By Sandra Rose  | 

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Actor Maxwell Banks, best known as Max Julien, died from natural causes on his birthday, January 1. He was 88.

His wife, Arabella Julien found him unresponsive at his Sherman Oaks, California home on Saturday morning. He was pronounced dead at Sherman Oaks Hospital.

His death was confirmed to TMZ by his publicist. Julien was best known for starring and writing 1970s blaxploitation films such as The Mack (1973), about a smooth-talking pimp named Goldie.

Malcolm Ali/WireImage

Rappers still sample tracks off The Mack's soundtrack by singer Willie Hutch ("I Choose You", "Brothers Gonna Work It Out").

Julien channeled his Goldie persona as Uncle Fred in Def Jam's How to Be a Player, Bill Bellamy's 1997 comedy film.

Julien wrote the screenplay for blaxploitation film Cleopatra Jones (1973), starring Tamara Dobson. He also acted in The Black Klansmen (1966), Psych-Out, Getting Straight (with Candice Bergen), Thomasine & Bushrod (with his then-partner Vonetta McGee), The Mod Squad, The Bold Ones: The Protectors and One on One.