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Melina Mercouri

Melina Mercouri
Melina Mercouri

 

Melina Mercouri obituary from “The Independent” in 1994.

Maria Amalia Mercouris (Melina Mercouri), actress and politician: born Athens 18 October 1920; Member of Parliament (Pasok) for Piraeus 1977- 94; Minister of Culture and Sciences 1981-89, 1993-94; married 1942 Panayiotis Harokopos, 1966 Jules Dassin; died New York City 6 March 1994.

IN 1983 Melina Mercouri delivered the Herbert Read Memorial Lecture at the ICA, writes Peter Thompson. As she was already Greece’s Minister of Culture, and on a private visit, she did her best to steer clear of controversy. But nobody would have missed her meaning when she closed by apologising for her accent and added: ‘I hear it and am reminded of what Dylan Thomas said of a British broadcaster: ‘He speaks as if he had the Elgin Marbles in his mouth.’ ‘

The then director of the British Museum, Sir David Wilson, was in the audience that night. At the reception afterwards he found himself sharing a sofa with Mercouri and manfully keeping up his end of a vigorous – and anything but uncontroversial – conversation. His gallantry, however, became ever more tight-lipped as Mercouri’s campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles (she contemptuously rejected the term ‘Elgin Marbles’) gathered pace, even though she insisted her quarrel was with the British government, not the British Museum.

Melina Mercouri grew up in a household drenched with politics. Her grandfather was elected Mayor of Athens a record four times, and her father was a left-wing MP in the difficult period after the Greek civil war. Her happy marriage to the film director Jules Dassin was infused with his own radical and unwavering intellectual commitment.

By chance Mercouri was playing in a musical on Broadway when that infamous band of colonels staged their coup d’etat against Greek democracy in April 1967. From the start she was in the front line of the expatriate struggle for their overthrow, and joined the handful of those deprived of their citizenship by Brigadier Pattakos, the junta’s Interior Minister. ‘I was born a Greek, and I will die a Greek. Pattakos was born a Fascist and will die a Fascist,’ was her riposte.

Her home in Paris became an open house for Greek political exiles, whatever their party affiliations, but the first anniversary of the coup she spent in London, addressing a rally of some 20,000 people in Trafalgar Square which will not be forgotten by anyone who was there.

So when in 1974 the colonels finally departed in ignominy, Mercouri was well set for a political career. She joined forces with Andreas Papandreou’s Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok), and three years later was elected MP in the working-class port city of Piraeus. She wore her wealth with ease, was proud that her male constituents accepted her as an equal, and campaigned spectacularly both for practical neighbourhood improvement and for the advancement of women’s rights in a still largely macho society.

When Pasok won the 1981 elections, Mercouri was appointed Minister of Culture, a post she uniquely retained throughout the eight years of socialist rule. What had been a marginal ministry leapt on to the front pages. Among her successes were the impetus given to cultural activity in the provinces, while she most regretted her inability to win a greater share of state budget for the arts. Above all, though, her ministry became an exciting place, buzzing with ideas and enthusiasm, and drawing on talent and energy rather than political loyalty.

Mercouri brought the same dynamism and eagerness to international cultural co-operation, particularly within the EC, where she was much helped by her friendship with Francois Mitterrand and Jack Lang. During the Greek presidency in 1983 she initiated regular meetings of the community’s Culture ministers, and can also take credit for the institution of Cultural Capitals of Europe. Athens was the first such Cultural Capital in 1985.

But it was with the Parthenon Marbles campaign that her name became synonymous. And what a campaign it was. With Mercouri’s glamour and sense of drama to spearhead it, and an erudite and energetic British lobby to disseminate it, the cause penetrated people’s awareness so deeply that it even provided a theme for political cartoons dealing with the 1983 general election in Britain. After any number of leading articles, television documentaries, opinion polls, diplomatic demarches, and an Oxford Union debate, as well as a new book on the subject, it was still making news 10 years later.

Mercouri summed up the argument for the return of the Marbles in her closing words to the Oxford Union: ‘We say: ‘You have kept those sculptures for almost two centuries. You have cared for them as well as you could, for which we thank you. But now in the name of fairness and morality please give them back.’ I believe such a gesture from Great Britain would ever honour your name.’

