Los Angeles: Veteran Canadian actor, “The Sound of Music” fame Christopher Plummer (91), Oscar award winner passes away on Friday. His manager Lou Pitt said in a statement that the Plummer died at his home in Connecticut with his wife Elaine Taylor at his side.
“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,” Pitt said in a statement. “Plummer 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 starred as the aristocratic widower Captain Georg von Trapp opposite Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music,” the beloved 1965 cinematic tale of a musical family and their mischievous governess in Austria on the eve of World War II. Despite its enormous worldwide success, Plummer publicly despised the film, calling his role “gooey” in The Hollywood Reporter in 2011.
Plummer born on December 13, 1929 in Toronto, Plummer made his professional theater debut in Ottawa in “The Rivals” in 1950. He took to Broadway in 1954 with “Starcross Story” and broke into film in 1958 with “Stage Struck,” before crossing the Atlantic in the early 1960s to work in London Theater.
Plummer was dynamic on stage, earning praise as one of the premier Shakespearean actors to come out of North America in the 20th century. Some critics said he initially failed to project that charisma on the silver screen, but that changed with “The Sound of Music,” his best-known role. After that film’s wild success, Plummer earned a host of other leading roles over the decades, including as the first Duke of Wellington in “Waterloo” (1970), Rudyard Kipling in “The Man Who Would Be King” (1975), veteran CBS journalist Mike Wallace in “The Insider” (1999) and in Spike Lee’s 2006 heist movie “Inside Man”.
He also took on bit parts, from a Klingon general in “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” to the voice of a dastardly explorer in Disney-Pixar’s Oscar winning animated film “Up”. Plummer also took on many television roles, including a starring role in the popular 1980s miniseries “The Thorn Birds”. He won two Emmys one in 1977 for playing a scheming banker in “Arthur Hailey’s The Moneychangers” opposite Kirk Douglas, and another in 1994 for narrating an animated series featuring the children’s book character Madeline. He also won two Tony Awards for his work on Broadway, both as best actor in a musical and in a play. Plummer was married three times, the last time to Taylor. He is also survived by his daughter, actress Amanda Plummer.
Plummer was one of the most recognizable and admired character actors in Hollywood, with some 100 films under his belt and dozens of television roles. His first Academy Award nomination came in 2010 for “The Last Station,” for his portrayal of Russian author Leo Tolstoy. He finally took home the Oscar award two years later, becoming at the age of 82 the oldest actor to win an Oscar, for his supporting role in “Beginners” as a man who openly embraces his homosexuality only after his wife dies.
“Where have you been all my life?” he joked to the trophy at the awards ceremony, quipping that he had been rehearsing his Oscar acceptance speech since he was born. In 2018, he earned another Oscar nomination after standing in at the last minute in “All the Money in the World” for Kevin Spacey, who was dropped from the film following accusations of sexual misconduct.