Rolf Åke Michael Nyqvist, born on
November 8, 1960, was a Swedish actor. Educated at the
School of Drama in Malmö, he became well known for his
role as police officer Banck in the first series of Beck
films made in 1997. He was most recognized
internationally for his role in the acclaimed Millennium
trilogy as Mikael Blomkvist.
Michael was born in Stockholm to a
Swedish mother and an Italian father, who put him in an
a baby, he was adopted by a Swedish couple.
At 17, he
spent a year as an exchange student in Omaha, Nebraska.
He took his first acting classes there as a senior in
high school playing, amongst other things, a small part
in the drama Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.
he returned to Sweden, an ex-girlfriend suggested he try
theatre and at 24 he was accepted at the Malmö Theatre
Academy. After graduating, Nyqvist worked mainly in
theatre, but also landed smaller parts in several
different film productions. Over the years he has
continued to work in theatre with his last stage
appearance in 2009 as Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre. He
has also worked in television, both in Sweden and the
His first big breakthrough came
in 2000 with the film Together directed by Lukas
Moodysson. The movie was set in the 1970s and followed
the antics of life in a suburban commune in Stockholm.
The movie achieved great international success and
earned Michael his first Guldbagge Best Actor nomination
for his role as a misguided husband with anger issues.
He later played the leading man in the Swedish romantic
comedy, The Guy in the Grave Next Door directed
by Kjell Sundvall. The film explored
the difficulties that arise between a country farmer and
a city librarian. He won a Guldbagge
Best Actor award.
In 2004, he played the lead role as
Daniel Daréus, a conductor and musician, in the Academy
Award-nominated Best Foreign Film As It Is in Heaven,
directed by Kay Pollak. It is one of the most-watched
Swedish films, and the role highlighted Nyqvist's
ability to display tenderness and vulnerability at the
same time as rage and fear. In 2006, he starred in
Suddenly directed by Johan Brisinger. In Suddenly,
Nyqvist plays Lasse – a man who must come to terms with
the sudden loss of his wife and son. In 2007, Nyqvist
portrayed Swedish ambassador Harald Edelstam, in The
Black Pimpernel, a hero who saved several people
from execution in Chile during and after the military
coupe in September 1973.
He garnered international attention starring as Mikael
Blomkvist in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,
The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who
Kicked the Hornets' Nest in Stieg Larsson's
Millennium series. Although Nyqvist always was high on
the list of potential actors to portray Blomkvist, his
charisma got him the role. The director of The Girl with
the Dragon Tattoo, Niels Arden Oplev, found what he was
looking for in Nyqvist – someone with the right looks,
charm, and likeability.
Michael began playing villain roles in the US beginning
with Abduction (2011), directed by John
Singleton, followed by the action thriller
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the fourth
film of the series, directed by Brad Bird. In 2014, he
appeared in John Wick as a New York
Russian mob boss who is forced to protect his son from a
legendary hit man played by Keanu Reeves. The following
year he played evil cult leader Paul Schäfer in
Colonia, a fact-based film about the Chilean
military coup of 1973.
In 2015 he also starred in the
Swedish historical drama, The Girl King as Queen
Christina's Chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna, and in The
Girl in the Book, he played a very charming author
who enjoyed seducing a young girl. The next year
he continued his debonair presence in the psychosexual
noir called Frank & Lola.
In 2016 he played a nerdy tech guy
called Henrik in Pierce Brosnan's crime thriller, I.T.
No charm whatsoever. Good news arrived when he accepted
a role in the Swedish classic, Den allvarsamma leken,
directed by one of his favorite actresses, Pernilla
August. In his role as a newspaper editor, he received
an Guldbagge Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
In the past three years he has appeared in three
English-speaking television series, Zero Hour. 100 Code
In some of his last roles, he played
a lawyer in the Danish psychological drama, Du
forsvinder and, strangely, he played a Russian naval
officer in two submarine films - Kursk and
Hunter Killer. In the only film not yet released, he
plays a bishop in Terrence Malick's Radegund.
Michael was first married in 1990 to
psychologist Pinita Rodriguez and they had a daughter
Ellen that same year on June 29th.
The marriage ended in divorce in 1994 and in 1998 he
married production designer Catharina Ehrnrooth.
Together they had a son Arthur born in 1996.
He is the author of two
autobiographical books: När barnet lagt sig and Dansa för
out the Guldbagge Awards
the photo below for the history of his Italian red wines.
Sadly, Michael passed away on June
27, 2017 at the age of 56 after a battle with lung
cancer. He will be dearly missed by all who loved and