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Christopher Plummer, Oscar and Tony Winner, and Captain Von Trapp, Dies at 91

Plummer earned an Oscar for Beginners and Tonys for Barrymore and Cyrano.

Christopher Plummer
(© David Gordon)

Legendary actor Christopher Plummer has died at the age of 91, his family confirmed to Deadline. Plummer died at his home in Connecticut with his wife of five decades, Elaine Taylor, by his side. Plummer was the recipient of an Academy Award at the age of 82 for the film Beginners, and earned Tony Awards for his performances in Cyrano and Barrymore on Broadway.

Born in Toronto, Plummer began acting after being inspired by Laurence Olivier's 1944 film of Henry V. He worked with the Montréal Repertory Theatre, and appeared onstage in a 1948 Canadian production of Cymbeline, followed closely by a television production of Othello. He made his Broadway debut in 1954's The Starcross Story, and appeared on Broadway throughout the '50s in Home Is the Hero, The Dark Is Light Enough, The Lark, Night of the Auk, and J.B., for which he earned his first of seven Tony nominations.

At the same time, he worked internationally and regionally. He played opposite Dame Judith Anderson in Medea in Paris, starred as Mark Antony in Julius Caesar and Ferdinand in The Tempest at the American Shakespeare Theatre, and played the title role in Henry V at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, which was later performed in Edinburgh. Plummer's association with Stratford would continue into the 2010s, essaying roles like Leontes, Benedick, Hamlet, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, and Prospero over the decades.

Plummer's first film was 1958's Stage Struck. He earned Oscar nominations for performances in The Last Station (2010) and All the Money in the World (2018), in addition to winning the trophy for Beginners in 2012. Even with a prolific screen career, he was forever known for playing Captain Georg von Trapp in the 1965 film adaptation of The Sound of Music, a job that he never seemed to particularly enjoy. In his 2008 memoir, In Spite of Myself, he refers to the film as S&M and was commonly known to call it The Sound of Mucus. He did, however, provide commentary for a 2005 DVD release and joined the cast on The Oprah Winfrey Show for a reunion in 2010.

On Broadway, Plummer also appeared in Arturo Ui, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, The Good Doctor, Othello (opposite James Earl Jones), Macbeth (opposite Glenda Jackson), No Man's Land (opposite Jason Robards), King Lear (in the title role), and, finally, Inherit the Wind, opposite Brian Dennehy, in 2007. His screen career was no less prolific, also appearing on TV in The Thorn Birds (winning him one of two Emmys), narrating the animated series Madeline, and various video game characters.

Plummer was married to Tammy Grimes and Patricia Audrey Lewis, before marrying Elaine Taylor. Taylor survives him, as does his daughter with Grimes, Amanda Plummer.


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