Max von Sydow

American Cinematheque Tribute to Max Von Sydow

von Sydow in 2007, photo by Prphotos

Birth Name: Carl Adolf von Sydow

Date of Birth: 10 April, 1929

Place of Birth: Lund, Skåne län, Sweden

Date of Death: 8 March, 2020

Place of Death: Provence, France

Ethnicity: Swedish, German, distant Finland-Swedish, remote Estonian, Latvian, Russian, Danish, Norwegian, English, and Scottish

Max von Sydow was a Swedish actor. He was the son of Baroness Maria Margareta (Rappe), a schoolteacher, and Karl/Carl Vilhelm/Wilhelm von Sydow, an ethnologist and professor of Irish, Scandinavian, and comparative folklore. His father was born in Tranhult, Ryssby and his mother in Drättinge, Dädesjö, Kronobergs län. Aside from his Swedish background, he had some German ancestry, from both of his parents, as well as distant Finland-Swedish, and remote Estonian, Latvian, Russian, Danish, Norwegian, English, and Scottish, roots, dating back to the 1600s.

Max was married to French documentarian Catherine Brelet, until his death. He had two children with his former wife, actress Christina Inga Britta Olin; and two children with Catherine. He took on French citizenship in 2002, at which point he had to relinquish his Swedish citizenship.

Max took on his first name, Max, from a performer at a flea circus.

He was the only Swedish-born male to be nominated for an Academy Award for acting.

Max’s patrilineal ancestry traces to Christian Fredrik von Sydow, who was born, c. 1714, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. That line’s origin is in Pomerania, formerly part of Prussia, much of which was under Swedish rule from 1630 to 1815.

Max’s paternal grandfather was Otto Ludwig/Ludvig von Sydow (the son of Daniel Peter von Sydow and Anna Charlotta Butsch/Butch). Otto was born in Halmstad. Daniel was the son of Nils Ludvig von Sydow and Engel/Engela Benedikta Heller. Anna was the daughter of Ambrosius Butsch and Urika/Ulrika Brink.

Max’s paternal grandmother was Göthilda/Götilda Rappe (the daughter of Gustaf Vilhelm/Wilhelm Rappe and Catharina Matilda/Mathilda Schmiterlöw). Göthilda was born in Tagel, Mistelås. Gustaf was the son of Gustaf Johan Rappe and Hedvig Hammarskjöld. Catharina was the daughter of Henning Christian Schmiterlöw and Friherrinna, Anna Matilda Palbitzki, whose Palbitzki line traced back to Stolp, Pomerania.

Max’s maternal grandfather was Adolf Fredrik Rappe (the son of Adolf Fredrik Rappe and Hedvig Helfrid Hermelin). Max’s grandfather Adolf was born in Strömsrum, Ålem, Småland. Max’s great-grandfather Adolf was the son of Gustaf Johan Rappe and Hedvig Hammarskjöld. Max’s great-grandmother Hedvig Hermelin was the daughter of Friherre, August Söderling Hermelin, and of Ebba Sofia Persdotter Ribbing.

Max’s maternal grandmother was Friherrinna Anna Sofia Margareta Hermelin (the daughter of Friherre, Carl Maximilian Hermelin, and of Grevinna Carolina/Karolina Christina/Kristina Elisabet Mörner, af Morlanda). Anna was born in Traneryd Säteri, Säby, Småland. Carl was the son of Friherre, August Söderling Hermelin, and of Ebba Sofia Persdotter Ribbing. Grevinna was the daughter of Knut Stellan Mörner af Morlanda and Ulrika Christina Margareta Montgomery. Ulrika had distant Scottish ancestry from her surname, Montgomery.

Max’s matrilineal line can be traced to his five times great-grandmother, Anna Margareta/Margaretha Holm, who was born c. 1721.

Max’s parents were second cousins. Max’s maternal grandparents were first cousins.

Max was a fourth cousin, once removed, of politician Olof Palme, who was Prime Minister of Sweden, from 14 October, 1969 to 8 October, 1976, and from 8 October, 1982 to 28 February, 1986. Max’s paternal great-great-great-grandparents, Christian Fredrik von Sydow and Christina Wahlsten, were also Olof’s paternal great-great-great-great-grandparents.

Sources: Genealogies of Max von Sydow –


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