Acting Legend Christopher Plummer Dies, Aged 91

Christopher Plummer

by James White |
Published on

It's not often that an actor has a public dislike for the role that put them on the map, but Christopher Plummer has certainly had words in the past for The Sound Of Music. Yet the Canadian acting legend is known for so much more than that. He has died at the age of 91.

Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer was born in Toronto on Dec. 13, 1929. Raised by his mother and grandparents after his parents' divorce, he recalls the family spent nights reading to each other, instilling in him an early love of literature that would fuel his future performances. Learning his trade in radio drama and theatre repertory, he began appearing at Ontario's Stratford Festival, launching a career-long love of Shakespeare and finding a home for a good deal of his stage work, when he wasn't working for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Film came calling, though a cocky Plummer initially turned down offers to continue in low-paying plays. When he did dip his toe into cinema, he debuted in Sidney Lumet's 1958 film Stage Struck, and a little-seen drama called Across The Everglades. Six years later, he returned to the screen in The Fall Of The Roman Empire.

That was followed by possibly his most iconic – and, as mentioned – in his eyes "sentimental and gooey" performance as Captain Georg von Trapp in The Sound Of Music. The film, which became an audience favourite and won various Oscars including Best Picture has long since passed into evergreen status.

The same could be said for Plummer, who became a reliable, charismatic performer for decades, his rakish good looks solidifying into an actor with real range on screens big and small. On TV, he's best known for playing a cunning archbishop in The Thorn Birds, though other work has included Nuremberg, and the adaptation of On Golden Pond.

Notable film work included Wolf, 12 Monkeys, Syriana, Up, The Insider, A Beautiful Mind, The Last Station (for which he was nominated for an Oscar) and Beginners, which finally saw him win the trophy as Best Supporting Actor. Star Trek fans have a special place in their heart for his role as gruff General Chang in The Undiscovered Country, and more recently, he was a delight in Knives Out. Most famously, he was a last-minute replacement for Kevin Spacey called in by Ridley Scott after sexual abuse allegations against Spacey forced re-shoots to remove him from the movie All The Money In The World. The result? More award nominations to add to an impressive haul that includes two Tony wins.

Plummer died on Friday following complications after a fall. He's survived by his wife., Elaine Taylor Plummer and actor Amanda Plummer, the daughter of Plummer and his first wife, Tammy Grimes.

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