Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer CC (December 13, 1929 February 5, 2021) was 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 got (though he still considered co-star Julie Andrews one of his closest friends).
He 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 also did 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 was a life-long Trekkie, and one of the reasons that he seemed 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.
- The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) — Emperor Commodus
- The Sound of Music (1965) — Captain Von Trapp
- Inside Daisy Clover (1965) — Raymond Swan
- The Night of the Generals (1967) — Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
- 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
- Somewhere in Time (1980) — William Fawcett Robinson
- The Thorn Birds (1983) — Archbishop Vittorio Contini-Verchese
- Dreamscape (1984) — Bob Blair
- An American Tail (1986) — Henri
- Dragnet (1987) — Reverend Jonathan Whirley
- The Man Who Planted Trees (1987) — Narrator (English version)
- Rock-A-Doodle (1991) — Grand Duke
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1992) — General Chang
- Malcolm X (1992) — Chaplain Gill
- Wolf (1994) — Raymond Alden
- Dolores Claiborne (1995) — Detective John Mackey
- 12 Monkeys (1995) — Dr. Goines
- The Insider (1999) — Mike Wallace
- The Dinosaur Hunter (1999) — Hump Hinton
- 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) (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
- Departure (2019) — Howard Lawson
- Knives Out (2019) — Harlan Thombey
Tropes Pertaining to Plummer's performances:
- Affably Evil: Whenever he played bad guys, you could be sure he'd give them inject them with plenty of charisma and charm even if it was false.
- Canada, Eh?: He was born in Toronto and raised mainly in Quebec.
- Cool Old Guy: Many of his later roles had him playing such characters.
- Evil Old Folks: He could still play wonderfully loathsome characters well into his eighties.
- Evil Sounds Deep: He played many villains, a fact no doubt aided by his magnificent silky voice.
- Fake Nationality: Beginning his professional career on the West End stage, Plummer 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 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.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: He played many characters who were exceptionally wealthy and cultured and liked showing it off.
- Quintessential British Gentleman: Despite not actually being British, he tended to be cast in these types of roles, often playing very posh and well-to-do characters.
- Surprisingly Good Foreign Language: Though he didn't get to show it off a lot on-screen, he was actually quite fluent in French, having spent much of his childhood in Quebec.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: His normal dialect was notoriously hard to pin down. It was a consequence of Plummer being raised in a time and environment in which the "Canadian Dainty" (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 made his own wholly unique.