Christopher Plummer

From New World Encyclopedia

Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer 2014.jpg
Plummer in 2014
BornArthur Christopher Orme Plummer
December 13 1929(1929-12-13)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DiedFebruary 5 2021 (aged 91)
Weston, Connecticut, U.S.
EducationHigh School of Montreal
Spouse(s)Tammy Grimes
(m. 1956; div. 1960)​

Patricia Lewis
(m. 1962; div. 1967)​

Elaine Taylor
(m. 1970)
ChildrenAmanda Plummer
RelativesJohn Bethune (great-great-great grandfather)
John Bethune the Younger (great-great-grandfather)
Joseph Abbott (great-great-grandfather)
John Abbott (great-grandfather)
F. B. Fetherstonhaugh (great-uncle)
Nigel Bruce (second cousin)
Janina Fialkowska (cousin)
Maude Abbott (great-aunt)

Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer CC (December 13, 1929 – February 5, 2021) was a Canadian actor whose career spanned seven decades, during which he gained recognition for his performances in film, stage, and television. He received multiple accolades, including an Academy Award, two Tony Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, and a Grammy Award nomination―making him the only Canadian recipient of the "Triple Crown of Acting" to also acquire a Grammy nomination.

On stage he acted in numerous leading roles, including Iago in Othello, as well as playing the titular roles in Hamlet at Elsinore (1964), Macbeth, King Lear, and Barrymore. In film he won widespread acclaim for his performance as Captain Georg von Trapp in the musical film The Sound of Music (1965) alongside Julie Andrews.

In 2011, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor at the age of 82 for Beginners (2010), becoming the oldest person to win an acting award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (a distinction he held until being supplanted by 83-year-old Anthony Hopkins in 2021). He also received an Oscar nomination at the age of 88 for All the Money in the World, making him the oldest person to be nominated in any acting category at the Academy Awards. Committed to his profession, he continued acting until his death at the age of 91, contributing greatly to the entertainment field, bringing great joy to the public through outstanding performances in both modern and classic material.


Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer was born on December 13, 1929, in Toronto, Ontario. He was the only child of John Orme Plummer, who sold stocks and other securities,[1] and Isabella Mary Abbott, who worked as secretary to the Dean of Sciences at McGill University, and was the granddaughter of Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Abbott.[2] On his father's side, Plummer's great-uncle was patent lawyer and agent F. B. Fetherstonhaugh.[1] Plummer was also a second cousin of British actor Nigel Bruce, known for portraying Doctor Watson to Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes.[2]

Plummer's parents separated shortly after his birth, and he was brought up mainly by his mother in the Abbott family home in Senneville, Quebec, on the western tip of Montreal island. He spoke English and French fluently. As a schoolboy, he began studying to be a concert pianist, but developed a love for theatre at an early age, and began acting while he was attending the High School of Montreal. Plummer took up acting after watching Laurence Olivier's film Henry V (1944), and learned the basics as an apprentice with the Montreal Repertory Theatre, where fellow Montrealer William Shatner also played.[3] Plummer never attended university, something he regretted all his life.[4]

Plummer was married three times.[5] His first wife was actress Tammy Grimes, whom he married in 1956, and they had a daughter, actress Amanda Plummer, born March 23, 1957. He was next married to Patricia Lewis, a journalist, from May 4, 1962, until their divorce in 1967. Three years after his second divorce, Plummer married actress Elaine Taylor on October 2, 1970. They lived in Weston, Connecticut.

Plummer died at his home in Weston, on February 5, 2021, at the age of 91. A statement released by the family announced that Plummer had died peacefully with his wife by his side.[6]


In 1946, Plummer caught the attention of Montreal Gazette's theatre critic Herbert Whittaker with his performance as Mr Darcy in a Montreal High School production of Pride and Prejudice. Whittaker was also amateur stage director of the Montreal Repertory theatre, and he cast Plummer at age 18 as Oedipus in Jean Cocteau's La Machine infernale.[7]

Plummer made his Broadway debut in 1954 and continued to act in leading roles on stage, playing Cyrano de Bergerac in Cyrano (1974), Iago in Othello, as well as playing the titular roles in Hamlet at Elsinore (1964), Macbeth, King Lear, and Barrymore.

