Christopher Plummer Dead at 91
Christopher Plummer, who starred in The Sound of Music, won an Oscar for Beginners and was nominated for All the Money in the World and The Last Station, died peacefully today at his home in Connecticut, his family confirmed. Elaine Taylor, his wife and true best friend for 53 years, was by his side.
Lou Pitt, his longtime friend and manager of 46 years said; “Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old fashion manners, self deprecating humor and the music of words. He was 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.”
Plummer spent the past 75 years as a stalwart of stage and screen, the latter of which covered more than 100 film. He is best known for playing Captain John Von Trapp in 1965 Robert Wise-directed classic The Sound of Music, but he won his Oscar for the 2010 film Beginners, and he was most recently Oscar nominated for the Ridley Scott-directed All The Money In The World. In that film, he replaced Kevin Spacey in the role of J Paul Getty, after Spacey had an #MeToo downfall. Plummer most recently costarred in the ensemble of the Rian Johnson-directed Knives Out.
Raised in Montreal, Plummer began his professional career on stage and radio in both French and English. After Eva Le Gallienne gave him his New York debut (1954) he went on to star in many celebrated productions on Broadway and London’s West End winning accolades on both sides of the Atlantic.
He won two Tony Awards for the musical Cyrano and for Barrymore plus seven Tony nominations, his latest for his King Lear (2004) and for his Clarence Darrow in Inherit the Wind (2007); also three Drama Desk Awards and the National Arts Club Medal. A former leading member of the Royal National Theatre under Sir Laurence Olivier and the Royal Shakespeare Company under Sir Peter Hall, where he won London’s Evening Standard Award for Best Actor in Becket; he has also led Canada’s Stratford Festival in its formative years under Sir Tyrone Guthrie and Michael Langham.
Since Sidney Lumet introduced him to the screen in Stage Struck (1958), his range of notable films include The Man Who Would Be King, Battle of Britain, Waterloo, Fall of The Roman Empire, Star Trek VI, Twelve Monkeys and the 1965 Oscar-winning The Sound of Music. More recent films include The Insider as Mike Wallace; (National Film Critics Award), the acclaimed A Beautiful Mind, Man in the Chair, Must Love Dogs, National Treasure, Syriana and Inside Man. His TV appearances, which number close to 100, include the Emmy-winning BBC Hamlet at Elsinore playing the title role; the Emmy-winning productions The Thornbirds, Nuremberg, Little Moon of Alban and HBO’s Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight earning him seven Emmy nominations and taking home two Emmys. He was last seen in the Canadian series, Departures. Apart from honors in the UK, USA, Austria and Canada, he was the first performer to receive the Jason Robards Award in memory of his great friend, the Edwin Booth Award and the Sir John Gielgud Quill Award. In 1968, sanctioned by Elizabeth II, he was invested as a Companion of the Order of Canada (an honorary knighthood). An Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts at Juilliard, he also received the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. In 1986 he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame and in 2000 Canada’s Walk of Fame. Plummer’s projects include the highly praised animated films Up, 9 as well as the title role in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, directed by Terry Gilliam.
He played the great novelist Tolstoy opposite Helen Mirren in The Last Station for Sony Classics where he received his first Academy Award nomination in 2010. He followed that up the next year with another nomination and a win for Best Supporting Actor in Beginners from writer/director Mike Mills and appeared in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that same year. In July and August 2012, he returned to the Stratford Festival to perform his one-man show that he created entitled A Word or Two, directed by Des McAnuff. In 2013, he starred opposite Oscar winner Shirley MacLaine in Elsa & Fred directed by Michael Radford, Hector And The Search for Happiness directed by Peter Chelsom, Danny Collins opposite Al Pacino and Annette Benning for writer/director Dan Fogelman and The Forger opposite John Travolta directed by Phillip Martin. In 2015, he starred in Remember, directed by Atom Egoyan and in 2017 The Exception, based on the novel “The Kaiser’s Last Kiss” co-starring Lily James, Jai Courtney and Janet McTeer and The Man Who Invented Christmas, co-starring Dan Stevens. That same year he replaced Kevin Spacey in All the Money in the World, earning him his fourth Golden Globe and third Academy Award nominations. Boundaries for Sony Classics, co-starring Vera Farmiga in 2018, and Last Full Measure with Sebastian Stan, Ed Harris and Samuel L. Jackson. He was recently seen in the very successful KNIVES OUT starring Daniel Craig and Chris Evans. His recent self-written best selling memoir, In Spite of Myself (Alfred A. Knopf Publishers) praised by critics and public remains a best seller.