Christopher Plummer Remembered: Julie Andrews, Ridley Scott, Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig And Many More Pay Tribute To “A Mighty Force”

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Tom Tapp
·11 min read
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Refresh for updates… Christopher Plummer’s The Sound of Music costar Julie Andrews has joined those paying tribute to the late actor, saying in a statement, “The world has lost a consummate actor today and I have lost a cherished friend. I treasure the memories of our work together and all the humor and fun we shared through the years. My heart and condolences go out to his lovely wife Elaine, and his daughter Amanda.”

Though Plummer often lamented being known most widely for his portrayal of the musical’s Capt. von Trapp, Ted Chapin, president of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, said today that the Oscar-winning actor eventually came to embrace the legacy, thanks in large part to costar Andrews.

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“Christopher Plummer was, well, the Captain,” Chapin said in a statement. “Although he had a love/not-so-much relationship with his role in The Sound of Music, he gradually came around to realizing that he might as well embrace the movie and his performance in it. On some of the movie’s anniversaries, he was coaxed to join in, and no one did the coaxing better than Julie Andrews. I shall miss the gatherings when I was often on ‘Chris’ duty, keeping him amused while, for example, Annie Leibovitz prepared for the anniversary photo. I shall miss him greatly, but I’m so glad his contribution to the Rodgers and Hammerstein legacy will live on.”

Tributes and remembrances poured in from all over the world for Oscar-winning Plummer who died today at 91.

Director Ridley Scott, who directed Plummer in All the Money in the World, said today, “What a guy. What a talent. What a life. And I was fortunate enough to work with him less than 2 years ago and had a wonderful experience. My heartfelt condolences go to Elaine. He will be really missed.”

Fellow Oscar-winner Helen Mirren said of Plummer, “I had the great honour to work with Chris Plummer in his Oscar nominated role of Tolstoy. He was a mighty force both as Man and Actor. He was an actor in the 19th century meaning of the word—his commitment to his profession. His art was total, theater being a constant and the most important part of the totality of his drive to engage with storytelling. He was fearless, energetic, courageous, knowledgeable, professional and a monument to what an actor can be. A Great Actor in the truest sense.”

Daniel Craig, who worked with Plummer on one of his final films, Knives Out, said in a statement, “I’m deeply saddened by this news. Christopher Plummer was a lovely, charming man. I was humbled and incredibly fortunate to get the chance to work with him. He was a joy to be around. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones.”

Craig’s collaborators on the film, including Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Don Johnson and director Rian Johnson posted their thoughts online. Jamie Lee Curtis shared a beautiful portrait she made of Plummer on the set.

Director Taylor Hackford said today that he was having a tough time making the aristocratic Plummer look rumpled for his role in 1994’s Dolores Claiborne. The actor himself came up with the solution:

Chris Plummer knew every acting trick in the book – and many that weren’t even in the book. When we were making Dolores Claiborne together in Nova Scotia with Kathy Bates & Jennifer Jason Leigh, I was having a terrible time getting my costume designer, Shay Cunliffe, to find an old rumpled suit to match the haggard, ruthless character Chris was playing, Inspector John Mackie. She had put 3 or 4 terrible suits on him, but each time he looked like a million buck$. Finally, I said: ‘Shay, why can’t you make this character looked like the rumpled, old cop I envision?’ Deeply frustrated, she said she’d picked the worst suits she’d ever seen. Chris walked over to me and whispered: ‘Taylor, it’s impossible for me to look bad in a suit – that’s just the way I’m built. But let me do something that will change all that – I’ll break my nose.’ While Shay & I stood there confused, Chris went into the make-up trailer, took an eye-brow pencil and drew a line across his perfect nose, expertly shading it into a deep and vicious scar. Immediately, his appearance changed dramatically – that old suit looked thread-bare and baggy – his face became haggard and hawk-like. My desired image of Inspector John Mackie suddenly materialized before my eyes. Chris Plummer always knew what to do to perfect a role – he and Kathy Bates went on to trade acting blows brilliantly – both delivering the definition of consummate acting.

One of Plummer’s passions was the Westport Country Playhouse. He had been associated with the theater since appearing there in 1953. He was board of trustees, and championed the Playhouse’s 2005 renovation.

In a statement, Anne Keefe, Playhouse associate artist said:

The entire Playhouse family is deeply saddened at the loss of one of our staunchest supporters. Chris Plummer appeared as an actor at the Playhouse in the ‘50s, but as soon as Joanne Woodward got involved, Chris was all in. He was a member of our initial Artistic Advisory Board, he appeared in our 9/11 tribute For the Children, and he christened the newly renovated Playhouse’s stage in 2005 with his brilliant A Word or Two, Before You Go as the first actor to perform on the renovated stage. He went on to be an active board member and an ardent supporter of everything Playhouse. We send our love to his wonderful wife Elaine and his daughter Amanda. He will always be center stage in our hearts.

Also remembering the Sound of Music actor were filmmaker Edgar Wright, who shared the newly popular gif of Plummer’s Capt. Von Trapp ripping a Nazi flag, as well as colleagues from the Star Trek universe, remembering the actor’s bravura turn as a Klingon commander in The Undiscovered County.

Deadline will update this post as more remembrances arrive…

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