New York: Christopher Plummer, the dashing award-winning actor who played Captain von Trapp in the film ‘The Sound of Music’ and at 82 became the oldest Academy Award acting winner in history, has died. He was 91.
Plummer died Friday morning at his home in Connecticut with his wife, Elaine Taylor, by his side, said Lou Pitt, his longtime friend and manager.
Over more than 50 years in the industry, Plummer enjoyed varied roles ranging from the film ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’, to the voice of the villain in 2009’s ‘Up’ and as a canny lawyer in Broadway’s ‘Inherit the Wind’.
But it was opposite Julie Andrews as von Trapp that made him a star. He played an Austrian captain who must flee the country with his folk-singing family to escape service in the Nazi navy, a role he lamented was “humorless and one-dimensional”. Plummer spent the rest of his life referring to the film as ‘The Sound of Mucus’ or ‘S&M’.
“We tried so hard to put humor into it,” he told The Associated Press in 2007. “It was almost impossible. It was just agony to try to make that guy not a cardboard figure.” The role catapulted Plummer to stardom, but he never took to leading men parts, despite his silver hair, good looks and ever-so-slight English accent. He preferred character parts, considering them more meaty.
Plummer had a remarkable film renaissance late in life, which began with his acclaimed performance as Mike Wallace in Michael Mann’s 1999 film ‘The Insider’, continued in films such 2001’s ‘A Beautiful Mind’ and 2009’s ‘The Last Station’, in which he played a deteriorating Tolstoy and was nominated for an Oscar.
In 2012, Plummer won a supporting actor Oscar for his role in ‘Beginners’ as Hal Fields, a museum director who becomes openly gay after his wife of 44 years dies. His loving, final relationship becomes an inspiration for his son, who struggles with his father’s death and how to find intimacy in a new relationship.
“Too many people in the world are unhappy with their lot. And then they retire and they become vegetables. I think retirement in any profession is death, so I’m determined to keep crackin'”, he told AP in 2011.
Plummer in 2017 replaced Kevin Spacey as J. Paul Getty in ‘All the Money in the World’ just six weeks before the film was set to hit theaters. That choice that was officially validated in the best possible way for the film- a supporting Oscar nomination for Plummer, his third.