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Max von Sydow, who played priest in ‘The Exorcist’ dies at 90

Bettman/GettyImages

Zelda Caldwell - published on 03/09/20

The great Swedish actor, once said that he regained his faith after receiving a message from beyond the grave from the director Ingmar Bergman.

The Swedish stage and film actor Max von Sydow, featured in “The Exorcist,” “the Seventh Seal,” “Flash Gordon,” and as Christ in “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” among almost 100 films and television shows, has died at the age of 90.

Von Sydow, began his film acting career in 1949, and is best remembered for what are considered his greatest roles, in the films he made under the director Ingmar Bergman, including “The Seventh Seal (1957).” His long career spanned the decades since, including appearances in “Game of Thrones,” and his last completed film, “The Command (2018).”

In an interview with television talk show host Charlie Rose in 2012, von Sydow described an incident that turned him from a non-believer to a believer. Sydow, who attended Catholic school as a child, but later lost his faith, told Rose that he often discussed religion with Bergman, who was a practicing Christian.

In the course of their discussions, he told Rose, Bergman promised that after his death he would “show” the actor that there is life after death.

“I was a great doubter at the time, and we discussed, of course, religious matters between takes, and I remember at one time I said, ‘Well, this eternal life, I don’t believe in this. We just die and that’s it,’” said von Sydow.

“And he [Bergman] said, ‘No, no, no, no I promise you, you’re wrong there,’” von Sydow told Rose.

“You mean you’ll go somewhere when you’re gone?” he asked Bergman.

Bergman promised,“Well, I’ll show, you, when I’m gone, I will show you.”

At that point, Rose, summing up the conversation, said, “So, he will come back.”

Von Sydow, much to Rose’s apparent surprise confirmed that Bergman, did in fact make himself known after his death.

“Well, I’ve heard from Bergman many times,” he said.

“You have? You’ve heard from him in spirit?” asked Rose.

“Yes, many times.”

“Tell me about it.”

“I can’t. It’s very complex. We understood each other,” said Von Sydow.

“You indicated that you had doubt when you were young. How did the doubt go away?” Rose pushed.

“Because of that and because of many other things. Life changes all the time, you lose things and you get things,” said von Sydow before the interview turned to other subjects.

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