Erland Josephson 1923-2012

The multifarious Erland Josephson – actor, author, playwright – was a key figure in Swedish cultural life after the war. He was born in 1923 in Stockholm.

Black and white photo of Erland Josephson at the Royal Dramatic Theatre.
Erland Josephson at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Sweden 1965. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

Josephson published his first collection of poetry in 1946, and subsequently wrote plays, film scripts and novels. In his book Rollen (1989) (The Role) he mixed autobiography with reflections on art.

Josephson worked as an actor at The Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm, and also served as director from 1966 to 1975. He appeared in international film productions, but is best known as one of the leading actors in a number of Ingmar Bergman’s films, from a small part in Det regnar på vår kärlek (1946) (It Rains on our Love) to the central part in Bergman’s last TV production, Saraband (2003). Josephson also directed films of his own, e. g. Marmeladupproret (1980) (Marmalade revolution).

Josephson’s art was characterised by a sharp psychological style, filled with melancholy as well as scepticism. He won a number of awards for his work.

Further reading:

  • J. Sundholm et al., Historical Dictionary of Scandinavian Cinema (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2012).