Mercouri remained loyal to Pasok through all its tribulations after the party lost the 1989 election. She had tribulations of her own, fighting a battle against cancer, but was re-elected to Parliament in 1989, and came close to being elected Mayor of Athens the following year. When Papandreou returned to power last October he re- appointed her Minister of Culture. At one of her last election rallies she told the Athenians: ‘You can be sure the Parthenon Marbles will come back to their home.’ She would have liked nothing better than to live to see it happen.

Film career as per Wikipedia:

Her first movie was the Greek language film Stella (1955), directed by Zorba the Greek director Michael Cacoyannis. The film received special praise at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival, where she met American film director Jules Dassin, with whom she would share not only her career but also her life. Their first professional pairing was 1957’s He Who Must Die. Other films by Dassin and featuring Mercouri followed, such as The Law (1959). She became well-known to international audiences when she starred in Never on Sunday (1960), in which Dassin was the director and co-star, and for which she earned the Best Actress Award at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress and theBAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.[2]

After her first major international success, she went on to star in Phaedra (1962), for which she was nominated again for the BAFTA Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Motion Picture Drama. The recognition of her acting talent did not stop though, as her role in Topkapi (1964) granted her one more nomination, this time for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. She worked with such directors as Joseph Losey, Vittorio De Sica, Ronald Neame, Carl Foreman, Norman Jewison, and starred in films like Spanish language The Uninhibited by Juan Antonio Bardem.

She continued her stage career in the Greek production of Tennessee Williams‘s Sweet Bird of Youth (1960), under the direction of Karolos Koun. In 1967, she played the leading role inIllya Darling (from 11 April 1967 to 13 January 1968) on Broadway,[3] for which she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, while her performance in Promise at Dawn (1970) earned her another Golden Globe Award nomination.

On 8 October 1962,[4] Mercouri appeared on the American TV show What’s My Line. After the panel were blindfolded, a strange man appeared on-stage and proclaimed himself “the second mystery guest”. Host John Charles Daly quickly called for “the relieving crew” and said “schedule two” (a code word used on live broadcasts in case of an emergency: the cameras are turned to a neutral position and the sound is cut off). The man talked a bit about a dating service he apparently owned before being hustled off the stage by announcer Johnny Olson and executive producer Gil Fates. Daly apologized to the panel and the program continued.[5]

Mercouri concentrated on her stage career for the following years, playing in the Greek productions of The Threepenny Opera and, for a second time, Sweet Bird of Youth, in addition to the ancient Greek tragedies Medea andOresteia. She retired from film acting in 1978, when she played in her last film, A Dream of Passion, directed by her husband, Jules Dassin. Her last performance on stage was in the opera Pylades at the Athens Concert Hall in 1992, portraying Clytemnestra.

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Karola Ebeling

Karola Ebeling

 

Karola Ebeling was born on May 23, 1935 in Berlin, Germany. She is an actress, known for Kreuze am Horizont (1960), Der jähzornige junge Mann (1963) and Oppermann Family (1983).

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Cordula Trantow

Cordula Trantow
Cordula Trantow
Cordula Trantow
Cordula Trantow

 

Cordula Trantow (b. 29 December 1942 in Berlin, Germany) is a German actress and director. For her performance as Geli Raubal in the 1962 film, Hitler, she was nominated for a 1962Golden Globe in the category Most Promising Newcomer – Female. Today, she works mostly as a stage actress and director.

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Eve Green

Eve Greene
Eve Greene

IMDB Entry:

