Death of Max Julien: “The Mack” star had just turned 88


Max Julien, star of The Mack and pioneer of the blaxploitation film genre, died Saturday. He was 88 years old.

The death of the actor, writer and producer was confirmed on New Year’s Day by his longtime friend David F. Walker, a comics writer and filmmaker who paid tribute to Julien on Instagram. Walker did not provide any information on the cause of death.

“I met Max in 1996,” he wrote. “He was a great person and we had so many great conversations. He was brilliant and hilarious and charismatic… RIP”

In the 1973 classic The Mack, Julien played John “Goldie” Mickens, a formerly incarcerated man on a quest to become Oakland’s No. 1 pimp. The popular title also starred comedy legend Richard Pryor as Goldie’s accomplice Slim.

Forty years after The Mack premiered, director Michael Campus fondly recalled opening the film where it was shot: Oakland. The groundbreaking film has maintained a loyal following, influencing artists such as Tupac, Jadakis, Too Short, Jay-Z and Quentin Tarantino.

“The first scene came with Richie and Max and — I’m not exaggerating — the entire audience stood up and started screaming back at the screen,” Campus told the Los Angeles Times in 2013.

“They never sat down. Nobody had shown this world – nobody had portrayed the black underworld.”

In addition to starring in The Mack, Julien is also credited as a writer and producer on two other blaxploitation features, Thomasine & Bushrod and Cleopatra Jones. The former starred Julien and Vonetta McGee – who dated in the 1970s – as a pair of Robin Hood-esque outlaws in the Wild West.

Julien has appeared in a number of other big and small screen projects, including The Black Klansman, Getting Straight, Uptight and How to Be a Player. His last appearance was a guest appearance on the early 2000s sitcom One on One.

Away from the screen, Julien was also an author, sculptor and fashion designer. He is survived by his wife Arabella Chavers Julien. Death of Max Julien: “The Mack” star had just turned 88

Caroline Bleakley

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