Ek was born the son of a professor of history and a poet. From 1938 to 1941 he studied at the acting school of the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, where he also appeared at the end of his studies. He had more involvement. At the municipal theaters in Malmö and Gothenburg and the intimate theater in Stockholm In the early 1940s he played his first film roles. In 1943, he made her first appearance in a theatrical production of Ingmar Bergman, for whom he appeared before the camera in four films. In 1960 Ek to the newly opened Stockholm City Theatre, but returned mid-1960s back to the Royal Dramatic Theatre, where he remained until shortly before his death. In 1976, he starred in Bergman's staging of Strindberg's Dance of Death with August. In the same year he completed his last film appearance.