Eva Gaëlle Green was born on July 6, 1980, in Paris, France. She has a sororal twin sister. Her father, Walter Green, is a dentist who appeared in the 1966 film Au Hasard Balthazar (1966). Her mother, Marlène Jobert, is an actress turned children’s book writer. Eva’s mother was born in Algeria, of Sephardi Jewish heritage (during that time, Algeria was part of France), and Eva’s father is of Swedish and French descent. Eva left French school at 17. She switched to English in Ramsgate, Kent, and went to the American School in France for one year. She studied acting at Saint Paul Drama School in Paris for three years, then had a 10-week polishing course at the Weber Douglas Academy of dramatic Art in London. She also studied directing at the Tisch School of Arts at New York University. She returned to Paris as an accomplished young actress, and played on stage in several theater productions: “La Jalousie en Trois Fax” and “Turcaret”. There, she caught the eye of director Bernardo Bertolucci. Green followed a recommendation to work on her English. She studied for two months with an English coach before doing The Dreamers (2003) with Bernardo Bertolucci. During their work, Bertolucci described Green as being “so beautiful it’s indecent”. Green won critical acclaim for her role in The Dreamers (2003). She also attracted a great deal of attention from male audiences for her full frontal nudity in several scenes of the film. Besides her work as an actress, Green also composed original music and recorded several sound tracks for the film score. After “The Dreamers”, Green’s career ascended to the level where she revealed more of her multifaceted acting talent. She played the love interest of cult French gentleman stealer, Adventures of Arsene Lupin (2004), opposite Romain Duris. In 2005, she co-starred, opposite Orlando Bloom and Liam Neeson, in Kingdom of Heaven (2005), produced and directed by Ridley Scott. The film brought her a wider international exposure. She turned down the femme fatale role inThe Black Dahlia (2006), that went to Hilary Swank, because she didn’t want to end up always typecast as a femme fatale after her role in “The Dreamers”. Instead, Eva Green accepted the prestigious role of “Vesper Lynd”, one of three Bond girls, oppositeDaniel Craig, in Casino Royale (2006) and became the 5th French actress to play a James Bond girl, after Claudine Auger in Thunderball (1965), Corinne Cléry inMoonraker (1979), Carole Bouquet in For Your Eyes Only (1981) and Sophie Marceau inThe World Is Not Enough (1999). Since her school years, Green has been a cosmopolitan multilingual and multicultural person. Yet, since her father always lived in France with them and her mother, she and her twin sister can’t speak Swedish. She developed a wide scope of interests beyond her acting profession and became an aspiring art connoisseur and an avid museum visitor. Her other activities, outside of acting, include playing and composing music, cooking at home, walking her terrier, and collecting art. She shares time between her two residencies, one is in Paris, France, and one in London, England.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

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Jacques Perrin

Jacques Perrin
Jacques Perrin

 

IMDB Entry:

He started out as romantic hero full of beauty and talent in Girl with a Suitcase (1961) beside Claudia Cardinale. Director Valerio Zurlini engaged the talented young actor for his Family Portrait (1962) as Marcello Mastroianni‘s brother. Jacques Perrin’s longtime work with Director ‘Constantin Costa-Gavras’ started with Compartiment tueurs (1965) and Un uomo a metà (1966) in which he had played the sensible heroes. For Costa-Gavras’ Z (1969) he played a main part and was the producer. Jacques Perrin has played often in famous romantic movies by Jacques Demy beside Catherine Deneuveand in social-critic-movies like Home Sweet Home (1973) beside Claude Jade, for which he was co-producer too with his Reggane Productions. One of his memorable later roles is the adult Salvatore as movie-director in Cinema Paradiso (1988). In Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001) he plays the older Thomas.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Porri

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Giuletta Masina

Giuletta Masina
Giuletta Masina

 

“Independent” obituary by David Shipman from 1994:

Giulia Anna Masina, actress: born Giorgio di Piano, Italy 22 February 1920; married 1943 Federico Fellini (died 1993); died Rome 23 March 1994.

THE ADJECTIVE which has been over-used to describe Giulietta Masina is ‘Chaplinesque’, as she laughed through the tears which cascaded down her clown’s face. There had been no female star before quite like her, and she had the world at her feet when she appeared in La Strada (1955), prepared for her and directed by her husband, Federico Fellini.

There was a decided difference of opinion about the movie: it was either a calculated assault on our tear-ducts or it was a poetic essay on the lot of strolling players in rural Italy. There were moments when you caught your breath, when Fellini captured the beauty and tranquillity of small Italian towns at night, and there were moments when he reached too far back to the traditions of commedia dell’arte.

He sculpted another monument to the comic-tragic abilities of his wife in Le Notti di Cabiria (1957). These abilities were genuine. As the critic Paul Dehn wrote, after noting that she ‘deserves a single name as surely as Garbo or Chaplin’, ‘She is a miniature version of the hope which still persists in a bloody world: and the world itself would be lost if it did not love her.’

There seldom was a more optimistic hooker than the one played by Masina in Cabiria (as the film was best-known abroad), though the adjective in this case might be obtuse, for the viewer knows – if she doesn’t – that the nice, respectable man (Francois Perier) to whom she has loaned her nest-egg will abscond with it. The enormous success of both films typecast her. She played the role again in Eduardo de Filippo’s Fortunella (1958) and for Julien Duvivier in La Grande Vie (1959).

