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Christopher Plummer’s best movie roles over legendary 63-year career
Christopher Plummer — an acting legend for more than six decades and father of actress Amanda Plummer — died today at the age of 91. His unforgettable charm and legendary acting chops won him the respect of audiences worldwide and accolades from critics.
Here are five of his most memorable roles on the silver screen.
“The Sound of Music” (1965)
In one of the most beloved musicals of all time, Plummer plays the role of Captain von Trapp, a widower with seven children. He appears rather stern, but Julie Andrews’ patient Maria helps bring out his softer side. This was Plummer’s major breakthrough in film, and a testament to his incredible range.
Plummer provided the voice of Charles Muntz — a famous explorer who goes missing in South America while searching for an elusive bird species — in this Pixar classic. Though Muntz is the villain, his tragic backstory makes for one of the most compelling antagonists in a Disney film. His motives also make for a great foil and contrast to protagonist Carl Fredricksen’s reason for exploring the vast wilderness.
Plummer won his only Oscar (Best Supporting Actor) for his portrayal of Hal Fields — an elderly gay man who comes out after his wife’s death — in this 2011 romantic comedy. The film tenderly explores Hal’s relationship with his son, Oliver — played by Ewan McGregor — dealing with the complexities of love, being yourself and acceptance. Plummer’s charming and emotional role was the start of a new era for the legend.
“All the Money in the World” (2017)
This late-career role earned Plummer his last of three Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nominations. Set in 1973, the film features real-life figure J. Paul Getty, the world’s richest private citizen — despite which, when his grandson is kidnapped, he refuses to pay the ransom. Director Ridley Scott shot the entire film with Kevin Spacey playing the oil baron. Just months before the movie was due out, a new crop of sexual abuse allegations came out against Spacey, and Scott recast Plummer as Getty and reshot every scene that once featured Spacey. The captivating thriller is highlighted by Plummer’s signature balance of sympathy and ruthlessness.
“Knives Out” (2019)
Plummer graced the screen with one more classic role in his most recent hit. He stars as Harlan Thrombey, a mystery novelist whose suspicious death kicks off one of the most memorable whodunits of the 21st century. Thrombey’s motive in the film (we won’t spoil it) is even more poignant now after Plummer’s passing. The star-studded ensemble piece was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 2020 Academy Awards.