Michael Nyqvist, ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ Star, Dies at 56

Michael Nyqvist Dead

Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist, who starred in the original “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” films alongside Noomi Rapace, died on Tuesday following a battle with lung cancer, his representative confirmed. He was 56.

“On behalf of Michael Nyqvist’s representatives and family, it is with deep sadness that I can confirm that our beloved Michael, one of Sweden’s most respected and accomplished actors, has passed away quietly surrounded by family after a year long battle with lung cancer,” said his rep in a statement. “Michael’s joy and passion were infectious to those who knew and loved him. His charm and charisma were undeniable, and his love for the arts was felt by all who had the pleasure of working with him.”

Though best known for his role in the Swedish “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy, Nyqvist also broke into American film. He played the villain alongside Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” and starred as Viggo Tarasov in “John Wick” with Keanu Reeves.


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Nyqvist first garnered international attention as Mikael Blomkvist in “Millennium,” a six-part television series based on Stieg Larsson’s books following Lisbeth Salander. The series aired on Swedish television in six parts, and was expanded on three theatrically released films in 2009: “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.”

The Swedish series’ success helped spawn an American film adaptation, which was released in 2011. Daniel Craig took over Nyqvist’s role as Blomkvist, and Rooney Mara starred as Lisbeth Salander.

Nyqvist found his first big breakthrough in 2000 with Lukas Moodysson’s “Together.” The dramedy starred Nyqvist as a misguided husband with anger issues, and earned him his first Guldbagge Award nomination for best actor.

He also appeared in “Colonia” (2015), starring Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl, and in Donovan Marsh’s 2017 action-thriller “Hunter Killer” with Gerard Butler and Gary Oldman.

His additional Swedish film credits include “As It Is in Heaven” (2004), “Suddenly” (2006), “The Black Pimpernel” (2007), and “The Guy in the Grave Next Door” (2002), for which Nyqvist won a Guldbagge Award for best actor for his role as Benny the farmer. He also appeared in American films “Frank and Lola,” “Disconnect,” and “Europa Report.”

Nyqvist was an author as well, publishing autobiographical memoir “Just After Dreaming” (“När barnet lagt sig” in Swedish) in 2010. The novel was a compilation of memories from his childhood, and details his life from his adoption as a baby to tracking down his biological parents at age 30.

He is survived by his wife, Catharina, and their children, Ellen and Arthur.

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  1. The Truth says:

    An autobiographical memoir is not a novel.

    • The Truth is Disrespectful says:

      @ The Truth… Really?!
      This isn’t the place for an English lesson, or didn’t you read the title and/or article? You’re clearly an irreverent person, however, life’s short… so, get one!

  2. Jackson says:

    It’s not often I’m lost for words, but when I saw this news today, no words could describe how I felt. I never realized just how much of his work I’d seen … and loved! No matter how big the celebrity – thinking Keanu Reeves in John Wick – Michael was always the cherry on top for me. He had that little something, that many actors strive for, but never reach and that’s because it can’t be taught.

    I feel for his family, but comforted to know he was surrounded by the people he loved and cared most for.

    Thank you Michael for broadening my world by bringing foreign films into my life!

  3. Pete Cuban says:

    A talented genius…you believed in what he portrayed on the screen. Gone too soon.

  4. Ravi says:

    I really like the movies. Rest in peace Sir.

  5. Donna says:

    A terrible and sad loss for his family and the international entertainment business.

  6. ............. says:

    Very sad. No idea he was even ill.

  7. Daniel says:

    Shocking news…great actor.

    He was much better than Daniel Craig in “Girl with…” and one of my favorite ‘supporting actors’ whenever I saw him on screen.


  8. kelly says:

    Variety: Putting interstitial ads before obituaries is so incredibly tacky.

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