Christopher Plummer Biography

Birthday: 1929-12-13
Place of Birth: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Height: 5' 10½" (1.79 m)
Wiki Biography: Until the 2009 Academy Awards were announced, it could be said about Christopher Plummer that he was the finest actor of the post-World War II period to fail to get an Academy Award. In that, he was following in the footsteps of the late great John Barrymore, whom Plummer so memorably portrayed on Broadway in a one-man show that brought him his second Tony Award. In 2010, Plummer finally got an Oscar nod for his portrayal of another legend, Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station (2009). Two years later, the first paragraph of his obituary was written when the 82-year-old Plummber became the oldest person in Academy history to win an Oscar. He won for playing a senior citizen who comes out as gay after the death of his wife in the movie Beginners (2010). As he clutched his statuette, the debonaire thespian addressed it thusly: "You're only two years older than me darling, where have you been all of my life?" Plummer then told the audience that at birth, "I was already rehearsing my Academy acceptance speech, but it was so long ago mercifully for you I've forgotten it." The Academy Award was a long time in coming and richly deserved. Aside from the youngest member of the Barrymore siblings (which counted Oscar-winners Ethel Barrymore and 'Lionel Barrymore' in their number), Christopher Plummer is the premier Shakespearean actor to come out of North America in the 20th century. He was particularly memorable as Hamlet, Iago and Lear, though his Macbeth opposite Glenda Jackson was -- and this was no surprise to him due to the famous curse attached to the "Scottish Play" -- a failure. Plummer also has given many fine portrayals on film, particularly as he grew older and settled down into a comfortable marriage with his third wife Elaine. He thanked her from the stage during the 2012 Oscar telecast, quipping that she "deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for coming to my rescue every day of my life." Like another great stage actor, Richard Burton, the younger Plummer failed to connect with the screen in a way that would make him a star. Dynamic on stage, the charisma failed to transfer through the lens onto celluloid. Burton's early film career, when he was a contract player at 20th Century-Fox, failed to ignite despite his garnering two Oscar nominations early on. He did not become a superstar until the mid-1960s, after hooking up with Elizabeth Taylor on the set of Cleopatra (1963). It was Liz who he credited with teaching him how to act on film. Christopher Plummer never made it as a leading man in films. He did not become a star, lacking that je ne sais quoi that someone like a Gary Cooper or a Paul Newman had naturally. Perhaps if he had been born earlier (he made his debut in Toronto in 1929) into the studio system of Hollywood's golden age, he could have been carefully groomed for stardom. As it was, he shared the English stage actors' disdain -- and he was equally at home in London as he was on the boards of Broadway or on-stage in his native Canada -- for the movies, which did not help him in that medium, as he has confessed. As he aged, Plummer excelled at character parts. He was always a good villain, this man who garnered kudos playing Lucifer on Broadway in Archibald Macleish's Pulitzer Prize-winning "J.B." Though he likely always be remembered as "Captain Von Trapp" in the atomic bomb-strength blockbuster The Sound of Music (1965) (a film he publicly despised until softening his stance in his 2008 autobiography "In Spite of Me"), his later film work includes such outstanding performances as the best cinema Sherlock Holmes--other than Basil Rathbone -- in Murder by Decree (1979), the chilling villain in The Silent Partner (1978), his iconoclastic Mike Wallace in The Insider (1999), the empathetic psychiatrist in A Beautiful Mind (2001), and as Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station (2009). It was this last role that finally brought him recognition from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, when he was nominated as Best Actor in a supporting role. Plummer remains one of the most respected and honored actors performing in the English language. He's won two Emmy Awards out of six nominations stretching 46 years from 1959 and 2005, and one Genie Award in five nominations from 1980 to 2004. For his stage work, Plummer has racked up two Tony Awards on six nominations, the first in 1974 as Best Actor (Musical) for the title role in "Cyrano" and the second in 1997, as Best Actor (Play), in "Barrymore". Surprisingly, he did not win (though he was nominated) for his masterful 2004 performance of "King Lear", which he originated at the Stratford Festival in Ontario and brought down to Broadway for a sold-out run. His other Tony nominations show the wide range of his talent, from a 1959 nod for the Elia Kazan-directed production of Macleish's "J.B." to recognition in 1994 for Harold Pinter's "No Man's Land", with a 1982 Best Actor (Play) nomination for his "Iago" in William Shakespeare's "Othello". He continues to be a very in-demand character actor in prestigious motion pictures. If he were English rather than Canadian (he is the great-grandson of Sir John Abbott, the third Prime Minister of Canada) he'd have been knighted long ago. (In 1968, he was a made a Companion of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honor and one which required the approval of the sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II.) If he lived in the company town of Los Angeles rather than in Connecticut, he likely would have several more Oscar nominations before winning his first for "The Last Station." As it is, as attested to in his witty and well-written autobiography, Christopher Plummer has been amply rewarded in life. In 1970, Plummer - a self-confessed 43-year-old "bottle baby" - married his third wife, dancer Elaine Taylor, who helped wean him off his dependency on alcohol. They live happily with their dogs on a 30-acre estate in Weston, Connecticut. Although he spends the majority of his time in the United States, he remains a Canadian citizen.

