ACTOR Christopher Plummer has died at the age of 91 after ‘falling and hitting his head at home’.
His Sound of Music co-star Julie Andrews has led the tributes, calling him a “consummate actor” and a “cherished friend”.
Plummer, who played Captain von Trapp in the Oscar-winning film, died early Friday morning with his wife of 53 years, Elaine Taylor, by his side.
He suffered a head injury after falling, the New York Times reports.
Plummer is survived by Elaine and his actress daughter, Amanda, from his first of three marriages.
Last night, Andrews said in a statement: “I treasure the memories of our work together and all the humour and fun we shared through the years.
“My heart and condolences go out to his lovely wife Elaine and his daughter Amanda.”
Plummer became the oldest Academy Award acting winner in history at the age of 82 in 2012.
But his career spanned more than six decades, with roles in stage productions, television and film.
Lou Pitt, his manager of 46 years, told Deadline: “Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old fashion manners, self-deprecating humor, and the music of words.
“He was a national treasure who deeply relished his Canadian roots.
“Through his art and humanity, he touched all of our hearts and his legendary life will endure for all generations to come.
“He will forever be with us.”
Plummer appeared in more than 100 films.
He was nominated for an Oscar three times in total, and has also been honoured for his work on Broadway and in television.
For many, however, he’ll always be known as the stern widower charmed by Maria in The Sound of Music.
In an interview with Vanity Fair back in 2014, he said about the iconic film: “As cynical as I always was about The Sound of Music, I do respect that it is a bit of relief from all the gunfire and car chases you see these days.
“It’s sort of wonderfully, old-fashionably universal. It’s got the bad guys and the Alps; it’s got Julie [Andrews] and sentiment in bucketloads.
“Our director, dear old Bob Wise, did keep it from falling over the edge into a sea of treacle.”
He said he had never sung before in my life – “not even in the shower” – before taking the role, which featured much-loved songs including Edelweiss.
And while the film catapulted him to stardom, he later shunned leading man roles – instead opting for character parts, believing them to be more interesting.
As a result of those choices, he was the oldest actor ever to win the Academy Award for Supporting Actor back in 2012.
He claimed the Oscar for his role in Beginners.
The year before his win, he told interviewers: “Too many people in the world are unhappy with their lot.
“And then they retire and they become vegetables.
“I think retirement in any profession is death, so I’m determined to keep crackin’.”
Some of his most famous movies also included The Insider, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, A Beautiful Mind, Up and An American Tale.
One of his last major roles was as the patriarch in 2019 film Knives Out, for which he received much critical acclaim.
In addition, he was hailed for his work treading the boards, and over the years performed most of the major Shakespeare roles, including Hamlet, Cyrano, Iago, Othello, Prospero, Henry V and King Lear.
In 2007, he said: “I’ve become simpler and simpler with playing Shakespeare.
“I’m not as extravagant as I used to be.
“I don’t listen to my voice so much anymore.
“All the pitfalls of playing the classics – you can fall in love with yourself.”
Plummer was born in Toronto on December 13, 1929.
He was the great-grandson of Sir John Abbott, the third prime minister of Canada. His parents divorced shortly after his birth.
In his memoirs, Plummer admitted he was “a pampered, arrogant, young ba*****”.
“My family’s correctness and high standards had made me want to be the bad boy always, convinced it made me more interesting and would bring me more attention,” he said.
He was married three times – first to actress Tammy Grimes and journalist Patricia Audrey Lewis, and finally to Elaine.
During his second marriage, he developed an infatuation with Julie Andrews – and later said the pair should have ‘had an affair’.
“We should have ended up together,” he told ABC News in 2015.
“We should have had a huge smashing affair.”
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But he credits Elaine with saving his life in the 1970s when she told him to stop drinking so much.
He told the Telegraph in 2010: “Elaine did say, ‘If you don’t quit this stupid over-drinking I’m outta here.’
“And thank God. She did in a sense save my life.”