Max Julien was a gifted actor, poet and sculptor and appeared in some of the biggest films and plays of the 70s. But he’s best known for co-starring with Richard Pryor in the iconic film “The Mack.”

By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — Actor, poet and sculptor Max Julien, whose performance in “The Mack” was one of the ‘70s most memorable, passed Saturday at 88. No official cause of death was immediately issued. Julien began working as a actor in Off-Broadway productions as well as various Shakespeare in the Park presentations in both his hometown of Washington D.C. and also in New York. His earliest film roles were in “Psych-Out” and “Getting  Straight.” 

But his career exploded with “The Mack” in 1973. Julien co-starred with Richard Pryor in an epic tale about an ex-convict on a mission to make a name for himself by becoming the biggest pimp in Oakland, Calif, The two find opposition from both Black Nationalists and racist law enforcement figures. “The Mack” became one of the staples of the decade, and such hip-hop and rap artists as Dr. Dre and Chief Keef have sampled audio from the film.

Julien also worked as a screenwriter and producer, serving both roles and also starring in 1974’s western “Thomasine & Bushrod.” He received an NAACP Image Award nomination for best writer of the year for his work on the film. Julien wrote and co-produced the 1973 feature “Cleopatra Jones” starring Tamara Dobson as well.