Swedish actor Erland Josephson, who collaborated with legendary film director Ingmar Bergman in more than 40 films and plays, died in Stockholm on Saturday following a long battle against Parkinson’s disease. He was 88.
Born into a family of artists and culture workers in Stockholm, Josephson was 16 when he first met Bergman, who was directing a production of “The Merchant of Venice” in which Josephson was participating as an amateur actor.
Although he never had any formal acting education, Josephson continued to appear in several Bergman stage plays in the 1940s and ’50s; he also had a minor part in 1946 film “It Rains on Our Love.” In the late ’50s he played larger roles in Bergman’s films “The Magician” and “Brink of Life,” but Josephson first shot to international stardom with the role of Johan in “Scenes From a Marriage,” in 1973.
After that, he received offers to appear in many international film productions and played Friedrich Nietzsche in Italian director Liliana Cavani’s 1977 effort “Beyond Good and Evil.” Josephson appeared in Philip Kaufman’s 1988 film “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and made memorable performances in Andrey Tarkovskiy’s 1980s films “Nostalghia” and “The Sacrifice.”
The actor won several Swedish film prizes and received an honorary award at the Rimini film festival in 1986. Two years later, he received the Off Broadway Theater Award for best performance for his role as Gajev in Peter Brooks’ New York production of “Cherry Farm.”
Josephson also published many novels and autobiographical books and two poetry collections, and he penned some 40 scripts for stage, radio and television. He served as head of Sweden’s Royal Dramatic Theater between 1966 and 1975 and was director of the Swedish Film Institute in the 1990s.
Josephson is survived by his wife Ulla Aberg and five children.