Christopher Plummer, Sound of Music star and oldest actor to win an Oscar, dies aged 91 | Christopher Plummer


Christopher Plummer, the dazzlingly versatile Canadian actor whose display profession straddled seven many years, together with such high-profile movies as The Sound of Music, The Man Who Would Be King and All of the Cash within the World, has died aged 91.

His household confirmed the information, saying he died peacefully at residence in Connecticut along with his spouse of 53 years, Elaine Taylor, by his facet.

Lou Pitt, his longtime good friend and supervisor of 46 years stated:

“Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old fashion manners, self deprecating humour 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’s first movie look was in 1958’s Stage Struck, a backstage drama through which he performs a author in love with Susan Strasberg’s ingenue. His greatest hit, and arguably best-known position, was as singing anti-Nazi Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music in 1965. Extra not too long ago, in 2017, he stepped in at brief discover to exchange Kevin Spacey within the Ridley Scott-directed All of the Cash within the World, after Spacey was accused of sexual misconduct. Scott praised Plummer on the time, telling the Guardian that “[he’s] got this enormous charm whether he’s doing King Lear or The Sound of Music”. Scott added: “This guy’s a real colouring book, he can do anything.”

Born Arthur Plummer in Toronto in 1929, the great-grandson of John Abbott, Canada’s third prime minister, and grew up in Quebec talking English and French fluently. After leaving faculty he joined the Montreal Repertory Theatre, and after a brief spell on Broadway achieved his first main position as Hal in Henry V on the 1956 Stratford pageant in Ontario. Extra stage roles adopted, in each Stratford and on Broadway, together with his first Tony nomination in 1959 for greatest actor in Archibald MacLeish’s JB, which was directed by Elia Kazan. He additionally secured roles with the Royal Shakespeare Firm within the UK, taking part in Benedick within the 1961 manufacturing of A lot Ado About Nothing (reverse Geraldine McEwan) and the title position of Richard III in the identical 12 months.

Plummer, left, with Julie Andrews (standing) in The Sound of Music.
Plummer, left, with Julie Andrews (standing) in The Sound of Music. {Photograph}: Allstar/Cinetext/20th Century Fox

The Sound of Music, launched to very large success in 1965, proved Plummer’s breakthrough to stardom. Tailored from the Rodgers and Hammerstein stage musical in regards to the real-life singing Von Trapp household, Plummer was initially reluctant to tackle the position, and in 2018 informed the Guardian he was “furious” when he discovered his singing voice was going to be dubbed. “I’d worked on my singing for so long, but in those days, they’d have someone trained who would sing through dubbing. I said: ‘The only reason I did this bloody thing was so I could do a musical on stage on film!’”

His well-known distaste for the movie mellowed over time: “I’ve made my peace with it,” he added. “It annoyed the hell out of me at first. I thought: ‘Don’t these people ever see another movie? Is this the only one they’ve ever seen?’ … But I’m grateful to the film, and to Robert Wise, who’s a great director and a gentleman, and to Julie [Andrews], who’s remained a terrific friend.”

Plummer, right, as Sherlock Holmes with James Mason as Watson in Murder By Decree.
Plummer, proper, as Sherlock Holmes with James Mason as Watson in Homicide By Decree. {Photograph}:

After The Sound of Music, Plummer was in demand as a personality actor in high-profile movies, showing in all kinds of fabric, from The Royal Hunt of the Solar and The Battle of Britain in 1969, to Sergei Bondarchuk’s epic Waterloo (1970) and Return of the Pink Panther (1975). He performed Rudyard Kipling in The Man Who Would Be King and Sherlock Holmes in Homicide By Decree (1979). He additionally had success on stage, successful a Tony award in 1973 for the title position within the musical Cyrano.

Although he continued to work steadily within the 1980s and 90s, the standard of his display roles started to tail off. He accepted roles in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Nation (1991) as Klingon common Chang, and Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (1992) as a racist jail chaplain; he additionally performed virologist Leland Goines in 12 Monkeys (1995) and TV journalist Mike Wallace in The Insider (1999). His stage work, as earlier than, appeared to maintain him, with one other Tony award in 1997 for the title position in Barrymore, in regards to the Shakespearean actor John Barrymore, and a King Lear in 2002, directed by Jonathan Miller, which led to a different Tony nomination after its switch to Broadway in 2004.

Plummer as J Paul Getty, with Charlie Shotwell as J Paul Getty III in All the Money in the World.
Plummer as J Paul Getty, with Charlie Shotwell as J Paul Getty III in All of the Cash within the World. {Photograph}: Alamy Inventory Picture

Nonetheless, as he neared his 80s, Plummer’s display profession loved a pointy upturn. In 2010, he acquired his first Oscar nomination, for the Tolstoy biopic The Final Station. Though Plummer misplaced out to Christoph Waltz for one of the best supporting actor statuette, the nomination sparked a flurry of curiosity in his work, and two years later Plummer gained the Oscar in the identical class for Newbies, for his position as a person who comes out as homosexual in his senior years – and, at 82, he stays the oldest actor to win an Oscar.

Plummer subsequently broke one other age-related Oscar file, because the oldest actor to be nominated, when he secured his third Oscar nod in 2018, aged 88, for All of the Cash within the World, through which he performed J Paul Getty, the plutocrat whose grandson was kidnapped by the mafia in 1973. The movie’s director, Ridley Scott, stated later that Plummer had been his first alternative for the position, however that it had been supplied to Spacey due to Plummer’s age. Spacey was dropped after the movie was completed, and Scott reassembled the solid and crew to shoot new scenes.

Plummer was appointed Companion of the Order of Canada in 1968 and in 2001 acquired a governor common’s award for lifetime inventive achievement. He was married thrice, to Tammy Grimes, Patricia Lewis and Elaine Taylor, and had a daughter, the actor Amanda Plummer, with Grimes.

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