After appearing on stage, he made his film debut in Stage Struck (1958), landed his first starring role that same year in Wind Across the Everglades, and won widespread acclaim for his performance as Captain Georg von Trapp in the musical film The Sound of Music (1965) alongside Julie Andrews. He went on to play numerous major historical figures as well as fictional characters.

Plummer made his Canadian television debut in the February 1953 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation production of Othello. He went on to appear in numerous shows, winning several awards and accolades.


Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1959

1948–1958: Early career

Plummer made his professional acting debut in 1948 with Ottawa's Stage Society after which he performed roles as an apprentice artist with the Montreal Repertory Theatre alongside fellow apprenticing actor William Shatner.[7] In 1952, he starred in a number of productions at the Bermudiana Theatre in the City of Hamilton, in the British colony of Bermuda where he was seen and recruited by a US producer, although he was reluctant to leave Bermuda.[8]

Edward Everett Horton hired Plummer to appear as Gerard in the 1953 road show production of André Roussin's Nina, a role originated on Broadway by David Niven in 1951.

Plummer made his Broadway debut in January 1953 in The Starcross Story, a show that closed on opening night after a plagiarism lawsuit shut down the production.[9] His next Broadway appearance, Home is the Hero, lasted 30 performances from September to October 1954. He appeared in support of Broadway legend Katharine Cornell and film legend Tyrone Power in The Dark Is Light Enough, which lasted 69 performances from February to April 1955. The play toured several cities, with Plummer serving as Power's understudy.[2]

Later that same year, he appeared in his first Broadway hit, opposite Julie Harris (who won a Tony Award) in Jean Anouilh's The Lark. After appearing in Night of the Auk, which was not a success, Plummer appeared in Elia Kazan's successful Broadway production of Archibald MacLeish's Pulitzer Prize-winning play J.B.; Plummer was nominated for his first Tony as Best Actor in Play.[10]

Plummer then appeared as Jason opposite Dame Judith Anderson in Robinson Jeffers' adaptation of Medea at the Theatre Sara Bernhardt in Paris in 1955. The American National Theatre and Academy production, directed by Guthrie McClintic, was part of Le Festival International. Also in 1955, he played Mark Antony in Julius Caesar and Ferdinand in The Tempest at the American Shakespeare Festival (Stratford, Connecticut). He returned to the American Shakespeare Festival in 1981 to play the title role in Henry V.

He made his debut at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 1956, playing the title role in Henry V, which subsequently was performed that year at the Edinburgh Festival. He played the title role in Hamlet and Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night at Stratford in 1957. The following year, he played Leontes in The Winter's Tale, Bardolph in Henry IV, Part 1, and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing.[11]

1961–1978: Stage successes

In April 1961, he appeared as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing with the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. He also appeared with the RSC in May 1961 in the lead role of Richard III. He made his London debut on June 11, 1961, playing King Henry II in Jean Anouilh's Becket with the RSC at the Aldwych Theatre, directed by Peter Hall. The production later transferred to the Globe for a December 1961 to April 1962 run. For his performance, Plummer won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actor.

At the Stratford Festival, he played Philip the Bastard in King John and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. In 1962, he played the title roles in both Cyrano de Bergerac and Macbeth, returning in 1967 to play Mark Antony in Antony and Cleopatra.[11]

Plummer appeared less frequently on Broadway in the 1960s as he moved from New York to London. He appeared in the title role in a 1963 production of Bertolt Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, which did not succeed, but he had a great success in Peter Shaffer's The Royal Hunt of the Sun, playing conquistador Francisco Pizarro to David Carradine's Atahuallpa. Both performances were "stunning," as Plummer did wonders "of extraordinary beauty and deep pain" in playing his complex character.[12]

From June 1971 to January 1972, he appeared at the Royal National Theatre, acting in repertory for the season. He appeared in Jean Giraudoux's Amphitryon 38 directed by Laurence Olivier;[13] Georg Büchner's Danton's Death (director Jonathan Miller); Adrian Mitchell's Tyger; Luigi Pirandello's The Rules of the Game; and Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night at the New Theatre in London. From May to June 1973, he appeared on Broadway as the title character in Cyrano, a musical adaptation of Edmond Rostand's 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac by Anthony Burgess and Michael J. Lewis. For that performance, Plummer won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance. Later that year, he played Anton Chekhov in Neil Simon's adaptation of several Chekhov short stories, The Good Doctor. Another notable play in which he appeared was the 1974 adaptation of Arthur Miller's After the Fall, in which he played Quentin (a part originated on Broadway by Jason Robards) opposite Faye Dunaway's Maggie.

