Actor Christopher Plummer has starred in many films throughout his successful career. Plummer was born in Toronto, Canada in 1929. After his parents’ divorce, Plummer lived with his mother’s family in Montreal, Quebec. His great grandfather was the former Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Abbott. Plummer, whose second cousin was British actor, Nigel Bruce, was always interested in acting. He began his career as a concert pianist but quickly turned to theater. Christopher performed as a stage actor in Canada, England and America.
Plummer began acting in film in 1958, and his career began to soar with his role as Captain Von Trapp in the 1965 classic musical “The Sound of Music”. Christopher Plummer has become a prevalent actor appearing in film regularly throughout his half century career. He has been nominated and awarded multiple honors including Academy Awards and Canadian Awards. Plummer has been honored with multiple Honorary Doctorates from prestigious schools including New York City’s Julliard School. He has been awarded several Lifetime Achievement Awards. He has been honored in Canada’s Walk of Fame and the American Theater Hall of Fame.
Christopher Plummer has had a long and consistent career. He won the Academy Award at the age of 82 for Best Supporting Actor for his role in 2010’s “Beginnings”. This year Plummer was nominated for his role as John Paul Getty in “All the Money In the World. He is 88 years old.
Here are the top 20 Christopher Plummer characters in movies.
One of Christopher Plummer’s greatest performance was playing real life veteran news journalist Mike Wallace. “The Insider” was produced by Michael Mann in 1999. The fictional account of the real story of tobacco company whistleblower, Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), was investigated by the CBS news show “60 Minutes”. Producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) fights to get the story on the air. Playing a living legend journalist like Mike Wallace was daunting to Plummer and he played the part superbly. Plummer was able to capture the strong natured serious newsman whose ego may have gotten in the way of the truth. Even Wallace agreed that Plummer played him well and he admired the casting of Plummer in the role.
All the Money In the World
Most recently Christopher Plummer starred as John Paul Getty in Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World”. Plummer was hired for the role to replace disgraced actor Kevin Spacey at the last minute. Plummer shot his scenes in just nine days, and it is difficult to imagine any other actor in the role. At 88 years old, Plummer was nominated for an Oscar for his role. “All the Money in the World” is based on John Pearson’s book based on a true story. Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams also starred in the film about the kidnapping of Getty’s 16 year old grandson, John Paul Getty III. Getty refused to pay the $17 million ransom despite the oil tycoon’s worth of more than $1.2 billion. The boy’s mom and a CIA agent desperately try to get him back. Plummer plays the role of the stingy billionaire perfectly with an icy exterior but a complex interior.
At 82 years old, Christopher Plummer won the Oscar for his role as Hal, an elderly man whose fun learns has terminal cancer and is homosexual. The 2010 film also starred Ewan McGregor who played Hal’s son, Oliver. The story is told from Oliver’s memory as he flashes back to his parent’s marriage and his mother’s death. After his mother’s death at 75, Hal comes out as gay and embraces it. His life changes and he begins a romance with a young man before being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Oliver must come to grips with this change as he is trying to find love himself. Plummer plays the character charmingly. A man that can finally be himself after decades of denial.
The Sound of Music
Christopher Plummer was reluctant to take the role of Captain Von Trapp in the 1965 classic “The Sound of Music”. He thought the storyline was ridiculous. Naval Captain Von Trapp is an Austrian widower with seven children. A woman in the process of becoming a nun (Julie Andrews) is sent from the convent to become the children’s governess. She is able to win the hearts of the children and of Captain Von Trapp just as the Nazi’s are taking over Austria. Plummer only took the role because he admired the director Robert Wise. Plummer played the role well, giving in to the sentimental scenes yet, as a Naval Captain, speaking in a severe clipped tone. The film was a commercial success and lives on as a favorite of many.
The Last Station
Christopher Plummer does a great job at bringing historical figures to life. This talent can certainly be seen in “The Last Station”. Plummer plays Russian author Leo Tolstoy toward the last year of his life in this 2009 film. The movie is based on the book by Jay Parini. Count Tolstoy struggles with his non-material pacifist beliefs as he must decide what should happen to his wealth when he dies. Should he give it to the Russian people or leave it to his devoted wife and their 13 children. Helen Mirren plays Tolstoy’s wife Sofya. The story looks at the relationship between Tolstoy and his wife who loves him and has put up with him. Plummer plays Tolstoy, not as a man who thinks he’s great, but as a man who knows others think he’s great. He adheres to the true character of Tolstoy. Tolstoy was a brilliant writer but also a great philosopher. He didn’t let his ego get in the way.
