Oscar-winning actor Christopher Plummer, who rose to prominence for his critically-acclaimed film ‘Sound of Music’, has died at the age of 91, confirmed his manager on Friday (local time).
The prolific and versatile Canadian-born actor was critically lionised as among the pre-eminent Shakespeareans of the past century and has bagged two Tonys and two Emmys, along with the Oscar, according to the New York Times.
“Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old fashion manners, self-deprecating humour, and the music of words. 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,” Deadline quoted Lou Pitt, his longtime friend, and manager of 46 years.
His wife, Elaine Taylor, said the cause of his death was a blow to the head as a result of a fall.
Apart from ‘Sound of Music’, Plummer is also known for ‘All the Money in the World’ and ‘The Last Station’, in an almost seven-decade-old career encompassing acting opportunities from some of dramatic literature’s greatest works to some of commercial entertainment’s crassest exploitations.
Born on December 13, 1929, in Toronto, Plummer began his professional career on stage and radio in both French and English.
After his New York debut in 1954, the actor went on to star in many celebrated productions on Broadway and London’s West End, winning accolades on both sides of the Atlantic, according to Deadline.
Plummer made his Broadway debut in ‘The Starcross Story’ and already had built his New York stage presence when he starred in Archibald MacLeish’s J.B., the Tony- and Pulitzer-winning modern retelling of the Book of Job, directed by Elia Kazan.
He won his Academy Award for the 2010 film ‘Beginners’, becoming the oldest person at that time to win the award at 82. He was also nominated for the Oscar for ‘All the Money in the World’, where he replaced Kevin Spacey due to the sexual misconduct allegations that surfaced against Spacey.
Director Sidney Lumet introduced Plummer to the big screen in ‘Stage Struck’ (1958), and the actor’s range of notable films include ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ (1975), ‘Battle of Britain’ (1969), ‘Waterloo’ (1970), ‘Fall of The Roman Empire ‘(1964), ‘Star Trek VI’ (1991) and ‘Twelve Monkeys’ (1995).
Plummer has also made nearly 100 TV appearances that include the Emmy-winning BBC ‘Hamlet at Elsinore’ playing the title role; the Emmy-winning productions ‘The Thorn Birds’, ‘Nuremberg’, ‘Little Moon of Alban’ and HBO’s ‘Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight’.
He won a Tony in the title role of “Cyrano,” a 1973 musical version of Edmond Rostand’s “Cyrano de Bergerac,” and in 2007 he was nominated for a Tony for the Clarence Darrow-like role of Henry Drummond, opposite Brian Dennehy, in “Inherit the Wind,” his final Broadway appearance, according to New York Times.
Furthermore, Plummer was a former leading member of the Royal National Theatre under Sir Laurence Olivier and the Royal Shakespeare Company under Sir Peter Hall, where he won London’s Evening Standard Award for Best Actor in Becket.
Plummer’s first two marriages, to actress Tammy Grimes and British journalist Patricia Lewis, ended in divorce. In addition to Elaine Taylor, he is survived by his daughter with Grimes, the actress Amanda Plummer.