Opinion -  Christopher Plummer - debbiebissett.com

Plummer distinguished himself in practically all of the major Shakespeare roles. He was there for the blossoming of live TV, and he was open to both Nicholas Ray and Anthony Mann before landing up with Captain von Trapp. He has 217 credits on IMDb, not all of them distinguished, but many of them as colorful and vital and reckless as he was. 

He added to his classical repertoire with a Macbeth opposite Glenda Jackson in 1988, and Plummer won a second Tony for his one-man show “Barrymore” in 1997, in which he played John Barrymore at the end of his life. I saw Plummer on stage in this showcase, and what lingers in my mind is his physical authority, the way he commanded the space with his body and also with his voice, but also one moment of silence where he got across Barrymore’s agonized disappointment in himself, how he threw away his chance for theatrical greatness in favor of hedonistic living. There was the sense that Plummer was using some of his own feelings here to inform what he was doing as Barrymore, that for all of his fine and varied work there was a chance at greatness that he had just narrowly missed. 

For most of his more than 60-year career, Plummer split his time appearing both on stage and in films – among his movies were Stage Struck and The Man Who Would Be King. He even played a Klingon general in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

As the ’60s wound down, Plummer appeared in a handful of films, none of which made a huge cultural splash. In the theater world, however, he was royalty. He worked with Laurence Olivier, Jason Robards and Bibi Andersson, and in 1975, his labor on “The Sound of Music” paid off when he won the Tony for “Cyrano.” That same year, he appeared opposite Peter Sellers in the blockbuster sequel “The Return of the Pink Panther” and opposite Sean Connery in John Huston’s Technicolor adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Man Who Would Be King.” Through it all, Plummer continued to revel in the excess of the entertainment industry.

Christopher Plummer knew that he would remain best known to a mass audience as Captain von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” (1965), a worldwide mega-hit that he sometimes called “The Sound of Mucus,” but he had come to terms with its popularity by the end of his long life. That very wholesome picture needed the elegance and the perversity that Plummer brought to his role; in her review Pauline Kael likened him to “a spider on the valentine.”

Shortly after his birth, Plummer's parents divorced and he was brought up in his mother's family home in Senneville, Quebec, outside Montreal. At Montreal High School, he took on his first dramatic role as Mr. Darcy in "Pride and Prejudice." His performance caught the attention of Herbert Whittaker, a theatre critic and stage director for the Montreal Repertory Theatre, who cast Plummer at age 18 as Oedipus in Cocteau's "The Infernal Machine."

In addition to his Oscar, Plummer won two Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a SAG Award and a BAFTA Award.

Plummer was ironically best known for playing Capt. von Trapp in the wildly successful The Sound of Music — a movie he didn't much like. "It is not my favorite film, of course, because I do think it borders on mawkishness, but we did our damn best not to make it too mawkish," he told Fresh Air in 2007.

He said his relationship with Shakespeare changed over the years. "As you grow older, and you have some experience of life, you see more into the depths of each character," he told Fresh Air. Take King Lear for instance — "It is so very modern in its dysfunctional family and all of the trappings of power that are disappearing from them — is so modern, it's so human. You need to be much older to understand the depths of a part like that," he said.

Christopher Plummer, the revered Canadian actor who launched a stage career and later became an Academy Award-winning movie star best known for “The Sound of Music” and “Beginners,” has died. He was 91.

Plummer wrote in his memoirs about a drinking problem that began to engulf him in the 1960s, and though he continued to work regularly in theater and film he started to get stuck in supporting roles and in obscure projects. He joined Olivier’s National Theatre in the early 1970s but was fired from a production of "Coriolanus" in 1971 and replaced by Anthony Hopkins due to his bad behavior. 

Christopher Plummer, who passed away today at age 91, may be best remembered for his film and theater work, but he also won a...

Plummer was born in Toronto, the only child of Isabella Mary and John Orme Plummer. His father was secretary to the dean of sciences at McGill University. His mother was the granddaughter of Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Abbott.

Plummer was born in Canada, and he was inspired to become an actor after seeing Laurence Olivier in his 1944 film of “Henry V.” His very entertaining 2008 memoir In Spite of Myself details how he paid his dues in summer stock, learning comedy timing from Edward Everett Horton and emotional grandeur from Ruth Chatterton.

In 2012, when he was already well into his 80s, Christopher Plummer told NPR that he was busier than he had been in a long time – and that was OK with him. "You never stop learning how to act, both on screen and on the stage," he said. "I feel like I'm starting all over again. Every sort of decade I feel this, and that's very satisfying."

Plummer, an accomplished Shakespearean actor honored for his varied stage, television and film work in a career that spanned more than six decades, was best known for his role in “The Sound Of Music,” which at the time eclipsed “Gone With the Wind” (1939) as the top-earning movie ever.