Christopher Plummer Biography

Christopher Plummer

He struggled for 30 years to step out of the shadow of Captain Von Trapp before finding that stage acting and making Oscar-winning movies are just a few of his favourite things

Christopher Plummer was born Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer in Canada in 1927. Best known, perhaps, for strumming a guitar and crooning 'Edelweiss', as the Nazi-hating Captain Von Trapp in 'The Sound of Music', he is a bit of an unsung acting success.

However, he had appeared in a host of movies - including 'The Man Who Would Be King', 'International Velvet' and 'Dolores Claiborne', as well as regular TV movie work.

One of the survivors of the alcohol-fuelled school of acting - including Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole and Albert Finney - the classically-trained Plummer established himself on stage.

A hit on both sides of the Atlantic, he headlined for three of the world's most noted companies: Britain's National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company, and The Stratford Festival of his native Canada.

He made his film debut in Sidney Lumet's 'Stage Struck' in 1958 and went on play 'Commodus' (a role taken by Joaquin Phoenix in 'Gladiator') in 'The Fall of the Roman Empire' and Rommel in 'Night of the Generals'.

Roles followed in 'The Battle of Britain', alongside Michael Caine and Sir Ralph Richardson, and 'The Return of the Pink Panther', with Peter Sellers.

Next up was his popular success as Rudyard Kipling, in 1975's Oscar-nominated, 'The Man Who Would Be King', alongside Caine and Sean Connery.

Largely overlooked by critics, 'International Velvet' in 1978 offered a superb performance by Plummer, while his subsequent appearances included 'Ordeal By Innocence', 'Dragnet' and 'Malcolm X'.

He returned to the fore as Detective John Mackley, in the gripping 'Dolores Claiborne', with Cathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Lee, in 1994.

On TV he starred in 'The Thorn Birds', and had a recurring role as General Chang in the 'Star Trek' series.

In 1999, Plummer was cast as TV journalist Mike Wallace in 'The Insider', about the tobacco industry whistleblower, Jeffrey Wigand. He won three awards for his efforts, including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor.

He played a musical-obsessed prison boss in Peter Cattaneo's 'Lucky Break', played Dr Rosen in 'A Beautiful Mind', with Russell Crowe, and turned up in the big screen version of 'Nicholas Nickleby'.

Plummer has been married three times; his first, to Tony-winning Tammy Grimes, which lasted four years from 1956. They had a daughter together, the accomplished actress Amanda Plummer, a Tony winner for 'Agnes of God'.

In 2003, he worked on suspense thriller, 'Cold Creek Manor', with Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone.

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