Beloved actor and national treasure Christopher Plummer sadly passed away yesterday, aged 91.
With a career spanning seven decades, he touched the hearts of so many and left a legacy which will be cherished by all generations to come.
Born in Toronto in 1929, Plummer initially began studying to be a concert pianist. However, after being inspired by Lawrence Olivier’s performance in Henry V, he decided to join the theatre. He starred in numerous Shakespeare productions with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, before going on to star in the 1965 musical The Sound of Music, resulting in worldwide acclaim.
His portrayal of Captain Von Trapp stirred up something magical in all our hearts. This musical practically encapsulated many of our childhoods, from being able to faultlessly sing every song by heart, acting out the “So long, Farewell” scene on staircases, or even imitating the spherical leaps around the gazebo in “Sixteen going on Seventeen”. Yet the most emotionally stirring moment in the entire film is where Von Trapp hears his children singing the film’s titular song. By mere facial expressions you see his heart slowly shed the stern exterior, mellowing into the warm-hearted father figure. So much emotion packed into one small scene is a clear showcase of Plummer’s talent and endearing persona.
The role launched Plummer’s career, opening many doors in the film industry. He flourished on both stage and screen with roles such as Rudyard Kipling in The Man Who Would Be King, Sherlock Holmes in Murder By Decree and the title role in the musical Cyrano which won him a Tony award in 1973. Even in his 80s Plummer continued to thrive, gracing our screens with a myriad of stellar performances. In 2010, he received his first Oscar nomination for the Tolstoy biopic The Last Station. Just two years later, his inspiring portrayal of Hal in the comedy drama Beginners won him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Aged 82, he became the oldest actor to ever win an Oscar.
He was a star that truly never stopped shining and never will. Tributes to the esteemed actor have poured in across various news outlets. Dame Julie Andrews, 85, who starred alongside Plummer in the Sound of Music, said: “I treasure the memories of our work together and all the humour and fun we shared through the years… The world has lost a consummate actor today and I have lost a cherished friend.”
Filmmaker Mike Mills, who directed Plummer in Beginners, has spoken about his passing. “It was a great honor to work with Christopher, to be in conversation with such a dedicated artist…Christopher was both dignified and mischievous, deeply cultured and always looking for a good laugh.”
Ana De Armas, his co-star in Knives Out, wrote: “My heart is broken, my dear Chris. I feel your loss deep inside. How lucky was I having you next to me in what’s been one the best experiences of my career. Thank you always for your laughter.”
He lit up our screens throughout his long life. All of his performances will enshrine his powerful legacy for years to come.
Words by Katie Heyes
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