By Elliot Ingram
One of Toronto’s own, legendary actor Christopher Plummer, passed away on February 5th, 2021 leaving the world with heavy hearts and an immensely rich legacy of films. Whether you recognize his name or not, I can guarantee you have seen his brilliance on screen. Multiple Tony award winner and Academy Award recipient, Christopher Plummer was no small name or stranger to the world of the performing arts. From Shakespeare to The Sound of Music, his performances were the definition of versatility. You may even know him from All the Money in the World, Knives Out, or National Treasure all of which contributed to his rolodex of performances that were unforgettable.
Christopher Plummer was born on Dec. 13th, 1929 in Toronto before moving with his mother to Montreal shortly after his parents became separated. His first role, as a cast member in his high school play, is what kick-started Plummer’s life-long passion for drama. After graduating, Plummer moved on to the Ottawa Repertory Theatre where he further developed and perfected his craft. The next destination for him would be Broadway, New York City. Taking the stage for the first time in 1953 at the age 24, Christopher Plummer worked amongst musical geniuses and Broadway greats both on and off stage. In 1956, Plummer returned to Canada to perform in the widely-known Stratford Festival as Hamlet. In 1958, Plummer earned his first Tony nomination for his performance in the play, J.B. However, by the late 60’s his life took a turn. At this point he had been divorced twice and made little effort to reconnect with his only child. In his 2008 autobiography, In Spite of Myself, Plummer describes himself as being “a lousy husband and an even worse father.” Plummer owned his faults and made no excuses as he sought to better himself. Years later, his daughter, Amanda Plummer, earned acting awards of her own following her fathers path. Plummer openly made sure he took no credit for his daughter’s own talent.
Although a lasting relationship was historically difficult for Plummer to dedicate himself towards, in 1970 he found himself tying the knot again with Elaine Taylor. Plummer committed himself to stay sober, settle down, and finally become close with his now adult daughter. The married couple found a home in Connecticut, however the actor in Plummer had never went away. He couldn’t stop his urge for performance. Whether that be on the stage or screen, he was determined to do what he loved, and never retire. In 1997 he earned a Tony award for his role in the play, Barrymore bringing him a second award for his performances on Broadway. It almost felt as though he had reached the peak of his career, Plummer was in constant demand, working non-stop, and reaching audiences everywhere. Finally, in 2012, at the age of 82, Christopher Plummer won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the movie Beginners. The long awaited day finally came, and Plummer received proper recognition for his extraordinary service and dedication to the art of acting. In his acceptance speech, staring at the golden statue, Plummer says: “you’re only two years older than me, darling, where have you been all my life?” For the third and final time, Plummer earned an Oscar nomination for his role in All the Money in the World. After stepping in the film as a full-time replacement for Kevin Spacey, Plummer had managed to shoot all scenes in only nine days.
At the age of 92, this astounding actor passed away peacefully at home with his wife by his side. The memories he created and the joy he brought us all will never be forgotten. His dedication to his profession was admirable and rare. His exquisite talent was showcased in every fashion imaginable, on the screen and the stage. Christopher Plummer once said; “We shouldn’t retire. Not in our profession. There is no such thing. We want to drop dead on stage. That would be a nice theatrical way to go.” His world was a stage, and we were all lucky to be witnesses to it.
Rest In Peace.