Masina lacked the demonic power of her contemporary (and co-star, in Nella Citta l’Inferno, 1958) Anna Magnani. On both sides of her brief reign of acclaim she was fated to play the role of the heroine’s friend or confidante – in for instance Alberto Lattuada’s brilliant study of conditions in post-war Italy, Senza Pieta (1948), helping her fellow whore Carla Del Poggio, and Roberto Rossellini’s Europa ’51 (1952), comforting her fellow socialite Ingrid Bergman. There was no chance here for the pyrotechnic displays of her later star vehicles, but she showed herself an artist of resource, integrity and dignity. Between La Strada and Cabiria Fellini gave her another chance to underplay, in one of his best and least pretentious films, Il Bidone (1955), an engaging comic melodrama about the retribution dealt out to con-men, including Broderick Crawford and Richard Basehart. Masina’s role, as Basehart’s wife, was not of long duration, but you could agree with the hyperbole evoked by the critic of Time and Tide – ‘She is one of those performers you can’t bear to tear your eyes from’ – though he was in this case reviewing Cabiria.

Cabiria brought Masina a Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival, but the failure of a handful of co-productions with France and Germany spoiled her chances of an international career. She was one of the victims of the mass-murderer Landru (1963) in Claude Chabrol’s comedy-thriller, but with much less footage than some of the others, who included Michele Morgan and Danielle Darrieux. She was on screen for about the same time in her only English-language film, the disastrous The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969), but as one of Katharine Hepburn’s coven she was one of the few names of the starry cast (Danny Kaye, Charles Boyer, Richard Chamberlain) to emerge with credit.

When Fellini really attracted world attention with La Dolce Vita in 1960 Masina was busy enough being his wife and chatelaine – roles she played for him on screen in Giulietta degli Spiriti (1965), a follow-up to his autobiographical 8 1/2 , even more fantastical and self-indulgent. Her few later films only contain one role of consequence, when she starred opposite Fellini’s frequent alter ego Marcello Mastroianni in Ginger e Fred (1985), yet another of his obsessive studies of the hollow dreams and aspirations of those besotted with show business.

That was where they came in. His first film with her and his first as director was Luci del Varieta (1950), a tale of a tatty touring company which played to mixed results in the country’s shabbier halls. It was one suffused with melancholy, made with a wit and compassion many feel were missing from his later films. And Masina was touching and discreet. It was a far cry from the junketings of Giulietta degli Spiriti (1965).

The “Independent” obituary can also be accessed online here.

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Paul Henreid

Paul Henreid
Paul Henreid

“New York Times” obituary from 1992:

Paul Henreid, the suave leading man who won screen immortality as the noble, Nazi-battling Resistance leader Victor Lazlo in the 1942 film classic “Casablanca,” died on Sunday at Santa Monica Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 84 years old and lived in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

He died of pneumonia after a stroke, said Henry Alter, Mr. Henreid’s former secretary. The family did not want to announce the death until Mr. Henreid was buried yesterday in Santa Monica, Mr. Alter said yesterday.

The actor died only days before the first major theatrical re-release of “Casablanca” in more than 35 years, scheduled for April 10 as part of the film’s 50th-anniversary celebrations. Despite that movie’s classic status, however, Mr. Henreid may be best remembered for a scene in “Now Voyager” (1942) in which he lit two cigarettes at once as he comforted Bette Davis. Mr. Henreid later said that the director, Irving Rapper, didn’t like that bit of business and went along with it only reluctantly.

Mr. Henreid once estimated that he had acted in or directed more than 300 films and television dramas. In his heyday as a leading man, the 6-foot-3 actor seemed to represent the prototype of the Continental lover to American film audiences: aristocratic, elegant and gallant. A Charmed Childhood

Mr. Henreid was born on Jan. 10, 1908, in Trieste, then a part of Austria. His full name was Paul George Julius von Hernreid. He was the son of Baron Carl Alphons, a prominent Viennese banker, and Maria-Luise von Hernreid.

In his 1984 autobiography, “Ladies Man,” written with Julius Fast, he described what he called a charmed childhood among the aristocrats of pre-World War I Vienna. But by 1927, when Mr. Henreid graduated from the exclusive Maria Theresianische Academie, little of the family fortune remained.

