Christopher Plummer dead at 91; prolific Canadian actor won an Oscar, two Tony Awards and two Emmy awards

February 5, 2021

by John Larson

Oscar-winning Canadian actor Christopher Plummer died at his Connecticut home on February 5, 2021. He was 91. According to the Associated Press, Plummer’s manager Lou Pitt announced the death and said that Plummer’s third wife, Elaine Taylor, was by Plummer’s side when he passed away.

Plummer’s most famous movie role was as Captain von Trapp in 1965’s “The Sound of Music.” He was a prolific actor who worked steadily in movies and television since the early 1950s. He had a role in a movie or TV show almost every year since 1953.

Born in Toronto on December 13, 1929, Plummer was the only child of stockbroker John Orme Plummer and secretary Isabella Mary Plummer, who eventually divorced. He began acting in plays while in high school. Plummer continued his theater work after high school and branched into radio and television. His first film role was in 1958’s “Stage Struck.”

Plummer won his first and only Oscar (for Best Supporting Actor) for the 2011 movie “Beginners.” It was his first Oscar nomination. He was 82 when he won the Academy Award, making him the oldest Oscar winner in Academy Award history.

He also received Oscar nominations in the Best Supporting Actor category for 2009’s “The Last Station” and 2017’s “All the Money in the World.” Plummer famously replaced Kevin Spacey in the role of J. Paul Getty in “All the Money in the World,” after Spacey’s #MeToo scandal caused Spacey’s scenes to be reshot with Plummer in the role.

His other well-known movies in the last 30 years before his death included 2019’s “Knives Out,” 2011’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” 2009’s “Up,” 2001’s “A Beautiful Mind,” 1999’s “The Insider,” 1995’s “12 Monkeys” and 1992’s “Malcolm X.”

Plummer won two Emmy Awards: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series for 1976’s “Arthur Hailey’s The Moneychangers” and Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for 1994’s “The New Adventures of Madeline.” And from 1959 to 2011, he received five other Emmy nominations.

He was also a busy actor in theater, having appeared frequently on Broadway and at Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada. He won two Tony Awards: Best Actor in a Musical for 1974’s “Cyrano” and Best Actor in a Play for 1997’s “Barrymore.”

Plummer was married three times. His first marriage to actress Tammy Grimes lasted from 1956 to 1960, and produced his only child, actress Amanda Plummer, who was born in 1957. After his divorce from Grimes, he married second wife Patricia Lewis in 1962, and the marriage ended in divorce in 1967. Plummer had been married to his third and last wife Taylor since 1970.