Classically trained actor Max Julien, who became best known for playing a pimp named Goldie in the 1973 cult classic “The Mack” has died, his wife told The Hollywood Reporter.
Julien died at age 88 on New Year’s Day, which was also his birthday. Julien’s wife, Arabella Chavers, told THR that he died Saturday at Sherman Oaks Hospital. The cause of death has not been determined.
“During Julien’s decades-long career, he was known for being bold, honest and straightforward,” his PR team said in a statement to TMZ. “He would live and speak his own truth both professionally and privately. He was thought of as a rare `man among men’.”
Comic book writer and producer David Walker remembered his friend in a post on Instagram.
“I met Max back in 1996,” Walker wrote. “He was a great human being, and we had so many amazing conversations. He was brilliant and hilarious and charismatic… R.I.P.”
“The Mack” was considered a standout in the wave of 1970s films known as blaxploitation. Julien played an ex-con who becomes a big-time pimp in Oakland. He is assisted by his cohort Slim, who was played by Richard Pryor in one of his early film roles.
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 picture of the whole blaxploitation genre.”
Actor, writer and director Robert Townsend, whose 1987 film “Hollywood Shuffle” satirizes some of the racial stereotypes of films such as “The Mack,” posted a tribute on Twitter.
“My first cinematic heroes has passed,” Townsend wrote. “Today we lost actor, writer, producer and director Max Julian. In college I would act out scenes from THE MACK, it’s still one of my favorite movies. Thank you Mr. Julian for making me think outside the box… God bless his soul.”
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.
Julien was born in Washington, D.C. and began his career in off-Broadway productions and doing Shakespeare in the Park for noted 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 on TV shows including “The Mod Squad” and “The Name of the Game.”
Julien also co-wrote and produced the 1973 film “Cleopatra Jones” and the 1974 western “Thomasine & Bushrod,” in which he also starred.
He was also a noted sculptor and fashion designer.