He wanted to be an actor but, bowing to his family’s wishes, worked with a publishing house in Vienna for four years while studying acting at night. During an acting-school performance, he was discovered by Otto Preminger, then Max Reinhardt’s managing director, and became a leading player in Reinhardt’s theater. Like the fictional Victor Lazlo, Mr. Henreid was a staunch anti-Nazi during his years in Europe. A Series of German Roles

In 1937 he won wider recognition by playing Prince Albert in “Victoria Regina” on the London stage. Despite his personal sentiments, he was fated for a time to play a series of German roles. In one of his first films, “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (1939), he played a young German teacher; he was a Nazi officer in “Madman of Europe” (1940) and a Gestapo agent in Carol Reed’s “Night Train” (1940).

Mr. Henreid’s first big American success was in another such role, that of the bombastic German consul in the Guild Theater production of “Flight to the West.” The play opened in New York on Dec. 30, 1940, and helped get him his first Hollywood contract, with RKO Radio Pictures in 1941. Later that year, Mr. Henreid became a United States citizen, but he resisted the studio’s attempt to change his name to Herndon or Henrie.

He broke free of the Germanic stereotype in his first Hollywood film, “Joan of Paris” (1942), in which he played a heroic Free French R.A.F. pilot, and went on to glory as the underground leader in “Casablanca.” He then played an Irish patriot in “Devotion” (1943) and a Polish count in “In Our Time” (1944). A Survivor of the Blacklist

In his autobiography, Mr. Henreid said his Hollywood film career was all but destroyed by the anti-Communist blacklist. Mr. Henreid was one of a group of Hollywood stars who went to Washington to protest the excesses of the House Committee on Un-American Activities.In the 1950’s, Mr. Henreid found a second career as a director and producer. He directed more than 80 episodes of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” for television; Hitchcock hired him in 1955 despite the blacklist.

Mr. Henreid also acted in numerous television films and toured nationally in the play “Don Juan in Hell” in 1972 and 1973.He is survived by his wife, Lisl, and two daughters, Mimi Duncan and Monica Henreid.

The above “New York Times” obituary can also be accessed online here.

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Jacques Charrier

Jacques Charrier
Jacques Charrier

 

Jacques Charrier (born 6 November 1936 in Metz) is a French actor. He was married to Brigitte Bardot from 1959 to 1962.

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Carlo Justini

Carlo Justini
Carlo Justini

Image result for carlo justini

Carlo Giustini was born on May 4, 1923 in Viterbo, Lazio, Italy. He is an actor, known forEl Cid (1961), The Savage Innocents (1960) and Barabbas (1961).

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Max Von Sydow

Max Von Sydow
Max Von Sydow

 

TCM Ovewrview:

After his training at Stockholm’s Royal Dramatic Theatre School, actor Max von Sydow became recognized as his native Sweden’s foremost film star, thanks to his long-running collaboration with acclaimed director Ingmar Bergman. Both von Sydow and Bergman triumphantly emerged onto the international film scene with “The Seventh Seal” (1957), an existential meditation on death that was long after considered to be one of the greatest foreign films ever made. The actor and director continued their collaboration for the next several years, churning out complicated and often surreal films like “The Magician” (1958) and “The Virgin Spring” (1960) that earned international accolades and awards. When von Sydow crossed the Atlantic to appear in Hollywood films, however, he was initially consigned to playing stern, unsympathetic characters. He finally had a breakthrough playing the titular role in “The Exorcist” (1973), playing the immortal Father Merrin in a film that forever cemented von Sydow into cinema history. Ever since then, he was able to branch out and explore a variety of compelling roles, which culminated in an Academy Award nomination for his performance in “Pelle the Conqueror” (1988), which only confirmed the notion of von Sydow being Sweden’s modern-day Laurence Olivier.

Born on April 10, 1929 in Lund, Sweden, von Sydow was raised by his father, Carl, a professor of Scandinavian and Irish folklore at the Royal University, and his mother, Greta, a school teacher. With no theatre in the area, von Sydow absorbed novels in his youth. But when he was 14, a modern theatre was built in nearby Malmo. The young lad was immediately taken by its magic, leading to him and his friends forming their own company where they performed all the classics. Though his parents wanted him to study law, von Sydow went ahead with acting when he attended the Royal Dramatic Theatre – or as it was known in Sweden, Dramaten – where he studied the craft from 1948-1951. After graduating, he began honing his skills in repertory theatre all around Sweden in a variety of roles. Along the way, he made the acquaintance of someone who would later propel him to stardom, director Ingmar Bergman, who was the chief director of the municipal theater in Malmo. Bergman directed von Sydow in numerous productions, including “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Faust.”