Plummer appeared in Lovers and Madmen at the Opera House at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in 1973 and in Love and Master Will at the same venue in 1975. Love and Master Will consisted of selections from the works of William Shakespeare on the subject of love, arranged by Plummer. His co-stars were Zoe Caldwell, Bibi Andersson and Leonard Nimoy. Plummer played "Edgar" in E. L. Doctorow's Drinks before Dinner with the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Public/Newman Theatre in New York City in 1978.

1982–1997: Othello and Barrymore

Plummer with President Ronald Reagan at the White House, 1985

In 1982, Plummer starred on Broadway production of the Shakespearean tragedy Othello, playing Iago opposite James Earl Jones' Moor. The production also featured performances from Kelsey Grammer as Cassio and Dianne Wiest as Desdemona.[14] New York Times theatre critic Frank Rich wrote in his original review, "Mr. Plummer, a sensational actor in peak form, has made something crushing out of Shakespeare's archvillain. He gives us evil so pure - and so bottomless - that it can induce tears. Our tears are not for the dastardly Iago, of course - that would be wrong. No, what Mr. Plummer does is make us weep for a civilization that can produce such a man and allow him to flower."[15] For his performance he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play, losing to Roger Rees in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

In 1988, he starred in another Shakespeare adaptation on Broadway in the title role in Macbeth with Glenda Jackson playing his lady.[16] Frank Rich wrote of his performance "Mr. Plummer's thoughtful, beautifully spoken performance best illuminates the strengths and built-in limitations of the entire enterprise. This actor grapples arrestingly with his early bouts of conscience, as horrible imaginings send Macbeth's heart knocking at his ribs."[17]

He appeared with Jason Robards in the 1994 revival of Harold Pinter's No Man's Land by the Roundabout Theatre Company. For his performance Plummer received his fourth Tony Award nomination. Variety film critic Jeremy Gerard praised Plummer's performance while critiquing Robards:

They’re a remarkable pair to watch wrangling with Pinter’s elliptical, often uncrackable script. As it happens, Plummer emerges triumphant, while Robards seems utterly at sea. ... Plummer plays the humor and the bathos with equal ease and complete conviction. By turns funny and heartbreaking, it’s an exquisite, haunting performance.[18]

Plummer great success in 1997 Broadway production of the William Luce play Barrymore portraying John Barrymore a few months before his death. Vincent Canby in his New York Times review he praised Plummer for his performance "With the confidence of the superb actor he has become, and in the trim of an athlete, Christopher Plummer is here in a new play, giving an achingly funny, memorably strong and debonair performance."[19] After a successful run on Broadway he went on tour with production. His performance brought him his second Tony Award (this time as Best Actor in a Play) and a Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Actor in a Play.

2002–2014: Final stage roles

In 2002, he appeared in a lauded production of King Lear, directed by Jonathan Miller. The production successfully transferred to New York City's Lincoln Center in 2004.[20] He was nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for his 2004 King Lear and for a Tony Award playing Henry Drummond in the 2007 revival of Inherit the Wind.

He returned to the stage at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in August 2008 in a critically acclaimed performance as Julius Caesar in George Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra directed by Tony Award winner Des McAnuff. The production was videotaped and shown in high-definition in Canadian cinemas on January 31, 2009 (with an encore presentation on February 23, 2009) and broadcast on April 4, 2009, on Bravo! in Canada.

