Max von Sydow was born Carl Adolf von Sydow on April 10, 1929 in Lund, Skåne, Sweden, to a middle-class family. He is the son of Baroness Maria Margareta (Rappe), a teacher, and Carl Wilhelm von Sydow, an ethnologist and folklore professor. His surname traces back to his father's partial German ancestry.
When he was in high school, he and a few fellow students, including Yvonne Lombard, started a theatre club which encouraged his interest in acting. After conscription, he began to study at the Royal Dramatic Theatre's acting school (1948-1951), together with Lars Ekborg, Margaretha Krook and Ingrid Thulin.
His first role was as Nils the crofter in Alf Sjöberg's "Only a Mother". After graduation, he worked at the city theatres in Norrköping and Malmö.
His work in the movies by Ingmar Bergman (especially "The Seventh Seal", that includes the iconic scenes in which he plays chess with Death) made him well-known internationally, and he started to get offers from abroad. His career abroad began with him playing Jesus in "The Greatest Story Ever Told"; "Hawaii" and "The Quiller Memorandum". Since then, his career includes very different kind of characters, like Karl Oskar Nilsson in "The Emigrants"; Father Lankester Merrin in "The Exorcist"; Joubert the assassin in "Three Days of the Condor", Emperor Ming in "Flash Gordon"; the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the "Never Say Never Again"; Liet-Kynes in "Dune" the artist Frederick in "Hannah and Her Sisters"; Lassefar in "Pelle the Conqueror", for which he received his first Academy Award nomination; Dr. Peter Ingham in "Awakenings"; Lamar Burgess in "Minority Report" and The Renter in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close", which earned him his second Academy Award nomination.
In 1987, he made his directing debut with "Katinka".
He has become one of Sweden's most admired and professional actors and is the only male Swedish actor to get an Oscar nomination. Max has been nominated twice: for "Pelle the Conqueror" in 1988 and for "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" in 2012.
In 2016, he will join the Season 6 of HBO series' "Game of Thrones" as the Three-eyed Raven.
Name: Max von Sydow
Known for: Shutter Island
BirthDay: 10, Apr ,1929