Christopher Plummer

Legendary Canadian actor

One of the great Shakespearean actors of the 20th century, who acquired global recognition for his portrayal of Baron von Trapp in the film ‘The Sound of Music.’

Christopher Plummer is widely regarded as one of the greatest Canadian actors, known for his interpretations of classical roles on the stage as well as in motion pictures. His career spanned seven decades, starring in over 100 films and gaining recognition for his performances in film, television, and theatre.

With an illustrious career, the versatile actor won numerous awards including: three Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BAFTA Award, a British Academy Film Award and the only Canadian to received the Triple Crown of Acting. At the age of 82, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the film ‘Beginners,’ becoming the oldest person to win an acting award.

In 1968, Christopher Plummer was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, and was given an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from New York’s Juilliard School. He was the recipient of a lifetime achievement award by the Governor-General of Canada and was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.

On February 2021, the legendary Christopher Plummer aged 91, died at his home in Weston, Connecticut, with his wife Elaine Taylor by his side.



Name:   Christopher  Plummer
Born:   13 December 1929
Star Sign: Sagittarius
Died:   5 February 2021
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario
Country: Canada
DetailsOther Names
Arthur, Orme, Chris
Father:
John Orme Plummer
Mother:
Isabella Mary (Abbott) Plummer
Marriages:
Married: Elaine Taylor (M. 1970 - 2012), Married: Patricia Lewis (M. 1962 – Div. 1967), Tammy Grimes (M. 1956 – Div. 1960) with one daughter.
Children:
Amanda Plummer - actress


Childhood and Family
Christopher Plummer was born Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer on 13 December 1929, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was the only child of Isabella Mary (Abbott) and John Orme Plummer, and was the great-grandson of Sir John Abbott, Canada’s third prime minister. He was of Scottish, English, and Anglo-Irish ancestry.

Shortly after his birth, Plummer's parents divorced and he was brought up in his mother's family home in Senneville, Quebec, where he attended the Jennings Private School. He spoke both English and French fluently. At an early age, Plummer began studying to be a concert pianist, but he developed a love for theatre. While attending the High School of Montreal, his first notable role came when he played D'Arcy in "Pride and Punishment."

Education and Early Roles
After leaving school, Plummer trained with the Canadian Repertory Theatre in Ottawa, where he was in countless productions including 'The Infernal Machine.' In 1946, Montreal Gazette's theatre critic Herbert Whittaker saw his performance as Mr Darcy in a Montreal High School production of 'Pride and Prejudice' and was impressed. At age 18, Plummer was cast as Oedipus in 'La Machine infernale.' His next performance was in ‘Home is the Hero’ which stretched to 30 performances.

In 1950, Plummer joined the Canadian Rep in Ottawa, playing dozens of roles before joining the Bermuda Repertory Company in 1952. In 1953, he made his CBC TV debut in a production of 'Othello.' His New York debut followed in 1954, in The Starcross Story which attracted wide critical praise. In 1955, Plummer starred in the Broadway drama, ‘Night of the Auk’, and earned his first Tony nomination for his role in ‘J.B.' by Elia Kazan.

Shakespearean Roles
In 1955, Plummer starred in the play ‘The Dark is Light Enough’ which was a considerable success. The same year he joined the American Shakespeare Festival Company in Connecticut, and established a reputation as a leading Shakespearean actor, performing in repertory in Canada, England and in the United States.

Plummer’s breakthrough came in 1956 after a role in the play Henry V by William Shakespeare. In 1957, he played Stratford's very first Hamlet as well as a supporting role in ‘Twelfth Night’. His association with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival continued for many years and he seen in ‘The Winter’s Tale’, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, and ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Plummer also appeared in the Broadway plays Othello in 'Macbeth.'

Movies
In 1958, Plummer made his movie debut in the movie ‘Stage Struck’ and then in Nicholas Ray's 'Wind Across The Everglades,' and alongside Julie Harris in ‘Little Moon of Alban’, a live TV drama in 1958. Years later, he appeared in Anthony Mann's 1964 movie, “The Fall of the Roman Empire.”

Following his success,, he starred in as many as 100 TV roles including ‘The Moneychangers’, ‘American Tragedy’, ‘Our Fathers’, and ‘The Scarlet and the Black’. He also narrated the animated series ‘Madeline’ In the 1960s, Plummer moved to London and appeared in ‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’ and ‘The Royal Hunt of the Sun’.

Popular Roles
His association with the Royal Shakespeare Company started in 1961 with his role as Benedick in ‘Much Ado about Nothing’. He later played the lead role in ‘Richard III’ and King Henry II in ‘Becket’. In the 1960s, he starred in several films including ‘Inside Daisy Clover’ (1965); ‘The Night of the Generals’ (1967), 'The High Commissioner '(1968), ‘The Royal Hunt of the Sun' (1969) and in the World War II film 'Battle of Britain' (1969.

