SHERMAN OAKS (CBSLA) – Classically trained actor Max Julien, who became best known for playing a pimp named Goldie in the cult classic “The Mack” from 1973, has died, his wife told The Hollywood Reporter.
He died at the age of 88 on New Year’s Day, which was also his birthday.
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Julien’s wife, Arabella Chavers, told reporters she found his body early Saturday morning. The cause of death has not been determined.
“During Julien’s decades-long career, he was known for being brave, honest and straightforward,” his PR team said in a statement to TMZ. He wanted to live and speak his own truth both professionally and privately. He was considered a rare ‘man among men’.
Comic book author and producer David F. Walker remembered his friend in a post on Instgram.
“I met Max back in 1996,” Walker wrote. “He was an amazing person and we had so many amazing conversations. He was brilliant and funny and charismatic … RIP ”
“The Mack” was considered a standout in the wave of 1970s films known as blaxploitation. Julien played an ex-con-con who becomes a big pimp in Oakland. He gets help from his cohort Slim, who was played by actor-comedian Richard Pryor in one of his early film roles.
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Director Quentin Tarantino counted himself among the film’s fans, writing that “Even including its flaws, ‘The Mack’ is the best and most memorable crime film of the entire blaxploitation genre.”
Lines from the film have been sampled in hip-hop songs by several rappers, including Snoop Dogg, Raekwon, Mobb Deep, LL Cool J and Public Enemy.
Born in Washington, DC, Julien began his career in off-Broadway productions, making Shakespeare in the Park for renowned theater producer Joseph Papp.
He later scored supporting roles in the films “Psych-Out” with Jack Nicholson and “Getting Straight” with Candice Bergen along with guest appearances in TV shows, including “The Mod Squad” and “The Name of the Game.”
Julien also co-wrote and produced the film “Cleopatra Jones” from 1973 and the western “Thomasine & Bushrod” from 1974, in which he also starred.
He was also a well-known sculptor and fashion designer.
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