While von Sydow had already been in several features, including “Fröken Julie” (1950) and “Ingen Mans Kvinna” (1953), he attracted international attention in Bergman’s existential drama “The Seventh Seal” (1957), playing a 14th century knight who challenges Death (Bengt Ekerot) to a game of chess in exchange for his life, which leads to an examination of whether or not God exists. The cornerstone of Bergman’s repertory group of performers, von Sydow went on to make numerous films with the director. He had a small role in “Wild Strawberries” (1957), which he followed by playing the title character in “The Magician” (1958). Von Sydow was the mysterious Mr. Volger, a traveling magician whose supernatural performance attract the unwanted attentions of a town’s local authorities, leading to a surreal encounter that confronts the enigma of life and death itself. He continued working exclusively with Bergman, appearing in “Brink of Life” (1958) and starring in “The Virgin Spring” (1960), a drama in which he played a distraught father who avenges the murder of his daughter (Birgitta Pettersson) at the hands of three goatherds.

Following two more films with Bergman – “Through a Glass Darkly” (1961) and “Winter Light” (1963) – von Sydow made his debut in the United States playing Jesus in George Stevens’ “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965). Though it fared poorly at the box office, the film opened the door for von Sydow to perform in more American films. Seizing upon his long, somber face and imposing physicality, Hollywood initially typecast him in stern and unsympathetic roles, casting him as a knuckle-cracking Nazi in “The Quiller Memorandum” (1966), a stiff-necked minister in “Hawaii” (1966) and a Russian strongman in “The Kremlin Letter” (1970) – none of which set the box office aflame. Returning to working in his native Sweden, he forged another lasting association when he teamed up with director Jan Troell in “Here Is Your Life” (1966) and made his American television debut as Otto Frank in an adaptation of “The Diary of Anne Frank” (1967). He next rejoined his collaboration with Bergman for another memorable series of films, including “Hour of the Wolf” (1968), the director’s only gothic horror film in which von Sydow played a painter who is haunted by demons while spending a summer in seclusion with his pregnant wife (Liv Ullmann).

The trio of von Sydow, Ullmann and Bergman reunited for “Shame” (1968), a compelling drama about two musicians who escape to an island from their unnamed country which is embroiled in civil war, only to run into trouble when a plane of soldiers crashes on the island, leading to betrayal and misery. After “Made in Sweden” (1969), von Sydow joined forces with Ullmann and Bergman once again for “The Passion of Anna” (1970), playing a reclusive ex-convict who has a stormy affair with a woman grieving over the deaths of her husband and son. In “The Touch” (1971), he was a seemingly happy husband whose wife (Bibi Andersson) has a clandestine affair with a mysterious intruder (Elliott Gould), while next starring again opposite Ullmann in Jan Troell’s “The Emigrants” (1971), a historical drama that depicted a Swedish family emigrating to Minnesota in the 19th century in search of more fertile soil. The film’s sequel, “The New Land” (1972), picked up where its predecessor left off and focused on the family losing all they had gained in the New World.

Von Sydow finally earned his due in America when he used his imposing presence to his advantage in William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist” (1973), playing the immortal Father Merrin, who is brought in by another priest (Jason Miller) to exorcise the Devil from a little girl (Linda Blair). Von Sydow delivered an iconic performance that transcended generations and lived on in cinematic history, thanks to his famous line “The power of Christ compels you” as he tried to drive the devil out of the child. With his newfound recognition, von Sydow began landing Hollywood roles with greater frequency, while remaining wedded to the films of his native land. He played Alsatian hit-man Joubert in Sydney Pollack’s “Three Days of the Condor” (1975), appeared in the preposterous sequel “Exorcist II: The Heretic” (1977), even though his character was killed in the first installment, and playfully chewed the scenery as Ming the Merciless in “Flash Gordon” (1980), even though the film itself was long remembered for being campy to a fault. In “Victory” (1981), he was the commander of a German prisoner of war camp who puts together a team of Allied soldiers (Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine and Pelé) to play an exhibition game against the Nazis without realizing the prisoners are planning their escape.

