Christopher Plummer, Oscar-Winning Actor, Dead at 91

Plummer was equally at home on stage and screen

Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer in 1980.
Toronto Star via Getty Images

What makes for a great career in acting? For one answer to that, you could look no further than the roles Christopher Plummer played over the years. His long career has, sadly, reached its end — IndieWire reports that Plummer has died at his Connecticut home at the age of 91.

Plummer’s career included a series of acclaimed roles on both the stage and screen. He was born in Ontario, grew up in Quebec and made his first impact as an actor with roles on Broadway. In 1958, he co-starred in Stage Struck for director Sidney Lumet — his first film in a screen career that would last for over 60 years. He won Tony Awards in 1974 and 1997 for his work in Cyrano and Barrymore, respectively. In 2012, he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in Mike Mills’s film Beginners.

Plummer’s most widely-seen role is likely that of Georg von Trapp in The Sound of Music, a film which he famously did not enjoy making, working with Julie Andrews excepted. “I was a bit bored with the character,’’ he said in a 2010 interview with the Boston Globe. “Although we worked hard enough to make him interesting, it was a bit like flogging a dead horse.”

Later in Plummer’s career, he took on high-profile supporting roles working with directors like Michael Mann (The Insider), Terry Gilliam (12 Monkeys) and Spike Lee (Inside Man, Malcolm X). And in the right role, you could sense the joy that he brought to his craft — his role as a wealthy mystery novelist in Rian Johnson’s Knives Out offers a host of examples of this.

The stage continued to hold a special place for Plummer. In a 2017 interview with CTV News, he recalled “the most exciting theatrical experience I’ve almost ever had” — playing Henry V at the Stratford Festival in Ontario in 1956. In the same interview, Plummer offered a sense of his ethos, helping explain the brilliance of his career.

“I want to push forward, is my motto,” Plummer said. His career stands as a tribute to that.

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