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Christopher Plummer, Sound of Music Oscar-Winning Actor, Dies at 91

Stephen M. Silverman
·2 min read
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Christopher Plummer, Sound of Music Oscar-Winning Actor, Dies at 91

He took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2012 for his role in Beginners

Oscar-winning actor Christopher Plummer, the legendary actor best known for The Sound of Music, has died. He was 91.

"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," Lou Pitt, his longtime friend and manager of 46 years said in a statement to Variety. "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."

Born to a prominent family in Toronto, Plummer gave up a career as a concert pianist to join the theater. He performed in several notable Shakespearian productions before joining the cast of the 1965 movie that made him a familiar face across the world — The Sound of Music.

In his 2008 memoir In Spite of Myself, he confessed that he actually enjoyed the movie — despite previously criticizing it — when someone put it on at a children’s party.

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Amanda Edwards/WireImage

“The more I watched, the more I realized what a terrific movie it is,” he wrote. "The very best of its genre — warm, touching, joyous and absolutely timeless. Here was I, cynical old sod that I am, being totally seduced by the damn thing — and what’s more, I felt a sudden surge of pride that I’d been part of it.”

Several more Shakespearean roles, Broadway plays and Hollywood movies followed, including acclaimed turns in 1999’s The Insider, in which he portrayed 60 Minutes reporter Mike Wallace, and 2001’s A Beautiful Mind. His stage work won him two Tonys; his television work, two Emmys.

Liz O.Baylen/Los Angeles Times/Contour by Getty Images

In 1968, Queen Elizabeth II made him a Companion of the Order of Canada, then the nation’s highest civilian honor. In 2009, he finally received an Oscar nomination for The Last Station, and he took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2012 for his role in Beginners, in which he played an ailing elderly man who reveals that he’s gay to his son.

“You’re only two years older than me, darling,” he jokingly said to his statuette upon accepting the Academy Award at the time. “Where have you been all my life?”

He was later nominated again for Best Supporting Actor at the 2018 Oscars for his performance in Ridley Scott's All the Money in the World, and memorably starred in 2019's Knives Out.

Plummer was married three times, the first to actress Tammy Grimes, the second to journalist Patricia Audrey Lewis..

He is survived by his daughter from his first marriage, Pulp Fiction actress Amanda Plummer, and his wife, actress-dancer Elaine Taylor.