Christopher Plummer: Wikis


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Christopher Plummer

Plummer at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival
Born Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer
December 13, 1929 (1929-12-13) (age 80)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Occupation Actor
Years active 1953-present
Spouse(s) Tammy Grimes (1956-1960) (divorced) 1 child
Patricia Lewis (1962-1967)(divorced)
Elaine Taylor (1970-present)

Christopher Plummer, CC (born December 13, 1929) is a Canadian theatre, film and television actor.

In a career that spans over five decades and includes substantial roles in film, television, and theatre, Plummer is perhaps best known for the role of Captain Georg von Trapp in The Sound of Music. His most recent film roles include the DisneyPixar 2009 film Up as Charles Muntz, the Shane Acker production 9 as 1, The Last Station as Leo Tolstoy and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus as Doctor Parnassus.


Early life

Plummer was born Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the son of Isabella Mary (née Abbott) and John Orme Plummer, who was secretary to the Dean of Sciences at McGill University.[1] His maternal great-grandfather was Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Abbott.[2] Plummer was an only child. His parents were divorced shortly after he was born, and he was raised at the Abbott family home at Senneville, Quebec, outside Montreal.[3][4] He studied to be a concert pianist, but developed a love for the theatre at an early age, and began acting in high school. He travelled by train to gain experience with the Canadian Repertory Theatre (the CRT) in Ottawa.


Plummer has played most of the great roles in classic repertoire. In 1973, he appeared on Broadway as the swordsman and poet Cyrano de Bergerac in Cyrano, a musical adaptation of Edmond Rostand's 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac by Anthony Burgess (libretto and lyrics) and Michael J. Lewis (music). For that performance, Plummer won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance.

In 2004, he appeared in a lauded production of King Lear, directed by Jonathan Miller and performed at Lincoln Center. Plummer's performance as Lear garnered him his sixth Tony nomination.[5]

He returned to Broadway in 2007 as Henry Drummond in a revival of Inherit the Wind, winning a Drama Desk Award nomination as well as his seventh Tony nomination.

Plummer returned to the stage at The Stratford Festival of Canada in August 2008 in a critically acclaimed performance as Julius Caesar in George Bernard Shaw's "Caesar and Cleopatra" directed by Tony winner Des McAnuff; this production was videotaped and shown in high-definition in Canadian cinemas on January 31, 2009 (with an encore presentation on February 23, 2009) and broadcast on April 4, 2009 on Bravo! in Canada. Plummer is once again returning to the Stratford Festival of Canada in the Summer of 2010 in The Tempest as the lead character, Prospero.


Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1959.

Plummer's eclectic career on screen began in 1958 when Sidney Lumet cast him as a young writer in Stage Struck. Since then he has appeared in a vast number of notable films which include The Man Who Would Be King, The Fall of the Roman Empire, Jesus of Nazareth, The Return of the Pink Panther, Battle of Britain, Waterloo, The Silent Partner, Dragnet, Shadow Dancing, Inside Daisy Clover, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Malcolm X, Dolores Claiborne, Wolf, Twelve Monkeys, Murder by Decree, Somewhere in Time and Syriana.

One of Plummer's most critically acclaimed roles was that of television journalist Mike Wallace in Michael Mann's Oscar-nominated The Insider, for which he won Boston, Los Angeles, and National Society of Film Critics Awards for 'Best Supporting Actor'; he was also nominated for Chicago and Las Vegas Film Critics Awards, as well as a Satellite Award. Predictions of an Oscar nomination circulated, but such recogniton only came in January 2010 when Plummer received his first Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of author Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station.

Other recent successes include his roles as Dr. Rosen in Ron Howard's Academy Award winning A Beautiful Mind, Arthur Case in Spike Lee's 2006 film Inside Man, and the philosopher Aristotle in Alexander, alongside Colin Farrell. In 2004, Plummer played John Adams Gates in National Treasure.

Owing to the box office success and continued popularity of The Sound of Music (1965), Plummer remains best known for his portrayal of Captain Von Trapp, a role he reportedly disliked.[6] Referring to the film as "the sound of mucus," he declined to attend its cast reunion.

Plummer has also done some voice work, such as his role of the villainous Grand Duke of Owls in Rock-a-Doodle, the antagonistic Charles Muntz in Up and the elder leader 1 in the Tim Burton-produced action/sci-fi film 9.


Among his television appearances, which number almost a hundred, are the Emmy-winning BBC production Hamlet at Elsinore, the five-time Emmy winning The Thorn Birds, the Emmy-winning Nuremberg, the Emmy-winning Little Moon of Alban and the Emmy-winning Moneychangers.

