Max Julien, who starred opposite Richard Pryor in the 1973 blaxploitation classic The Mack, died early on New Year’s Day, his wife, Arabella Chavers Julien, told The Hollywood Reporter. “During Julien’s decades-long career, he was known for being bold, honest and straightforward,” Julien’s representatives told TMZ in a statement Saturday. “He would live and speak his own truth both professionally and privately. He was thought of as a rare ‘man among men.’” He was 88.
Julien, a classically trained theater actor, began his career on the Off Broadway circuit before starring opposite Jack Nicholson in 1968’s Psych-Out and Candice Bergen in 1970’s Getting Straight. He is most well known for his iconic role as the ambitious pimp Goldie in the hugely popular 1973 film The Mack. “He’s still the hero to this day,” Julien said of Goldie in the 2002 documentary Mackin’ Ain’t Easy. “Because of that … indomitable spirit that he has, that ‘you cannot stop me,’ and ‘you cannot mash me down without me coming back at you.’” Goldie went on to become a widely used hip-hop reference point with his dialogue sampled by the likes of Snoop Dogg, Public Enemy, and LL Cool J. Numerous hip-hop and R&B stars including Diddy and Too Short have cited Goldie as inspiration for their public personas. Julien also starred in 1968’s Uptight as well as The Black Klansman, The Mod Squad, and How to Be a Player.
David F. Walker, a comic-book writer and friend of Julien’s, wrote on Instagram, “I met Max back in 1996. He was a great human being, and we had so many amazing conversations. He was brilliant and hilarious and charismatic… R.I.P.”