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In memoriam: Christopher Plummer

| Friday, February 12, 2021

Elaine Park | The Observer

It comes as no surprise that we have lost a lot of big-name celebrities in 2020. 2021 has just started, but we have already lost a lot of influential artists and movie stars. But none of them were as well-known or as prominent as Christopher Plummer, who passed away on Feb. 5.

Born Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer on Dec. 13, 1929 in Toronto, Canada, Plummer lived a difficult life. His parents divorced shortly after he was born, and he was raised by his mother in Senneville, Quebec. While at school, he began to study to become a pianist, but he quickly grew a passion for theater. He took up acting after watching Laurence Olivier’s 1944 rendition of William Shakespeare’s “Henry V.” Despite going to acting school, he never really went to college, something he would always regret.

Plummer made his acting debut in 1948 with Ottawa’s Stage Society, where he performed as an apprentice alongside William Shatner. He made his Canadian television debut in 1953 with a production of another Shakespeare play, “Othello.” He also made his American television debut that year in Studio One’s “The Gathering Night.”

Plummer’s many contributions to acting were primarily Shakespearean, such as “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Richard III” in 1961. In 1964, he starred in the American epic drama “The Fall of the Roman Empire,” where the film was unfortunately a box office failure.

One year later, Plummer went on to star in what was then the highest grossing film of all time, “The Sound of Music,” based on the 1959 stage musical of the same name. The film tells the true story of the Von Trapp family, who are taught music by an Austrian woman named Maria (Julie Andrews). Plummer played Captain Georg Von Trapp, the patriarch of the Von Trapp family. When the film was released, it delighted audiences, despite mixed reviews from critics.

Despite the success of the film, Plummer was not happy with the character of Georg Von Trapp. He described the experience of filming the movie as “so awful and sentimental and gooey.” He at first refused to attend the cast reunion for the movie’s 40th anniversary, but five years later he relented and attended the 45th.

In 1977, Plummer starred in the television drama “Jesus of Nazareth,” which depicted the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Plummer portrayed Herod Antipas, one of the leaders who put Jesus on trial.

Plummer married three times. His first marriage, Tammy Grimes, lasted from 1956 to 1960; they had a daughter, actress Amanda Plummer. His second marriage was to journalist Patricia Lewis, which lasted from 1962 to 1967. Three years after his second divorce, Plummer married Elaine Taylor in 1970 in Weston, Connecticut, with whom he remained for the over fifty years.

According to Elaine Taylor, Plummer suffered a hit to the head after a fall. He died with Elaine by his side.

Throughout his 91 years, Plummer received many honors for his work. He won numerous awards for his acting, including an Academy Award for the 2011 rom-com “Beginners.” But the highest honor he ever received was the Companion of the Order of Canada in 1968 for his contributions to the performing arts, both at home and abroad.

Christopher Plummer brought joy to everyone who watched his work. His memory will forever be remembered, and he will live on in our hearts.

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