Inside Daisy Clover
Christopher Plummer starred opposite Natalie Wood in the 1965 drama “Inside Daisy Clover”. Teenage tomboy Daisy dreams of becoming a Hollywood star in 1936. Plummer plays Raymond Swan, a Hollywood producer that signs Daisy to a 5 year contract. Despite Raymond’s concerns, Daisy begins dating a closeted homosexual actor and marries him. She has an affair with Raymond before her eccentric mother is released from a psychiatric hospital. Daisy suffers a breakdown and ends up killing herself. Like all of his roles, Plummer plays Raymond Swan as the producer who means well but must get the job done.
Murder By Decree
Christopher Plummer played the iconic Victorian London detective Sherlock Holmes in the 1979 movie “Murder By Decree”. In the movie, Holmes investigates the brutal murders committed by the mysterious Jack the Ripper. With his investigation, Holmes discovers that Jack the Ripper has friends in high places. Again, playing a historical character including literary legend Sherlock Holmes, comes naturally to Plummer.
Christopher Plummer played a detective in a small Maine town in the psychological thriller “Delores Claiborne” in 1995. The movie is based on Stephen King’s 1992 novel. Dolores Claiborne (Kathy Bates) is accused of murdering her wealthy employer whom she has served as a housekeeper for decades. As Plummer’s Detective John Mackey interviews Dolores about the murder, Dolores admits to killing her abusive husband years before and that her employer’s death was an accident, but the town had always suspected Dolores. Plummer has shown he can play just about any role. As the detective searching for answers, he is always good.
The Man Who Would Be King
John Huston’s 1975 movie “The Man Who Would Be King” is based on the nineteenth century novella by Rudyard Kipling. The story is about a couple of rogue ex-soldiers from the British Army who explore British India searching for adventure. They end up in the province of Kafiristan and one of them is mistaken for a god. Christopher Plummer plays the narrator Rudyard Kipling. Sean Connery and Michael Caine stared as the British soldiers. Plummer plays the key role of Kipling whom the soldiers tell their stories and plots to, and Kipling ties the story together.
In Spike Lee’s 2006 crime thriller “Inside Man” is about a hostage negotiator (Denzel Washington) who must negotiate with a bank robber (Clive Owen). The robbery is complex and the hit is a Wall Street bank. Christopher Plummer plays Arthur Case, the chairman of the board of directors and founder of the bank. Case hires a power broker to help defuse the situation that could expand and expose serious secrets. Plummer plays the head of the bank with a lot of extra mysterious business perfectly. Plummer worked with Lee and Washington before on “Malcolm X”.
A Beautiful Mind
Brian Grazer and Ron Howard directed “A Beautiful Mind”, the 2001 movie based on the life of genius mathematician, John Nash. The movie tells the story of Nash who suffered from schizophrenia and hallucinations but did not want to take anti-psychotic medication because of his skills as a mathematician. Christopher Plummer plays the psychiatrist who tries to help Nash (Russell Crowe) and his wife Alicia (Jennifer Connelly) come to grips with Nash’s condition. The award winning movie was a commercial and critical success, and Plummer was perfectly cast as Dr. Rosen.
Christopher Plummer played Dr. Goines, a scientist who creates a deadly virus that leads to an apocalypse. Terry Gilliam directed the 1995 movie “12 Monkeys” which starred Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. In the movie Bruce Willis’ character James Cole is a prisoner living below the Earth’s surface in the year 2035. A virus was released in the year 1996 killing most of the Earth’s population. Scientists surviving underground send Cole back in time to find the source of the virus so they can prevent it from mutating. Plummer’s character, Dr. Goines, is a scientist at a virology lab in the 1990’s whose. The virus is stolen and the end of the world begins. Plummer is again cast in an appropriate role as the scientist. He never overplays or underplays but brings the best of his professional acting ability to his roles.
