It was announced today that legendary actor Christopher Plummer passed away at age 91. Thanks to his more than 200 screen credits covering 8 decades, and especially for his role as Captain Von Trapp in the long-time family favorite, THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965), Plummer was one of the most recognized, most respected, and most beloved actors of our time.
Plummer was a three-time Oscar nominee: as Tolstoy in THE LAST STATION (2009); as J Paul Getty in ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (2017), and as a terminally ill man who surprises his family by taking a younger male lover in BEGINNERS (2010). It’s his terrific performance in that last movie that won him his only Oscar as he became the oldest actor to ever win a competitive Oscar. The “legendary” status I mentioned early stems not just from his work on the big screen. Plummer is renowned for his stage work, and was a two-time Tony winner, and he also won two Emmy’s for his TV performances. Although he was nominated for a Grammy, the EGOT eluded him.
There are too many memorable performances to list, but it’s amazing that 73 of his acting credits came after he turned 70 years old. In fact, one of his final appearances was in the excellent 2019 whodunit, KNIVES OUT. Plummer released his autobiography, “In Spite of Myself” in 2008, and he was the great-grandson of former Canadian Prime Minister John Abbott.
He was married for 53 years to his third wife, British dancer-actress Elaine Taylor, and among his surviving family is his daughter, Emmy-winning actress Amanda Plummer, who was so memorable in Quentin Tarantino’s PULP FICTION. Even if he hadn’t been such a talented stage and screen actor, Mr. Plummer likely could have had a nice career as a voice actor … such a smooth, sophisticated baritone.
May Captain Von Trapp “Bloom and Grow Forever”
In THE SOUND OF MUSIC, his singing voice was dubbed by singer Bill Lee, but here is a recording of Plummer’s actual voice singing EDELWEISS. Personally, I would have stuck with Plummer’s version for realism, but I’ll admit, Lee’s version brings a tear to my eye every time.