In 2009 and 2010, Plummer starred in two stage to screen adaptations of the Stratford Festival productions of George Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra and William Shakespeare's The Tempest, directed by Des McAnuff and produced by Barry Avrich. The Tempest won Plummer a Canadian Screen award for Best Performance in a Performing Arts Program.[21] Plummer returned to the Stratford Festival in the summer of 2010 in The Tempest as the lead character, Prospero, and again in the summer of 2012 in the one-man show, A Word or Two, an autobiographical exploration of his love of literature. In 2014, Plummer presented A Word or Two again, at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.[22]


1958–1964: Early roles

Plummer's film career began in 1958 when Sidney Lumet cast him as a young writer in Stage Struck. That same year, Plummer played the lead in Nicholas Ray's film Wind Across the Everglades. In 1963, he was the subject of a short National Film Board of Canada documentary, 30 Minutes, Mister Plummer, directed by Anne Claire Poirier.[23] Plummer did not appear on the film screen for six years after 1958 until he played the Roman emperor Commodus in Anthony Mann's epic The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964).

1965–1979: The Sound of Music

Plummer won widespread acclaim for his performance as Captain Georg von Trapp in the musical film The Sound of Music (1965) alongside Julie Andrews.

Plummer in 1964

Although embarrassed, at first, about his role, Plummer remains widely known for his portrayal of Captain Von Trapp due to the box office success and continued popularity of the Robert Wise directed musical epic The Sound of Music (1965), which Plummer once described as "so awful and sentimental and gooey," noting that “You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some minuscule bit of humor into it.”[24] The film made cinematic history, becoming the all-time top-grossing film, eclipsing Gone with the Wind. He said he disliked almost every aspect of it, except working with Julie Andrews. Plummer avoided using its name, instead calling it "that movie," and commented that he was:

a bit bored with the character. Although we worked hard enough to make him interesting, it was a bit like flogging a dead horse. And the subject matter is not mine. I mean, it can't appeal to every person in the world. It's not my cup of tea." [25]

However, he admitted that the film itself was well made and was proud to be associated with a film with such mass appeal:

It was a very well-made movie, and it’s a family movie and we haven’t seen a family movie, I don’t think, on that scale for ages. I don’t mind that.[26]

He also said that he had "terrific memories" of making the movie, and had forged a lifelong friendship with Julie Andrews.[27]

After The Sound of Music, Plummer had roles in Inside Daisy Clover (1965), World War Two agent Eddie Chapman in Triple Cross (1966), and had a supporting role as Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in The Night of the Generals (1967). Plummer was cast to replace Rex Harrison for the film adaptation of Doctor Dolittle. This decision was later reversed, but Plummer was nonetheless paid $87,500 for signing the contract. At the same time, Plummer was performing in the stage play The Royal Hunt of the Sun and his whole Dolittle participation was so brief that Plummer never missed a single stage performance.[28]

Plummer had the title role in Oedipus the King (1968) and The High Commissioner (1968), playing an Australian in the latter. Plummer was one of many stars in Battle of Britain (1969), and the lead in a musical, Lock Up Your Daughters (1969).[29] In the 1969 film adaptation of The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Plummer plays the Inca Emperor Atahualpa to Robert Shaw's Pizarro. On screen, Plummer portrayed the Duke of Wellington in Waterloo (1970). The Pyx (1973) was his first Canadian film. He played Rudyard Kipling in The Man Who Would Be King (1975). He also appeared in the comedy The Return of the Pink Panther (1975), alongside Peter Sellers and The Silent Partner (1978) opposite Elliott Gould . He appeared in Aces High (1976), Starcrash (1978), International Velvet (1978), and Murder by Decree (1979) (playing Sherlock Holmes).

Plummer appeared in the romantic drama Somewhere in Time (1980), the drama Eyewitness (1981), the comedy Dragnet (1987), and Shadow Dancing (1988). Plummer also did some voice work, such as his role of Henri the pigeon in An American Tail (1986) and the villainous Grand Duke of Owls in Rock-a-Doodle (1991), both directed by Don Bluth.

1991–2009: Established actor

Plummer continued acting in films including the science fiction film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), which was a welcome opportunity for him since he was a fan of the Star Trek franchise. It also allowed him to perform with his former understudy and long-time friend, William Shatner.[30] He also appeared in Spike Lee's biographical drama Malcolm X (1992), Mike Nichols' horror drama Wolf (1994), Taylor Hackford's psychological drama Dolores Claiborne (1995), and Terry Gilliam's science fiction drama 12 Monkeys (1995).

