Skåne, and trained at the Royal Dramatic Theatre School in Stockholm. He made his film debut in 1949, but was mostly on stage until the late 1950s, becoming one of Sweden's finest classical actors. He became a French citizen in 2003.