However, his most popular role was as Captain von Trapp opposite Julie Andrews in the Oscar-winning, record-breaking movie ‘The Sound of Music’ (1965).

1970's movies
Plummer starred in the 1970 war film, 'Waterloo' as the Duke of Wellington. He was also associated with National Theatre in London and performed in several plays. In 1973, he appeared on Broadway as the title character in 'Cyrano' and won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance.

Plummer played Rudyard Kipling in 'The Man Who Would Be King' (1975). He also appeared in the television miniseries Arthur Hailey’s - 'the Moneychangers' (1976), for which he won an Emmy Award. He also starred in the 1978 thriller 'The Silent Partner.'

Character Roles
Plummer appeared as Sherlock Holmes in Murder by Decree, a 1979 British-Canadian mystery thriller film. In the 1980s he had starring roles in Eyewitness (1981), Lily in Love (1984), and Shadow Dancing (1988). He also appeared on Broadway in two Shakespearean tragedies, 'Othello', and the title role in 'Macbeth'.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Plummer was seen in various movies including: ‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country’ (1991) and in the biographic film ‘The Insider’ in which he received several awards for the role. In 1997, he played John Barrymore at the end of his life in ‘Barrymore’ which earned him his second Tony for his role in Barrymore.

Great Roles
Plummer return to the Stratford Festival in 2002 with ‘King Lear’, that was later staged at Lincoln Center in New York. He Plummer in the 2007 Broadway production of “Inherit the Wind.” It was his final Broadway performance.

In 2008, Plummer played Julius Caesar in ‘Caesar and Cleopatra,’ which was broadcasted later in cinemas across Canada. In 2010, he starred in ‘The Tempest’ and in 2012, he appeared in the one man show ‘A Word or Two’ - an autobiographical journey where he chronicled his interest in literature. A sequel to this ‘A Word of Two Again’ was presented at the Ahmanson Theatre in 2014.

Awards and Recognition
Christopher Plummer received many awards including: an Academy Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a British Academy Film Award and the Triple Crown of Acting. At 82, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for 'Beginners' (2010), becoming the oldest person to win an acting award. At the age of 88, he was the oldest person to be nominated in an acting category in 'All the Money in the World', which earned him a Golden Globe, Academy Award, and BAFTA nominations. Plummer also actively worked behind the stage, wrote for stage and television, arranged music, and performed them as well. In honor of his achievements, Christopher Plummer also received the Canadian Screen Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2016.

Marriage and Family
Christopher Plummer was married three times. He was married to his first wife Tammy Grimes from 1956 until 1960. They had daughter Amanda. He married to his second wife Patricia Lewis from 1962 until 1967. On October 2, 1970. he married his third wife, Elaine Taylor in Canada until his death in 2021.

Facts
Plummer spoke English and French fluently.

Plummer never attended university, something he regretted all his life. Although his mother and his father's family had ties with McGill University,

Plummer's father saw his son in the flesh when he was on the stage. They went out to dinner, and Christopher did all the talking.

Plummer considered walking away from his role in 'The Sound of Music' when there was talk of dubbing his voice with that of a singer. His voice stayed, including on Oscar Hammerstein's last ever song, the heartbreaking 'Edelweiss'.

He turned down the role of Gandalf in 'the Lord of the Rings trilogy', a decision he admits to regretting.

Plummer also wrote for the stage, television, and concert-hall.

Although he spent the majority of his time in the United States, he remained a Canadian citizen. He was also a patron of Theatre Museum Canada.

Christopher Plummer was selected for the dash of danger he could bring to the role of Captain von Trapp, in The Sound of Music.

Plummer was a great-grandson of John Abbott, who was Canada's third Prime Minister.

At 82-year-old Plummer became the oldest person in Academy history to win an Oscar. He won for playing a senior citizen.

Quotes
"I think anger does fuel a successful acting career. To play the great roles, you have to learn how to blaze."

"When I was young, I played the piano and studied classical music and jazz. I wanted to be a concert pianist, and if I'd devoted myself to it, I could have been. But it would have been too much work and a very lonely life."

"Never forget your sense of humour."

"Most of my life I have played a lot of famous people but most of them were dead so you have a poetic license."

"I couldn't believe when I first got a fan letter from Al Pacino, it was unreal."

"I'm too old-fashioned to use a computer. I'm too old-fashioned to use a quill."

"Working with Julie Andrews is like getting hit over the head with a valentine."

"They realized I was alive again, even though I was playing an old, dying sop."

"Try and stay sober. Until the curtain call. And for God's sake, have fun. Don't suffer for your art. Just have fun."

"I just can't tell you what fun I've had being a member of the world's second oldest profession."

Funeral

On February 5, 2021, Christopher Plummer aged 91, died at his home in Connecticut, U.S.A. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Elaine Taylor and daughter Amanda Plummer.

Christopher Plummer remains a national treasure who deeply relished his Canadian roots. Through his art and humanity, he touched all of our hearts and his legendary life will endure for all generations to come. He will forever be with us


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