One of Plummer's most critically acclaimed roles was that of television journalist Mike Wallace in Michael Mann's biographical film The Insider (1999), for which he was honored with several critics' awards for Best Supporting Actor, though a corresponding Academy Award nomination did not materialize.

Plummer's other turns from this period include his roles as Dr. Rosen in Ron Howard's Academy Award-winning biographical film A Beautiful Mind (2001), Uncle Ralph to the title character in the 2002 film adaptation of Charles Dickens novel Nicholas Nickleby, Arthur Case in Spike Lee's film Inside Man (2006), and the philosopher Aristotle in Alexander, alongside Colin Farrell. In 2004, Plummer briefly played John Adams Gates in the Disney adventure film National Treasure. He also appeared in Stephen Gaghan's drama Syriana (2005), the romantic comedy Must Love Dogs (2005), Terrence Malick's historical drama The New World (2005), and the romantic drama The Lake House (2006).[29] In 2009, Plummer gave a voice performance for Pixar's animated film Up where he played the antagonistic character Charles Muntz. That same year he also lent his voice in Tim Burton-produced action/science fiction film 9 playing elder leader 1.

2010–2017: Beginners

Plummer in 2007

In January 2010, Plummer received his first Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of author Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station (2009). Speaking to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview that aired on March 7, 2010, Plummer added, tongue-in-cheek, "Well, I said it's about time! I mean, I'm 80 years old, for God's sake. Have mercy."[31] On Oscar night, March 7, 2010, however, he lost to Christoph Waltz.

That same year, Plummer appeared in David Fincher's English-language film adaptation of Stieg Larsson's book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo starring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Stellan Skarsgård. The film was a critical and commercial success.

Plummer received his second nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Mike Mills' independent comedy drama film Beginners (2011) starring Ewan McGregor, and Mélanie Laurent. Plummer's win made him, at age 82, the oldest actor to win an Academy Award. When he accepted the award, he quipped "You're only two years older than me, darling. Where have you been all my life?"[31]

In 2015, he starred in the Atom Egoyan directed thriller Remember starring alongside Martin Landau and Bruno Ganz. Plummer played Ebenezer Scrooge in The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017), which is based on Charles Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol.

In November 2017, Plummer, who was director Ridley Scott's original choice to play J. Paul Getty in All the Money in the World, was cast to replace Kevin Spacey in the then-already completed film. The move came amid numerous sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations made towards Spacey. All scenes that had included Spacey were re-shot with Plummer. Co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams were part of the necessary filming.[32] For his role, Plummer earned Golden Globe[33] and Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor.

2019–2021: Final film roles

Plummer starred in the Rian Johnson directed mystery thriller ensemble film Knives Out (2019) alongside Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lakeith Stanfield and Michael Shannon. Plummer played Harlan Thrombey, a wealthy mystery novelist whose family is celebrating his 85th birthday party when a death occurs. The film premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival to positive reviews. It was an immense box office success, and was selected by the American Film Institute and the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2019.

In 2021, Plummer was set to play the lead for a film adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear, to be filmed in the summer, in Newfoundland, under director Des McAnuff. He died before filming commenced.


1953–1964: Early appearances

Plummer made his Canadian television debut in the February 1953 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation production of Othello, starring Lorne Greene as the Moor. His American television debut was also in 1953, on a Studio One episode entitled "The Gathering Night," playing an artist who finds success just as his eyesight begins to fail him. He also appeared throughout the 1950s on both dramatic showcase programs like The Alcoa Hour, General Electric Theater, Kraft Television Theatre, and Omnibus and episodic series. In 1956, he appeared with Jason Robards and Constance Ford in an episode entitled "A Thief There Was" of CBS's anthology series Appointment with Adventure.