He co-starred in American Tragedy as F. Lee Bailey (for which he received a Golden Globe Nomination), and appeared in Four Minute Mile, Miracle Planet, and a documentary by Ric Burns' about Eugene O’Neill. He received an Emmy nomination for his performance in Our Fathers and reunited with Julie Andrews for a television production of On Golden Pond. He also played Herod Antipas in the miniseries, Jesus of Nazareth and was the narrator for The Gospel of John. He also co-starred with Gregory Peck in The Scarlet and The Black.

He narrated the animated television series Madeline as well as the animated television series David the Gnome.

Plummer has also written for the stage, television and the concert-hall. Plummer and Sir Neville Marriner rearranged Shakespeare’s Henry V with Sir William Walton’s music as a concert piece. They recorded the work with Marriner's chamber orchestra the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.

He performed it and other works with the New York Philharmonic and symphony orchestras of London, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Ohio, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax. With Marriner he made his Carnegie Hall debut in his own arrangements of Mendelssohn’s incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Honours and awards

Plummer has won many honours in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Austria. He was the first winner of Canada's Genie Award, for Best Actor in Murder by Decree (1980) and has received three other Genie nominations. Plummer has won two Tony Awards (from seven nominations), and two Emmy Awards (six nominations) in the United States, and Great Britain's Evening Standard Award.

In 1968 he was invested as Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honour. In 2001 he received the Canadian Governor General's Lifetime Achievement Award. He was made an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts at New York's Juilliard School and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, McGill University, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Ottawa, and most recently the University of Guelph. Plummer was inducted into the American Theatre's Hall of Fame in 1986 and into Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto in 1997.

His awards include the following:

Personal life

Plummer has been married three times. His first marriage, to Tony Award-winning actress Tammy Grimes, was in 1956 and lasted for four years. The couple's daughter, Amanda Plummer (born 1957), is an acclaimed actress in her own right, but (as he mentions in his autobiography) he had no contact with her whatsoever during her early and teenage years. They now maintain a friendly relationship. Plummer was married to journalist Patricia Lewis from May 4, 1962 until their divorce in 1967. He and his third wife, British dancer and actress Elaine Regina Taylor, have been married since 1970 and live in a 100-year-old converted farm house in Connecticut.[7]

In a 2005 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Plummer maintained that in their early days he and his fellow actors didn't drink "because we had problems. We drank 'cause we adored it! We adored getting drunk, you a--holes! Don't tell me that it isn't fun! I can't bear that. Oh, you must have had some awful childhood, that you drank like that. Nonsense! Actually, I was taught as a child to drink. I came from a family that loved wine. I was twelve, I think, when I was drinking wine with dinner. I'm glad I had fun and lived in a fun time."

Plummer's memoir, In Spite of Myself,[8] was published by Knopf Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., in November 2008.