Finding more work within the American studio system, von Sydow had numerous co-starring roles, including as King Osrik in “Conan the Barbarian” (1982) and as the arch-villain Blofeld in Sean Connery’s return to the James Bond franchise, “Never Say Never Again” (1983). That same year, he played an evil owner of Elsinore Brewery who plots to take over the world by controlling beer drinkers with a secret additive, only to run into problems courtesy of hosers Bob and Doug McKenzie (Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas). After giving some heft to the otherwise flimsy psychological thriller “Dreamscape” (1984), von Sydow made a few appearances on the small screen, playing the Philistine governor in “Samson and Delilah” (ABC, 1984) and King John of Portugal in the two-part miniseries “Christopher Columbus” (CBS, 1985). Following a turn as the Apostle Peter in the Italian-made “Quo Vadis” (1985), he delivered a stellar supporting turn as Barbara Hershey’s artist-lover in Woody Allen’s “Hannah and Her Sisters” (1986).

In a personal and creative triumph, von Sydow delivered one of his finest onscreen roles, playing a humble old Swedish widower struggling for survival alongside his son as immigrants to Denmark in Bille August’s “Pelle the Conqueror” (1988), the Oscar-winning Best Foreign Film that earned him the first Academy Award nomination of his long career. Stepping behind the camera for the first time, von Sydow made an unspectacular directing debut with “Katinka” (1988), adapted from Herman Bang’s novel Along the Road”. In a return to his beginnings on the stage, he delivered a performance as Prospero in a London production of “The Tempest” (1988). Back on the small screen, he appeared in several made-for-television movies, including “Red King, White Knight” (HBO, 1989) and “Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes” (NBC, 1990), in which he played Father Siemes, who helps survivors after the 1945 nuclear bombing. In the turkey, “A Kiss Before Dying” (1991), he played a wealthy businessman whose daughter becomes the victim of murder at the hands of an ingratiating schemer (Matt Dillon).

Following a trip to the sci-fi realms of Wim Wenders’ cyberpunk noir “Until the End of the World” (1991), von Sydow renewed his association with Bergman, playing the heroine’s father in August’s “The Best Intentions” (1992), which he preceded by playing a priest who urges a farmer who kills his estate owner’s ox to feed his family for the winter in “The Ox” (1992), directed by Bergman’s long-time cinematographer Sven Nykvist. He next played a devilish antiques store owner in a big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s “Needful Things” (1993), after which he played Judge Fargo in the blockbuster Sylvester Stallone vehicle “Judge Dredd” (1995). On the small screen once again, he appeared in the based-on real-life serial killer drama “Citizen X” (HBO, 1995), followed by a turn as an aging priest and mentor to a woman (Pernilla August) who admits infidelity to her husband (Samuel Fröler) in “Private Confessions” (1996), written by Ingmar Bergman and directed by actress Liv Ullmann. He next played Norwegian hero and Nobel Prize-winning novelist Knut Hamsun who sided with the Nazis in “Hamsun” (1996).

After a supporting role in the Rutger Hauer thriller “Hostile Waters” (HBO, 1997), he was a wise guide who leads a distraught man (Robin Williams) across the River Styx after his death in the Technicolor fantasy “What Dreams May Come” (1998). He followed this role by playing the defense attorney for a Japanese-American man (Rick Yune) on trial for the murder of his close friend (Eric Thal) in “Snow Falling on Cedars,” which he followed by a portrayal of the biblical King David in the two-part miniseries “Solomon” (PAX TV, 2000). Maintaining a steady presence on the screen, von Sydow was a wizened old druid in the aptly named historical epic “Druids” (2001), a casino owner who loses everything in “Intacto” (2002) and the corrupt director of the futuristic pre-crime unit in Steven Spielberg’s compelling actioner, “Minority Report” (2002). Going back in time a couple thousand years, he co-starred as a pagan king in the German-made sword-and-sorcery epic “Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King” (2004).

Following the low-key “Autumn Hearts: A New Beginning” (2007), von Sydow was a French ambassador who becomes the victim of a car bombing in the action comedy sequel “Rush Hour 3” (2007). Von Sydow next played the father of a 16th century Puritan (James Purefoy) who travels the world vanquishing evil in “Solomon Kane” (2009), while joining the cast of “The Tudors” (Showtime, 2007-2010) for the third season, playing the fierce and moral Cardinal von Waldburg, who becomes a potent critic and adversary to King Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). After supporting roles as a physician at an institution for the criminally insane in Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island” (2010) and Sir Walter Loxley in Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood” (2010), von Sydow starred opposite Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock in “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” (2011). He played a man who accompanies a 10-year-old boy (Thomas Horn) on a quest to find a lock box in New York City after the boy’s father died on 9/11. Von Sydow’s wordless performance earned widespread critical praise, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

The above TCM Overview can also be accessed online here.