Oscar-, Tony- and Emmy-winning actor Christopher Plummer has passed away. He was 91.
The legendary actor with a booming voice and dignified presence died peacefully at his home in Connecticut, with his wife, Elaine Taylor, by his side, The Post confirmed Friday.
“Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old-fashion manners, self-deprecating humor and the music of words,” his manager and friend Lou Pitt said. “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.”
Plummer, whose career in acting spanned more than 60 years, was acclaimed for his mastery of Shakespeare, but is perhaps best known for his performance as Captain Georg von Trapp opposite Julie Andrews in 1965’s Oscar-winning “The Sound of Music.” He went on to star in countless major movies and stage productions. In fact, he said, he never wanted to stop acting.
“I love my work. I love what I do. And I’m so sorry for a majority of people who do not like their jobs, and can’t wait to retire, which of course, is death. I’ll never retire. I hope to drop dead onstage. That’s what I really want to do,” he said in 2017.
He was slated to appear in the animated feature “Heroes of the Golden Mask,” due out this year.
While discussing his 2017 role as Scrooge in “The Man Who Invented Christmas,” he shared with The Post his famously wry humor on the art of acting, in both good movies and bad — he notably scoffed at his “The Sound of Music” role, reportedly referring to it as “The Sound of Mucus” on set.
“The worse the movie, the more fun you have. If it’s a great script, you’re into it and motivated to make it even better. When it’s a bad script, you can have fun on the set and get nicely oiled at night,” he said.
Plummer was born in 1929 in Toronto and made his Broadway debut in 1954. Two years later he garnered critical acclaim for his role in “Henry V” — William Shatner was his understudy in the Stratford Festival production and stepped in when Plummer got kidney stones, he told The Post. On Broadway, Plummer played the title roles in productions of “Macbeth” and “King Lear.” He went on to win two Tony Awards — his first in 1974 for the musical “Cyrano” and a second in 1997 for “Barrymore,” based on the life of actor John Barrymore.
He entered the world of film after a stint in live television. His first big movie role was 1958’s “Stage Struck” before his widely acclaimed role in “The Sound of Music.” Fans will recall his other roles in movies and television including “The Insider,” “12 Monkeys,” “The Shadow Box,” “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” and “A Beautiful Mind.” He won an Emmy in 1977 for the series “The Moneychangers,” as well as in 1994 for “Madeline,” in which he voiced the narrator.
Plummer’s Shakespearean bravado stood out in, of all roles, his portrayal of Klingon General Chang, the Bard-loving character in 1991’s “Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country” who memorably quotes from “Julius Caesar”: “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!”
In his 2017 interview with The Post, Plummer was emphatic that his former understudy and over-the-top “Trek” icon Shatner was forbidden from giving him notes on playing the sci-fi role.
“He didn’t dare give me instructions! I was quite firm about that,” he said.
More recently, Plummer played the wizened patriarch Harlan Thrombey at the center of 2019’s acclaimed murder-mystery “Knives Out.” The role was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences as they noted his passing Friday.
In a 2009 interview, he recalled his friendship with Andrews after working with her on the iconic musical that made him famous to the masses.
“I’m very fond of Julie,” he told NPR of his co-star in “The Sound of Music.” “That’s the nicest thing that came out of that film for me. We have a true and great friendship. She’s an extraordinary woman, professional. I’m grateful to the film in many ways because it was such a success. It is not my favorite film, of course, because I do think it borders on mawkishness.”
More recently, he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing a 75-year-old widower who comes out as gay in 2011’s “Beginners.”
In 2017, he starred in Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World,” based on the real-life tale of billionaire J. Paul Getty and the ransom demanded in exchange for his grandson’s release after a kidnapping. He became the oldest actor ever nominated for an Oscar with that role, which was originally supposed to be played by Kevin Spacey.
“I had a wonderful time!” he said of the role. “At first, I was just concerned, ‘Am I going to be able to remember all this?’ Because I had no time to study my lines. I had one or two days before we hit England. To my great relief, I found that I could manage. Everything was made very comfortable by Ridley, he wanted to make everything as easy as possible, for which I’m very grateful. But he also has a real sense of risk, clearly, and he loves doing things he’s not sure he’ll pull off.”
“Acting is never boring,” Plummer said later. “We all pooh-pooh it from time to time, because it can often be hard work, but it’s never boring. Never.”
He is survived by Taylor, his wife of 50 years, and his daughter Amanda Plummer, 63, from his first marriage.