Erland Josephson has died. He was a great Swedish actor of Jewish extraction. He was in Fanny and Alexander and Hour of the Wolf by Ingmar Bergman, among many other films (I think 40 collaborations, including theater). Also he was in Andre Tarkovski’s The Sacrifice. He was a great actor.
I met him when I was cast as Anya in Peter Brook’s production of The Cherry Orchard, in 1986, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. We became really close friends. He was already in his sixties. He was witty and a little bit sad and very bawdy. We went on tour with The Cherry Orchard. We went to Russia and Japan. I remember walking with Erland under a red umbrella in a Japanese garden. I remember eating sturgeon with him in Moscow, after a performance. I remember sitting on a wide purple cloth, eating a picnic with the rest of the company, in the countryside near Tibilisi, which was then in Soviet Georgia. The resident actors of the theater we were playing in, the Rustaveli (sp?) theater, invited us on the picnic. We drank wine from ceramic bowls with gold rims. The rims were stamped with little golden crosses. When we looked up we could see cliffs, and in the cliffs were little caves, and in the caves, hermits had lived. In Tokyo, people had simultaneous translators they could hold to their ears. We used to joke that every time we heard one of them clatter to the floor, an audience member had dropped off to sleep. One night, during Erland’s speech to the book case, we heard so many simultaneous translating devices clatter to the floor– Erland later said he counted nine–that I simply lost it. Luckily I was just sitting upstage, because I actually peed in my pants a little, but I hid the laughing pretty well. He was a wonderful friend.