Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer CC (born December 13, 1929 in Toronto, Ontario) is a Canadian film, stage, and TV actor best known for his role as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, and for mocking that film and his performance nearly every chance he gets (though he still considers co-star Julie Andrews one of his closest friends).
He has played a huge number of parts over his nearly 70-year career, and despite a large number of acclaimed performances, he wasn't even nominated for an Oscar until 2009, when he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station.
He won Best Supporting Actor two years later for his performance in Beginners, becoming, at 82, the oldest person at the time to ever win an Oscar.note He also received an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series, for the 1972 miniseries The Moneychangers, and a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance, for his narrations of the Madeline cartoons.note At age 88 he also became the oldest person to even be nominated for an acting Oscar for All the Money in the World (in which he got cast as The Other Marty after Kevin Spacey got booted for numerous allegations of sexual abuse).
He has done quite a bit of stage work. Before hitting it big in the movies he was in the original cast of the 1958 Pulitzer Prize-winning play J.B.. He earned Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical in 1974, for the musical Cyrano, and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play in 1997, for Barrymore. All of these awards make him one of the few actors to win an Oscar, and Emmy, and a Tony.
Plummer is a life-long Trekkie, and one of the reasons that he seems to be having so much fun chewing the scenery in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is because (in his own words), he was "in geek Heaven doing what geeks love doing: being a geek." Appropriately, in his theatrical career he once became ill, letting his understudy William Shatner take over for that performance and get his big break.
He is the father of actress Amanda Plummer, who should not be confused with Amanda Palmer.
- The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) — Emperor Commodus
- The Sound of Music (1965) — Captain Von Trapp
- Battle of Britain (1969) — Squadron Leader Harvey
- Waterloo (1970) — Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington
- Conduct Unbecoming (1975) — Major Wimbourne
- The Return of the Pink Panther (1975) — Sir Charles Lytton
- The Man Who Would Be King (1975) — Rudyard Kipling
- Starcrash (1978) — The Emperor note
- The Silent Partner (1978) — Harry Reikle
- Murder by Decree (1979) — Sherlock Holmes
- Dreamscape (1984) — Bob Blair
- An American Tail (1986) — Henri
- Dragnet (1987) — Reverend Jonathan Whirley
- Rock-A-Doodle (1991) — Grand Duke
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1992) — General Chang
- Malcolm X (1992) — Chaplain Gill
- Wolf (1994) — Raymond Alden
- 12 Monkeys (1995) — Dr. Goines
- The Insider (1999) — Mike Wallace
- Nuremberg (2000) — Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe
- Dracula 2000 (2000) — Abraham Van Helsing
- A Beautiful Mind (2001) — Dr. Rosen
- National Treasure (2004) — John Adams Gates
- Alexander (2004) — Aristotle
- The New World (2005) (2005) — Captain Christopher Newport
- Inside Man (2006) — Arthur Case
- The Lake House (2006) — Simon Wyler
- Up (2009) — Charles Muntz
- The Last Station (2009) — Leo Tolstoy
- The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) — Doctor Parnassus
- 9 (2009) — #1
- Beginners (2010) - Hal Fields
- Priest (2011) — Monsignor Orelas
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) — Henrik Vanger
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim- Arngeir
- Remember (2015) — Zev Guttman
- The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) — Ebenezer Scrooge
- All the Money in the World (2017) — J. Paul Gettynote
- Knives Out (2019) — Harlan Thombey
Tropes Pertaining to Plummer's performances:
- Fake Nationality: Beginning his professional career on the West End stage, Plummer has played his fair share of British and British-accented characters, as well as his fair share of Americans and Europeans (and the occasional space alien). It says something that he's made a career of playing British characters in British productions, despite not actually being British. Averted in Battle of Britain, in which he requested that his character be Canadian.
- Quintessential British Gentleman: Despite not actually being British, he tends to be cast in these types of roles, often playing very posh and well-to-do characters.
- Surprisingly Good Foreign Language: Though he doesn't get to show it off a lot on-screen, he's actually quite fluent in French, having spent much of his childhood in Quebec.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: His normal idiolect is notoriously hard to pin down. It's a consequence of Plummer being raised in a time and environment in which the "Canadian Dandy" (really a mid-Atlantic) was considered "proper" English, just before the practice fell out of favor. That, and spending a lot of his early adulthood in Quebec and the UK, creates a kind of melting pot of dialects that makes his wholly unique.