He appeared in the live television drama Little Moon of Alban with Julie Harris, for which he received his first Emmy Award nomination in 1959.[34] He also appeared with Harris in the 1958 television adaptation of Johnny Belinda and played Torvald Helmer to Harris' Nora in a 1959 television version of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House. Plummer starred in the television adaptations of Philip Barry's The Philadelphia Story (1959),[29] George Bernard Shaw's Captain Brassbound's Conversion (1960), Jean Anouilh's Time Remembered (playing the role of Prince Albert originated by Richard Burton on Broadway), and Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac (1962). In 1964, his performance of the Gloomy Dane in the BBC production Hamlet at Elsinore garnered him his second Emmy nomination.[34] He played Hamlet in a four-hundred centenary television production Hamlet at Elsinore, produced by Danish and British BBC TV (1964), taped at Elsinore Castle.[35]

1977–1995: Miniseries

Plummer in 1995

He appeared as Herod Antipas in the television miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (1977) alongside the ensemble cast which included Laurence Olivier, James Earl Jones and James Mason. Plummer played Herbert Kappler in the true based television film The Scarlet and the Black. That same year, he starred in the five-time Emmy Award-winning television series The Thorn Birds, alongside Barbara Stanwyck and Jean Simmons. From 1993 to 1995, he narrated the animated television series Madeline, for which he received an Emmy Award, as well as the animated television series The World of David the Gnome.[34][36]

2000–2021: Final roles

In 2000, Plummer played Sir David Maxwell Fyfe in the Primetime Emmy Award-winning Nuremberg (2000) alongside Alec Baldwin, Brian Cox and Max Von Sydow, and the Emmy-winning The Moneychangers (for which he won his first Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series).[34] That same year he co-starred in American Tragedy as F. Lee Bailey (for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination),[33] and appeared in Four Minute Mile, Miracle Planet, and a documentary by Ric Burns about Eugene O'Neill. He received an Emmy Award nomination for his performance in Our Fathers and reunited with Julie Andrews for a television production of On Golden Pond.[34]

He was the narrator for The Gospel of John. Plummer appeared as a presenter in the CPAC documentary series The Prime Ministers in 2004. He appeared in the third episode, "John Abbott". In 2011, he appeared in the feature-length documentary The Captains. The film, written and directed by William Shatner, sees Shatner interview Plummer at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival Theatre where they talk about their young careers, long lasting friendship, and Plummer's role as Chang in Star Trek VI. The film references that Shatner, two years Plummer's junior, was the other's understudy in a production of Henry V at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. When Plummer had fallen ill, Shatner took the stage, earning his first big break.[37]

At the age of 89, he appeared in a leading role in Departure, a 2019 Canadian-British TV series by Global for NBCUniversal about the disappearance of a trans-Atlantic flight. Plummer was set to return to Departure for season 2. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Canadian travel lockdown, he filmed his parts from his home in Connecticut, instead of venturing to Toronto, in 2020 and 2021. He completed his filming for the second season shortly before his death.[38]

Other work

Plummer wrote for the stage, television, and concert-hall. He and Sir Neville Marriner rearranged William Shakespeare's Henry V with Sir William Walton's music as a concert piece.[39] They recorded the work with Marriner's chamber orchestra the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. He performed it and other works with the New York Philharmonic and symphony orchestras of London, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, Toronto, Vancouver, and Halifax. With Marriner, he made his Carnegie Hall debut in his own arrangements of Mendelssohn's incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream.[39]

Plummer's memoir, In Spite of Myself, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in November 2008.[2]


Following the announcement of his death at the age of 91, Lou Pitt, Plummer's manager of 46 years, said in a statement:

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.[40]

Plummer's The Sound of Music co-star Julie Andrews paid tribute:

The world has lost a consummate actor today and I have lost a cherished friend. I treasure the memories of our work together and all the humor and fun we shared through the years.[41]

Helen Mirren remembered Plummer with the statement:

I had the great honor to work with Chris Plummer in his Oscar nominated role of Tolstoy. He was a mighty force both as Man and Actor. He was an actor in the 19th century meaning of the word—his commitment to his profession. His art was total, theater being a constant and the most important part of the totality of his drive to engage with storytelling. He was fearless, energetic, courageous, knowledgeable, professional and a monument to what an actor can be. A Great Actor in the truest sense.[42]

