Hollywood Legend, Christopher Plummer, Dead at 91 as Entertainment World Mourns
By: Adam Beam 2/14/21
Photo Courtesy: Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer in promotional image for The Sound of the Music
From the stage of live theatre to the silver screen, Christopher Plummer led a long and illustrious career spanning nearly five decades. A career that sadly came to an end this past week when the acclaimed actor passed away at the age of 91.
The Canadian actor began his career as a stage actor, performing in several traveling theatre groups where he found himself on the small screen during a live filmed production of Shakespeare’s Othello. Plummer would go on to make his Broadway debut in the 1953 production of The Starcross Story. In that time he would continue to perform a number of Shakespeare performances such as A Winter’s Tale, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, and the title role in Hamlet.
The actor would appear in small television and film productions until his legacy in Hollywood would forever be sealed with his iconic performance as the patriarch of the Von Trapp family in the 1965 film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical The Sound of Music. While Plummer had been vocal of his dislike for the film, he always expressed his love for working with co-star Julie Andrews. Despite his distaste for the production, it didn’t stop the film from becoming a cinematic classic, garnering a massive box office return and critical praise, including ten Oscar nominations and five wins, including Best Picture.
Following The Sound of Music the actor would cement himself as an actor of the silver screen, but this didn’t stop him continuing his stage performances. He won two Tony Awards, one in 1974 for his role in the musical Cyrano, and again in 1997 for his lead role in the play Barrymore.
Plummer would also receive critical praise for his roles on the small screen, he received two Emmy Awards in his long career, one for his voice over performance in the cartoon Madeline and for outstanding actor in The Moneychangers in 1997.
In his time on the big screen Plummer worked with some of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood with director’s such as Ron Howard, David Fincher, and Ridley Scott when he replaced actor Kevin Spacey for his role as J. Paul Getty in 2016’s All the Money in the World. This performance would garner him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. However, it was his role in 2011’s Beginners that would win him his first and only Academy Award, making him the oldest person ever to win an Oscar at the age of 82.
Christopher Plummer’s death was confirmed by his family and wife of 50 years Elaine Taylor, who say that he has passed peacefully at home with them by his side. A long time friend of Plummer, Lou Pitt, expressed the following, “Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old fashioned 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.”
With his passing dozens of his costars have reached out to express their grief. Knives Out cast members like Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Ana De Armas, and Jamie Lee Curtis all spoke out about the time they spent with Plummer. However, it was co-star Julie Andrews who statement was brief but was arguably the most poignant "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. My heart and condolences go out to his lovely wife Elaine, and his daughter Amanda."
Plummer is survived by his daughter Amanda Plummer and will be missed by many.