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 orphanage. As 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.

When 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 US.

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 and Madiba.

In some of his last roles, he played a lawyer in the Danish psychological drama, Du forsvinder, a Russian naval officer in  Hunter Killer, and a bishop in Terrence Malick's A Hidden Life.

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 oss.

Check out the Guldbagge Awards page.

Click on 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 admired him.