Others who paid tribute to Plummer included Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Katherine Langford, Rian Johnson, Chris Evans, and Don Johnson (who all collaborated with him on Knives Out), as well as William Shatner, Anne Hathaway, Elijah Wood, Vera Farmiga, Ed Asner (his costar in Up who also died in 2021), Ridley Scott, Spike Lee, Simon Pegg, Antonio Banderas, Leonard Maltin, Daniel Dae Kim, George Takei, Russell Crowe (his costar in The Insider and A Beautiful Mind), Bruce Greenwood,and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.[6] He was referred to as "a lovely man and a legendary talent,” "one of the greats," "an extraordinary man," and "completely free, kind and funny."[43][42]

Awards and Honors

Plummer was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1968. He was given an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from New York’s Juilliard School and is the recipient of a lifetime achievement award by the Governor-General of Canada. In 1986, he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

Plummer received various awards for his work, including an Academy Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, a Golden Globe Award,[33] a Screen Actors Guild Award,[44] and a British Academy Film Award.[45]

In 2011, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor at the age of 82 for Beginners (2010), becoming the oldest person to win an acting award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (a distinction he held until being supplanted by 83-year-old Anthony Hopkins in 2021), and he also received an Oscar nomination at the age of 88 for All the Money in the World, making him the oldest person to be nominated in any acting category at the Academy Awards.[46]

He is one of the few performers to have received the Triple Crown of Acting, having won a competitive Academy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award in the acting categories, and the only Canadian to accomplish this feat.[47]

In 2016, Plummer received the Canadian Screen Award for Lifetime Achievement.[48]

In 1968, he was invested as Companion of the Order of Canada, at the time among Canada's highest civilian honours. In 2001, he received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts.[49] He was made an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts at New York's Juilliard School and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, McGill University, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Ottawa, and the University of Guelph. Plummer was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1986 and into Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto in 1998.[50] He was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the Actor's Branch from 2007.[51]

