Christopher Plummer’s formal debut on the stage occurred in 1953 when he was cast in ‘The Starcrooss Story’ at Broadway; however, the show didn’t perform too well. His next performance in ‘Home is the Hero’ was more successful and stretched to 30 performances.
He made his TV debut with the series ‘Othello’ in 1953 and appeared in several TV series, including ‘Studio One’, The Alcoa Hour’, ‘Kraft Television Theatre’, and ‘Appointment with Adventure’.
His starred in the play ‘The Dark is Light Enough’ along with Katherine Cornell and Tyrone Power. This show was a considerable success and ran from February to April in 1955. They would also go on a tour.
In 1955, he starred in the Broadway drama, ‘Night of the Auk’, opposite Julie Harris and the play, ‘J.B.’, by Elia Kazan. He earned his first Tony nomination for his role in ‘J.B.’.
In 1956, he debuted at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival as Henry in ‘Henry V’. The next year, he played the main role in ‘Hamlet’ and a supporting role in ‘Twelfth Night’.
His association with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival continued for many years and he seen in ‘The Winter’s Tale’, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, and ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
He made his movie debut in 1958 with the movie Sidney Lumet’s ‘Stage Struck’. He next acted in ‘Wind Across the Everglades’. His next movie appearance was in Anthony Mann’s ‘The Fall of the Roman Empire’.
He appeared alongside Julie Harris in ‘Little Moon of Alban’, a live TV drama in 1958. Following the success of this, he starred in as many as 100 TV roles including ‘The Moneychangers’, ‘American Tragedy’, ‘Our Fathers’, and ‘The Scarlet and the Black’. He also narrated the animated series ‘Madeline’.
Towards the end of the 1950s, Plummer gradually disappeared from Broadway shows. He moved to London in 1960s in search of more work. He was later seen in ‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’ and ‘The Royal Hunt of the Sun’.
Continue Reading Below
His association with the Royal Shakespeare Company started in 1961 with his role as Benedick in ‘Much Ado about Nothing’. He later played the lead role in ‘Richard III’ and King Henry II in ‘Becket’.
His most popular role till day is in the Oscar-winning, record-breaking movie ‘The Sound of Music’ (1965). He played Captain von Trapp opposite Julie Andrews. Despite the worldwide recognition, Plummer later stated that he wasn’t inclined to play the role and disliked the movie.
In the 1960s, he starred in several other films including ‘Inside Daisy Clover’ (1965), ‘The Night of the Generals’ (1967), The High Commissioner (1968), and ‘The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1969).
From 1971 to 1972, he was associated with National Theatre in London and performed in several plays. Some of them include Laurence Olivier’s ‘Amphitryon 38’, Jonathan Miller’s ‘Danton’s Death’, and ‘The Rules of the Game’.
He was next seen in the musical ‘Cyrano’ as the lead character in 1973; His performance fetched him a Tony Award for Best Actor and a Drama Desk award for his outstanding performance. He also played the titular character in Neil Simon’s adaptation of Chekov’s stories ‘The Good Doctor’.
In the 1980s, his Broadway appearances include ‘Othello’ and ‘Macbeth’. Later, he was seen in ‘No Man’s Land’ and ‘Barrymore’.
His role as Mike Wallace the journalist in the biographic film ‘The Insider’ (1999) was highly appreciated and he received several awards for this role.
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, he was seen in various movies including the hits ‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country’ (1991), Syriana (2005), and ‘Must Love Dogs (2005).
He marked his return to the Stratford Festival in 2002 with ‘King Lear’, a successful production that was later staged at Lincoln Center in New York.
Continue Reading Below
In 2008, he played Julius Caesar in ‘Caesar and Cleopatra’ directed by Des McAnuff. The play was broadcasted later in cinemas across Canada. His role in ‘The Tempest’ in 2010 witnessed a similar success.
In 2012, he appeared in the one man show ‘A Word or Two’ which was an autobiographical journey where he chronicled his interest in literature. A sequel to this ‘A Word of Two Again’ was presented at the Ahmanson Theatre in 2014.
In 2017, he starred in Ridley Scott’s ‘All the Money in the World’, a role originally filmed with Kevin Spacey. Plummer’s role earned him a Golden Globe, Academy Award, and BAFTA nominations.
Apart from a prolific career as an actor, Plummer has actively worked behind the stage as well. He has written for stage and television, arranged music, and performed them as well. He remains an active part of the industry today.
Personal Life & Legacy
Christopher Plummer was married to Tammy Grimes, an actress, from 1956 to 1960. They had a daughter named Amanda.
He was married to Patricia Lewis, a journalist, from 1962 to 1967.
He is currently married to Elaine Taylor, an actress, since 1970 and the couple lives in Weston, Connecticut.
He remains one of the most respected actors in Canada. In honor of his achievements, he received the Canadian Screen Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2016.