Christopher PlummerPhotos & Pictures

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Filmography

TV Title Appeared As Year Genre
Dragnet 1967 - 1970 Comedy
Jesus of Nazareth Herod Antipas 1977 Drama
The Thorn Birds Archbishop Vittorio Contini-Verchese 1983 Drama
Counterstrike Alexander Addington 1990 Action
Madeline 1993 Animation
Wolf 1994 Drama
The Insiders Mike Wallace 1999 Drama
The 82nd Annual Academy Awards 2010
Kinderfluisteraar, De Chang 2011
The Insider Mike Wallace 2016 Drama
Movies Title Appeared As Year Genre
The Pyx 0000
Secrets 1933
Eyewitness Joseph 1956 Comedy
The Fall of the Roman Empire Commodus 1964 Drama, History
The Sound of Music Captain Von Trapp 1965 0, 0, 0
Inside Daisy Clover 1966 Drama, Music, Romance
Triple Cross Eddie Chapman/"Fritz Grauman" 1967
The Night of the Generals Field Marshal Rommel 1967 Crime, Drama, Mystery
Battle of Britain Squadron Leader Colin Harvey 1969 Action, Drama, History
Waterloo Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington 1970 Action, Drama, History
The Man Who Would Be King Rudyard Kipling 1975 0
The Return of the Pink Panther Sir Charles Litton 1975 Comedy, Crime, Mystery
Aces High 1976
Jesus of Nazareth Herod Antipas 1977 Drama, History
The Assignment Captain Behounek 1977 Thriller
International Velvet 1978 Drama, Family, Sport
Murder by Decree Sherlock Holmes 1979 Comedy
Hanover Street 1979 0, Biography, Romance
The Silent Partner 1979 Drama, Crime, Thriller
Somewhere in Time William Fawcett Robinson 1980 Drama, Romance, Fantasy
The Scarlet and the Black Col. Herbert Kappler 1983 Drama, History
The Thorn Birds Archbishop Vittorio Contini-Verchese 1983 Drama
Dreamscape Bob Blair 1984 Sport, Game Show, 0
Highpoint James Hatcher 1984 Comedy
Lily in Love 1985 Comedy
Ordeal by Innocence Leo Argyle 1985 Mystery, Thriller
The Boy in Blue 1986 Drama, Sport
The Boss' Wife Mr. Roalvang 1986 Comedy
An American Tail Henri 1986 Animation, Adventure, Comedy
I Love N.Y. John Robertson Yeats 1987 Comedy, Drama
Dragnet 1987 Comedy, Crime
Vampire in Venice Professor Paris Catalano 1988 Horror
Shadow Dancing Edmund Beaumont 1988 Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Souvenir Ernst Kestner 1989 Drama
Mindfield Doctor Satorius 1989 Thriller
Firehead 1990
Where the Heart Is Shitty 1990 Comedy, Drama
Money Martin Yahl 1991 Drama, Thriller
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Chang 1991 Action, Mystery, Sci Fi
The Triple Cross Eddie Chapman/"Fritz Grauman" 1992
Rock-A-Doodle Grand Duke 1992 Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Liar's Edge Harry Weldon 1993 Thriller
Madeline 1993 Animation, Family
Wolf 1994 0, Reality Tv, 0
Crackerjack Ivan Getz 1994 Action
Dolores Claiborne Det. John Mackey 1995 0, Game Show
Harrison Bergeron 1995 Sci Fi
Red Blooded American Girl Dr. John Alcore 1997 Horror, Thriller
Blackheart Holmes 1998 Crime, Drama, Thriller
Madeline: Lost in Paris 1999
The Clown at Midnight Mr. Caruthers 1999 Horror, Thriller
Hidden Agenda Ulrich Steiner 1999 Action, Crime, Mystery
The Insider Mike Wallace 1999 Drama, Thriller
American Tragedy 2000
Dracula Abraham Van Helsing 2000 Horror, Thriller
A Beautiful Mind Dr. Rosen 2001 Biography
Lucky Break 2001 0, 0, Biography
Full Disclosure 2001 Thriller
Nicholas Nickleby Ralph Nickleby 2002 0, 0, 0
Ararat 2002 Drama
Cold Creek Manor 2003 Game Show, 0
Alexander Aristotle 2004 0, 0, 0, Biography
National Treasure John Adams Gates 2004 Game Show
The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John Narrator 2004 Biography, Drama, History
Syriana Dean Whiting 2005 0, Game Show
Must Love Dogs 2005 Biography
The New World Captain Newport 2005 0, 0
Inside Man Arthur Case 2006 Crime, Drama, Thriller
The Lake House Simon Wyler 2006 Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Closing the Ring Jack 2007 0
Already Dead Dr. Heller 2007 0, Game Show, 0
The Secrets 2008
Man in the Chair 2008 Comedy, Drama
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Doctor Parnassus 2009 Game Show, 0, 0, 0
Caesar and Cleopatra Caesar 2009 Comedy
Up Charles Muntz 2009 Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Up! Charles Muntz 2009 Animation, Adventure, Comedy
9 1 2009 Animation, Action, Adventure
The Last Station Leo Tolstoy 2010
My Dog Tulip J.R. Ackerley 2010
The Battle of Britain Squadron Leader Colin Harvey 2010 0, 0
Priest Monsignor Orelas 2011 Action, Horror, Sci Fi
The Tempest Prospero 2012 Drama
Barrymore John Barrymore 2012 Drama
Elsa & Fred Fred 2013 Comedy, Romance
Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight John Marshall Harlan 2013 Drama
Hector and the Search for Happiness Professor Coreman 2014 Drama
Pixies Pixie King 2015 Animation, Comedy
Remember Zev 2016 Thriller