Christopher Plummer death: The Sound of Music star dies aged 91

Actor found stardom through his portrayal of Captain von Trapp alongside Julie Andrews

Clémence Michallon
New York City
Friday 05 February 2021 21:37 GMT
Comments
Christopher Plummer arrives for the 90th Annual Academy Awards on 4 March 2018, in Hollywood, California
Christopher Plummer arrives for the 90th Annual Academy Awards on 4 March 2018, in Hollywood, California (VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)
Leer en Español

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Christopher Plummer, who starred as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, has died at the age of 91.

The actor passed away on Friday morning at his home in Connecticut with his wife Elaine Taylor by his side, Lou Pitt, his longtime friend and manager, told the Associated Press.

“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,” Lou Pitt, Plummer's longtime friend and manager, told Variety.

“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 in 1929 in Toronto, Canada, Plummer became known around the world for his role alongside Julie Andrews in the 1965 film The Sound of Music. He was also an Oscar, Tony and Emmy winner who in 2012 became the oldest actor to win a competitive acting Academy Award when he took Best Supporting Actor for his role in Beginners.

Over more than 50 years in the industry, Plummer enjoyed varied roles ranging from the film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, to the voice of the villain in 2009’s Up and as a canny lawyer in Broadway’s Inherit the Wind. Recently, he portrayed Harlan Thrombey in Knives Out and J Paul Getty in All the Money in the World.

It was his role as Von Trapp that made him a star. Plummer played an Austrian captain who must flee the country with his folk-singing family to escape service in the Nazi navy, a role that the actor lamented was "humourless and one-dimensional". Plummer spent the rest of his life referring to the film as “The Sound of Mucus” or “S&M”.

“We tried so hard to put humour into it,” he told the Associated Press in 2007. “It was almost impossible. It was just agony to try to make that guy not a cardboard figure.”

The role catapulted Plummer to stardom, but he never took to leading men parts. He preferred character parts, considering them more meaty.

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

Plummer had a remarkable film renaissance late in life, which began with his acclaimed performance as Mike Wallace in Michael Mann's 1999 film The Insider, continued in films such as 2001’s A Beautiful Mind and 2009’s The Last Station, in which he played a deteriorating Tolstoy and was nominated for an Oscar.

In 2012, Plummer won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Beginners as Hal Fields, a museum director who comes out as openly gay after his wife of 44 years dies. His loving final relationship becomes an inspiration for his son, who struggles with his father’s death and how to find intimacy in a new relationship.

“Too many people in the world are unhappy with their lot. And then they retire and they become vegetables. I think retirement in any profession is death, so I'm determined to keep crackin’,” he said in 2011.

In 2017, Plummer replaced Kevin Spacey as J Paul Getty in All the Money in the World just six weeks before the film was set to hit theatres. That choice was validated with a supporting Oscar nomination for Plummer, his third.

In 1974, Plummer won the Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance in Cyrano de Bergerac. A second win in the same category followed in 1997 for his work in Barrymore.

Plummer won his first Emmy in 1977, taking Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series for his role in Arthur Hailey's the Moneychangers. He took home another Emmy in 1994, for Outstanding Voiceover Performance as the narrator in the TV series Madeline.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in