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.