Year Film Role Notes
1958 Stage Struck Joe Sheridan
Wind Across the Everglades Walt Murdock
1959 A Doll's House Torvald Helmer
1961 Playdate Host
1962 Cyrano de Bergerac Cyrano de Bergerac
1964 The Fall of the Roman Empire Commodus
Hamlet at Elsinore Hamlet
1965 The Sound of Music Captain Von Trapp
1966 Inside Daisy Clover Raymond Swan
Triple Cross Eddie Chapman
1967 The Night of the Generals Field Marshal Rommel
Oedipus the King Oedipus
1968 Nobody Runs Forever Sir James Quentin
1969 Battle of Britain Squadron Leader Colin Harvey
The Royal Hunt of the Sun Atahualpa
Lock Up Your Daughters! Lord Foppington
1970 Waterloo Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
1971 Don Juan in Hell Don Juan
1973 The Pyx Dt. Sgt. Jim Henderson
1974 After the Fall Quentin
The Happy Prince The Happy Prince
1975 The Spiral Staircase Dr. Joe Sherman
The Return of the Pink Panther Sir Charles Litton
Conduct Unbecoming Maj. Alastair Wimbourne
The Man Who Would Be King Rudyard Kipling
The Day That Shook the World Archduke Ferdinand of Austria
1976 Aces High Capt. 'Uncle' Sinclair
Arthur Hailey's the Moneychangers Roscoe Heyward Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
1977 Jesus of Nazareth Herod Antipas
Uppdraget Captain Behounek
The Disappearance Deverell
Silver Blaze Sherlock Holmes
1978 The Silent Partner Harry Reikle
International Velvet John Seaton
1979 Starcrash Emperor
Murder by Decree Sherlock Holmes Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Riel John A. Macdonald
Hanover Street Paul Sellinger
1980 Desperate Voyage Burrifous
The Shadow Box Brian
Somewhere in Time William Fawcett Robinson
1981 When the Circus Came to Town Duke Royal
Dial M for Murder Tony Wendice
Eyewitness Joseph
The Amateur Professor Lakos Nominated — Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
1982 Little Gloria... Happy at Last Reggie Vanderbilt
1983 The Scarlet and the Black Col. Herbert Kappler
The Thorn Birds Archbishop Vittorio Contini-Verchese Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
Prototype Dr. Carl Forrester
1984 Lily in Love Fitzroy Wynn/Roberto Terranova
Dreamscape Bob Blair
Highpoint James Hatcher
Terror in the Aisles Archival appearance
Ordeal by Innocence Leo Argyle
1985 Játszani kell
The World of David the Gnome
Rumpelstiltskin Narrator
1986 The Boy in Blue Knox
Crossings Armand DeVilliers
The Boss' Wife Mr. Roalvang
An American Tail Henri
Spearfield's Daughter Lord Jack Cruze
Vampire in Venice Professor Paris Catalano
1987 Dragnet Reverend Jonathan Whirley
A Hazard of Hearts Sir Giles Staverley
The Man Who Planted Trees Narrator
The Gnomes' Great Adventure Narrator
1988 Light Years Metamorphis
Shadow Dancing Edmund Beaumont
The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind Narrator
I Love N.Y. John Robertson Yeats
1989 Souvenir Ernst Kestner
Nabokov on Kafka Vladimir Nabokov
Mindfield Doctor Satorius
1990 Where the Heart Is Shitty
A Ghost in Monte Carlo The Grand Duke Ivan
Red Blooded American Girl Dr. John Alcore
Money Martin Yahl
Madeline Narrator
1991 Firehead Col. Garland Vaughn
Young Catherine Sir Charles
A Marriage: Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz Alfred Stieglitz
Rock-a-Doodle Grand Duke
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country General Chang
Berlin Lady Wilhem Speer
The First Circle Victor Abakumov
1992 Secrets Mel Wexler
Impolite Naples O'Rorke Nominated — Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Malcolm X Chaplain Gill
Liar's Edge Harry Weldon
1993 Sidney Sheldon's A Stranger in the Mirror Clifton Lawrence
The Little Crooked Christmas Tree
Madeline Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance
1994 Wolf Raymond Alden
Crackerjack Ivan Getz
1995 Dolores Claiborne Det. John Mackey
Harrison Bergeron John Klaxon
12 Monkeys Dr. Goines
1996 We the Jury Wilfred Fransiscus
Skeletons R. Carlyle
The Conspiracy of Fear Joseph Wakeman
1997 The Arrow George Hees
Babes in Toyland Barnaby Crookedman
1998 Winchell Franklin D. Roosevelt
Hidden Agenda Ulrich Steiner
The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow Narrator
The Clown at Midnight Mr. Caruthers
1999 Celebrate the Century
Madeline: Lost in Paris Narrator
The Insider Mike Wallace Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
2000 Nuremberg Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe
The Dinosaur Hunter Hump Hinton
Possessed Archbishop Hume
American Tragedy F. Lee Bailey Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Dracula 2000 Abraham Van Helsing
Star Trek: Klingon Academy General Chang
2001 Leo's Journey Narrator
On Golden Pond Norman Thayer
Lucky Break
Blackheart Holmes
A Beautiful Mind Dr. Rosen Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Full Disclosure Robert Lecker
2002 Night Flight 'Flash' Harry Peters
Ararat David Nominated — Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Agent of Influence John Watkins
Nicholas Nickleby Ralph Nickleby National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
2003 Blizzard Santa Claus Nominated — Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
The Gospel of John Narrator
Cold Creek Manor Mr. Massie
2004 National Treasure John Adams Gates
Alexander Aristotle
2005 Our Fathers Cardinal Bernard Law Nominated - Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Must Love Dogs Jack
Syriana Dean Whiting
The New World Captain Newport
2006 Inside Man Arthur Case
The Lake House Simon Wyler
2007 Man in the Chair Flash Madden
Closing the Ring Jack
Emotional Arithmetic Nominated — Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Already Dead Dr. Heller
2008 The Summit P.J. Aimes
2009 Caesar and Cleaopatra Caesar
Up Charles Muntz
My Dog Tulip
9 1
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Doctor Parnassus
The Last Station Leo Tolstoy Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
2010 Priest Monsignor Orelas


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