Swedish actor and Bergman favourite Erland Josephson dies at 88
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
27/02/2012 - “I am of the international upper class, the Swedish petit bourgeoisie of Jewish extraction with poor language skills, a conveyor of a few expressions and faces, with some intonation that combines ancient human experience with timely coquetry," wrote Swedish actor Erland Josephson (The Part, 1989). Josephson died Saturday (February 25) at a Stockholm hospital following a long battle against Parkinson’s disease. He was 88.
Born into a family of writers, directors, composers and artists, at 16 Josephson was directed by the-then 21-year-old Ingmar Bergman in The Merchant of Venice. Their collaboration on stage and screen took them through 40 films and plays, including Hour of the Wolf (1968), Scenes from a Marriage (1973) and Fanny and Alexander (1982).
Josephson, who had no formal acting education, worked for Bergman when he was head of the Stadsteatern in Helsingborg, later in Göteborg, and in 1956 he joined Stockholm’s Royal Dramaten Theatre, where he performed in more than 60 productions. He was chief of the Dramaten between 1966-1975, succeding Bergman.
The co-writer of two scripts with Bergman (as Buntel Ericson), Josephson wrote more than 40 plays for radio, television and theatre – his latest, The Flower Pickers, was staged by the Dramaten in 2006. He also published a series of novels and autobiographical books, adding two collections of poetry.
Among his 100 film roles: Italien director Liliana Cavani's Beyond Good and Evil (1977), Yugoslavian director Dusan Makavejev's Montenegro (1981), Russian director Andrey Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia (1983), The Sacrifice (1986) and US director Philip Kaufman’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988).
He also played in three films by his Scenes from a Marriage co-star, Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann, Faithless (2000), and he wrote, directed and starred in The Marmalade Revolution, launched in competition at the Berlinale 1980. Josephson was awarded the Swedish Academy’s Royal Prize in 2003.