Max von Sydow
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.