In 2021 Canada Post released a commemorative stamp that paid tribute to Christopher Plummer. Plummer helped choose the five roles that appear on the stamp to represent his much loved and celebrated career: Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Rudyard Kipling in The Man Who Would Be King, John Barrymore in Barrymore, King Lear in King Lear, and Prospero in The Tempest.[52]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bernie Fletcher, A famous son, a forgotten father Beach Metro Community News, May 19, 2015. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Christopher Plummer, In Spite of Myself: A Memoir (Knopf Canada, 2008, ISBN 978-0307396792).
  3. David Gardner, Christopher Plummer The Canadian Encyclopedia, November 11, 2021. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
  4. Stephanie Dearing, Renowned actor Christopher Plummer receives honorary degree Digital Journal, June 9, 2009. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
  5. Alec Witchel, Christopher Plummer's legendary life, wonderfully retold The New York Times, November 19, 2008. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Christopher Plummer: Star of The Sound of Music dies at 91 BBC, February 5, 2021. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Gaetan Charlebois and Anne Nothof, Plummer, Christopher Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia, February 9, 2021. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
  8. Gareth Finighan, Star Christopher Plummer's Bermuda theatre days The Royal Gazette, February 6, 2021. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  9. The Theatre: New Play in Manhattan, Jan. 25, 1954 TIME, January 25, 1954. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  10. Christopher Plummer Playbill. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Plummer, Christopher Stratford Festival. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  12. Caldwell Titcomb, The Royal Hunt of the Sun The Harvard Crimson, November 9, 1965. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  13. Richard Olivier, Joan Plowright, and Lyn Haill, Olivier At Work (Nick Hern, 1990, ISBN 978-1854590374).
  14. Othello Playbill. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  15. Frank Rich, Stage: Jones and Plummer's "Othello" The New York Times, February 4, 1982. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  16. Macbeth Internet Broadway Database (IBDb). Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  17. Frank Rich, Review/Theater; A 'Macbeth' Starring Plummer and Jackson The New York Times, April 22, 1988. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  18. Jeremy Gerard, No Man's Land Variety, January 27, 1994. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  19. Vincent Canby, Christopher Plummer Reigns As Barrymore The New York Times, October 6, 1996. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  20. Ben Brantley, A Fiery Fall Into the Abyss, Unknowing And Unknown The New York Times, March 5, 2004. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  21. Christopher Plummer Popular Timelines. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  22. Charles McNulty, Review: Christopher Plummer, a man of letters, says 'A Word or Two' Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  23. 30 Minutes, Mister Plummer National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  24. Sophie Schillaci, Christopher Plummer Recalls 'Awful,' 'Gooey' Sound of Music Role The Hollywood Reporter, December 1, 2011. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  25. Judy Abel, At 80, Plummer has arrived at his 'Station' The Boston Globe, January 31, 2010. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  26. Paul Fischer, Christopher Plummer for "The Last Station" Dark Horizons, December 28, 2009. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  27. Chris Iorfida, Christopher Plummer, Sound of Music star and oldest actor to win an Oscar, dead at 91 CBC News, February 5, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  28. Mark Harris, Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood (Penguin Press, 2008, ISBN 978-1594201523).
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Christopher Plummer British Film Institute (BFI). Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  30. Ryan Parker, Christopher Plummer Was a Diehard Trekkie Before Being Cast in 'Undiscovered Country' The Hollywood Reporter, February 5, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Luchina Fisher, Actor Christopher Plummer dies at 91 ABC News, February 5, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  32. Peter Howell, If any actor can quickly replace Kevin Spacey, it's Christopher Plummer: Howell Toronto Star, November 9, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Christopher Plummer Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 34.4 Christopher Plummer Television Academy. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  35. Hamlet at Elsinore BBC, April 19, 1964. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  36. Tim Brooks and Earle F. Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946-Present (Ballantine Books, 2003, ISBN 978-0345455420), 1444.
  37. Anthony Pascale, Exclusive Clips from William Shatner's "The Captains", July 18, 2011. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  38. Christopher Tsang, Christopher Plummer Finished Filming For Departure Season 2 Before His Death Screen Rant, March 5, 2021. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  39. 39.0 39.1 Pat Pheifer, Sir Neville Marriner, former music director of Minnesota Orchestra, dies at 92 Star Tribune, October 2, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  40. Mike Fleming Jr., Christopher Plummer Dies: Oscar Winner & 'Sound Of Music,' 'All The Money In The World' Star A True Hollywood Legend Deadline, February 5, 2021. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  41. Meagan Fredette, Julie Andrews Remembers Christopher Plummer: “I Have Lost a Cherished Friend” W Magazine, February 5, 2021. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  42. 42.0 42.1 Trilby Beresford, Hollywood Pays Tribute to Christopher Plummer: “A Giant of Stage and Screen” The Hollywood Reporter, February 5, 2021. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  43. Christopher Plummer: Hollywood pays tribute to 'one of the greats' BBC, February 6, 2021. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  44. Christopher Plummer nabs SAG Award for 'Beginners' CTVNews, January 30, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  45. Film in 2012 BAFTA Awards. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  46. Neda Ulaby, The Oscar Elders: 3 Octogenarians Make Academy Award History NPR=, May 20, 2020. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  47. Dan Zak, Only 22 people had ever accomplished this feat. Now, Viola Davis joins the club The Washington Post, February 27, 2017. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  48. Christopher Plummer set for Canadian Screen Awards honour CBC News, January 10, 2017. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  49. Christopher Plummer (1929-2021) Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  50. Christopher Plummer Canada's Walk of Fame. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  51. Gregg Kilday, AMPAS lays out red carpet for 115 potential members The Hollywood Reporter, June 19, 2007. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  52. New stamp pays tribute to legendary actor Christopher Plummer Canada Post Magazine, October 13, 2021. Retrieved December 15, 2022.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Brooks, Tim, and Earle F. Marsh. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946-Present. Ballantine Books, 2003. ISBN 978-0345455420
  • Harris, Mark. Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood. Penguin Press, 2008. ISBN 978-1594201523
  • Olivier, Richard, Joan Plowright, and Lyn Haill. Olivier At Work. Nick Hern, 1990. ISBN 978-1854590374
  • Plummer, Christopher. In Spite of Myself: A Memoir. Knopf Canada, 2008. ISBN 978-0307396792

External links

All links retrieved December 10, 2023.


New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards. This article abides by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.0 License (CC-by-sa), which may be used and disseminated with proper attribution. Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation. To cite this article click here for a list of acceptable citing formats.The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here:

The history of this article since it was imported to New World Encyclopedia:

Note: Some restrictions may apply to use of individual images which are separately licensed.