CINEMA: Max Julien, better known as the star of the 1973 film The Mack, died at 88

The vet­er­an actor, who helmed the cast of clas­sic blax­ploita­tion film The Mack, is said to have died on New Years Day at Sher­man Oaks Hos­pi­tal. The cause of death has not yet been deter­mined. Julien was 88 years old.

“Over the decades of Julien’s career, he was known to be bold, hon­est and straight­for­ward,” the actor’s pub­lic rela­tions team told TMZ. “He would live and speak his own truth both pro­fes­sion­al­ly and in pri­vate. He was con­sid­ered a rare ‘man among men’.

David F. Walk­er, com­ic book writer, film­mak­er and close friend of Julien, also paid trib­ute on Insta­gram. Post­ing a pic­ture of the late actor, Walk­er said, “I met Max in 1996. He was a great human being and we had so many amaz­ing con­ver­sa­tions. He was bril­liant, hilar­i­ous and charis­mat­ic… R.I.P.

As an actor, Julien is best known for his lead role in The Mack. Released in 1973, the film was writ­ten by Robert J. Poole and direct­ed by Michael Cam­pus. It fol­lows the rise and fall of John “Goldie” Mick­ens (Julien) as he strives to become the city’s great­est pimp after being released from prison. The late Richard Pry­or co-starred with Julien with the film also star­ring Juani­ta Moore and Dick Antho­ny Williams.

“Even with its flaws, The Mack is the best and most mem­o­rable crime film of the entire blax­ploita­tion genre,” Quentin Taran­ti­no said of the film. A huge fan of The Mack, Taran­ti­no also includ­ed a ref­er­ence to the clas­sic movie in True Romance with the char­ac­ter of Chris­t­ian Slater high­light­ing, “I know this movie. It’s The Mack with Max Julien.”

“1971, Hol­ly­wood was dying, look­ing for a gov­ern­ment grant, and sud­den­ly some­one came along, God bless him, called Melvin Van Pee­bles. Okay? He made a movie, and what­ev­er you thought so, called Sweet Sweet­back­’s Baad * sssss The song and it rocked this whole indus­try, ”Julien told S. Pearl Sharp in a 1981 inter­view about the lega­cy of the blax­ploita­tion movement.

He added: “And sud­den­ly they said, ‘Wow! There are blacks over there who go to see movies! “Like we don’t go there all the time, do we? And all of a sud­den, black films have been made, direct­ed, direct­ed and made and no one is giv­ing cred­it for those films hav­ing lit­er­al­ly saved Hollywood. ”

Max Julien has also played roles in films like The Black Klans­man, Psych-Out (with Jack Nichol­son and Bruce Dern), The Sav­age Sev­en, Up Tight !, Thoma­sine & Bushrod, Get­ting Straight and How to Be a Play­er by Def Jam . His small screen cred­its include The Mod Squad, The Bold Ones: The Pro­tec­tors, CBS Play­house, and The Name of the Game. Julien’s last act­ing cred­it was in 2005 in which he reprized his role of The Mack for a spe­cial appear­ance on the UPN com­e­dy series One on One.

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