Christopher Plummer, the Academy Award-winning actor who starred in films including The Sound of Music, All the Money in the World, and Beginners, has died at the age of 91. The Canadian actor died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Connecticut, his family confirmed.
“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,” Lou Pitt, his longtime friend and manager of 46 years, said in a statement. “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.”
Born December 13, 1929 in Toronto, Plummer grew up in Senneville, Quebec and was inspired to pursue acting after watching Laurence Olivier’s Henry V. His portrayal of Mr. Darcy in a 1946 production of Pride and Prejudice at the High School of Montreal caught the attention of Montreal Gazette’s theatre critic Herbert Whittaker, who was also amateur stage director of the Montreal Repertory theatre and cast 18-year-old Plummer as Oedipus in Jean Cocteau’s La Machine infernale.
After moving to New York in the early ’50s, Plummer performed in numerous Canadian theatre productions and television adaptations of plays. He made his debut at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 1956, earning critical acclaim for his interpretation of Henry V. “From that time on my name was above the title,” he said. In 1959, he received his first Tony and Emmy nominations, for Best Actor in a Play (J.B.) and Outstanding Actor — Limited Series or a Movie (Little Moon of Alban), respectively.
Plummer’s film debut was in Sidney Lumet’s 1958 film Stage Struck, though he is best known for playing Captain John Von Trapp in 1965’s Robert Wise-directed The Sound of Music. Plummer notoriously had little respect for the film, refusing to attend the 40th anniversary cast reunion and often referring to the film as “The Sound of Mucus”, though he did eventually agree to provide commentary for a 2005 DVD release.
Plummer won an Academy Award for his performance in the 2010 film Beginners and was most recently nominated for Ridley Scott’s All The Money In The World, where he replaced Kevin Spacey in the role of J. Paul Getty. He recently co-starred in the ensemble of Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, though his final film role was for the Todd Robinson-directed war drama The Last Full Measure. His range of notable films also include The Man Who Would Be King, Waterloo, Star Trek VI, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Twelve Monkeys, A Beautiful Mind, Man in the Chair, Must Love Dogs, National Treasure, Syriana and Inside Man. He also made almost 100 TV appearances, including the Emmy-winning BBC Hamlet at Elsinore, the Emmy-winning productions The Thornbirds, Nuremberg, Little Moon of Alban, as well as HBO’s Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight.
Plummer is survived by his wife of 53 years, actress-dancer Elaine Taylor, who was reportedly by his side at the time of his death.