(April 10, 1929–March 8, 2020) Two-time Academy Award–nominated Swedish character actor, a former member of Ingmar Bergman’s acting company, who portrayed Ernst Stavro Blofeld in Never Say Never Again. More a cameo part than an essential role in the film, von Sydow’s Blofeld is an exquisitely mannered, bearded aristocrat type who presents SPECTRE’s typical blackmail demands in return for the stolen NATO cruise missiles.
A native of Lund, Skåne, Sweden, von Sydow made his motion picture debut in his native country as Nils in director Alf Sjöberg’s drama Only a Mother (1949). His first film for director Ingmar Bergman was The Seventh Seal (1957), in which he played Antonius Block. Von Sydow’s English-language debut was The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), playing Jesus Christ. Von Sydow was also in two terrific spy films: The Quiller Memorandum (1966), as a neo-Nazi named Oktober (the film also featured a classic score from 007 composer John Barry), and Three Days of the Condor (1975), as freelance assassin Joubert opposite Robert Redford. Von Sydow received his Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in Pelle the Conqueror (1987) and Best Supporting Actor in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011).