Plummer, Christopher

Plummer, Christopher (Arthur Christopher Orme), 1929-2021, Canadian-American actor, b. Toronto, Canada. Raised by his mother, Plummer first aspired to be a pianist, but then turned to acting, joining the Montreal Repertory Theater when he was 16. After performing in regional theater and on Canadian radio, he made his Broadway debut in 1954 followed by his film debut in 1958. He became associated in the ‘60s with a group of rebellious British actors, including Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole, who became as famous for their partying and drinking as they were for their performances. His breakthrough role was as Georg von Trapp in The Sound of Music (1965), a performance that he sought to distance himself from because of the film’s saccharine tone. He was known for his serious stage roles, often in Shakespeare’s works, notably for his Broadway performances as Iago with James Earl Jones as Othello (1982), and the title role of King Lear in 2004. Plummer won a Tony award for portraying the lead role in the musical Cyrano (1973). He made numerous appearances in major Hollywood films; his performance in the film Beginners (2012) as a man who, late in life, comes out as gay earned him an Academy Award at age 82, the oldest person to date to win for Best Actor. He was married three times, including to actress Tammy Grimes; their daughter, Amanda Plumber, is also an actress.

See his autobiography (2008).

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