Christopher Plummer starred in Douglas McGrath’s 2002 adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic 1839 novel “Nicholas Nickleby”. Plummer played the sinister Uncle Ralph who treats young Nicholas Nickleby terribly. Plummer used his theatrical training to create a version of Uncle Ralph that is not just a Scrooge. Somehow you get the feeling behind the icy exterior lays a heart. Just as he does with other characters, Plummer creates a complexity in Uncle Ralph while maintaining a professional disposition clearly learned from his theatrical days.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Christopher Plummer starred as wealthy businessman, Henrik Vanger, in the 2011 psychological thriller “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”. The movie was based on the posthumously released novel by Swedish author, Stieg Larsson. The movie also starred Daniel Craig as a journalist and Rooney Mara as a computer hacker. They are investigating the murder of Vanger’s grandniece forty years before. Plummer loved playing the role of Henrik Vanger. He has said that he sympathizes with the character and can understand Vanger’s way of conducting business.
In his animated role as Charles F. Muntz, Christopher Plummer is the voice of an adventurer. “Up” is the 2009 animated 3D movie from Walt Disney World produced by Pixar Animation Studios. It’s a story about elderly widower, Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner), and a boy, Russell (Jordan Nagai). They tie balloons to Carl’s house and travel to South America in honor of Carl’s deceased wife Ellie. Plummer’s character is an adventurer. Director Peter Docter said the character was inspired by adventurers, Lindbergh, Howard Hughes and Percy Fawcet. When Carl and Russell meet Charles Muntz he has an airplane called “Sprit of Adventure” inspired by Lindbergh’s airplane “Spirit of St. Louis”. Even in animation, Christopher Plummer plays a character based on historic heroes well.
The Night of the Generals
Christopher Plummer played Field Marshal Rommel in the 1967 movie “The Night of the Generals”. The World War II movie looks at a plot to kill Nazi Germany leader Adolf Hitler during the war but sets up a side story. The side story is the investigation into 3 Generals who may have killed a Polish prostitute and tried to cover up the murder. Plummer plays an investigator of the case. “The Night of the Generals” starred Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif. Even early in his career, Christopher Plummer played the part of an investigator, a man looking at the facts to find the truth, with excellence.
Battle of Britain
“Battle of Britain” is the 1969 British World War II film directed by Guy Hamilton. The film starred Laurence Olivier. The film centered on the 1940 RAF Battle of France. The film included BBC reports by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s declarations as the Dunkirk beaches were deserted. The epic war film depicts the German Army’s attack on London. Christopher Plummer played Canadian fighter pilot Squadron Leader Colin Harvey. This was a pivotal point inn Plummer’s career, and, as always, he proved his great, professional acting skills.
Somewhere in Time
In the endearing romance “Somewhere in Time”, Christopher Plummer played William Fawcett Robinson, manager to Elise McKenna (Jane Seymore), an aspiring actress in 1910 Hollywood. The 1980 film was adapted from the 1975 Richard Matheson novel “Bid Time Return”. A play write suffering from writer’s block, Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve), travels to the Grand Hotel and becomes infatuated with a picture of Elise. Richard is able to travel back in time and meets the beautiful young actress. The two begin a romance but Elise’s manager, William Fawcett Robinson, tries to keep the couple apart because he fears Elise’s career will be hindered by Richard Collier. Plummer plays the role wonderfully. The character is complex. You don’t just see the manger side of Robinson, but the human side.
George Clooney produced the 2005 geopolitical thriller “Syriana” which starred Matt Damon, Jeffrey Wright and Christopher Plummer. Plummer starred as Dean Whiting, a partner in the Whiting Sloan law firm. The story revolves around a Gulf Sea emirate whose foreign minister granted drilling rights for natural gass to a Chinese company which upsets the American government. The movie looks at the complexity of the oil industry. Christopher Plummer played Dean Whiting, the head of a Washington DC law firm that must smooth a merger to make all happy. Plummer has played historical figures, real life figures, detectives, investigators and moguls. There is something great about Christopher Plummer’s acting skills that resonate through time.
The Return of the Pink Panther
Christopher Plummer played “The Phantom”, a retired jewel thief in the classic 1975 British comedy “The Return of the Pink Panther. Starring Peter Sellers as the bumbling detective, Inspector Clouseau. At the height of his career, Christopher Plummer starred as Sir Charles Litton, the thorn in Inspector Clouseau’s side. As always, Christopher Plummer played the role as a consummate professional. There is no other actor like Christopher Plummer to bring complexity and depth to every single character he portrayed.