Christopher Plummer dead at 91; how television helped start his career

Christopher PlummerMere days after losing Cloris Leachman and Cicely Tyson, the entertainment world has lost another legendary actor in Christopher Plummer. The icon died in his Connecticut home at the age of 91.

In a statement per Deadline, Plummer’s longtime manager Lou Pitt confirmed the news with the following tribute:

“Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old-fashioned 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.”

Odds are, you know Plummer best from his work in motion pictures. He was iconic in The Sound of Music, and received an Oscar nomination as recently as 2018 for his work in All the Money in the World. Yet, what many may not know is that the actor actually got his start in television, appearing back in 1953 in Encounter. He appeared for years in a number of theater-based television events before moving into films in the late 1950’s.

Over the years, Plummer has appeared sporadically across multiple programs. He appeared as Herod in Jesus of Nazareth, and was featured as Archbishop Vittorio Contini-Verchese in The Thorn Birds, one of the miniseries that helped to bring the format more popularity in the early 1980’s. His last major TV credit was in the series Departure, which is available to stream on Peacock. (This is what he is pictured in above.) He also had a foray into voice-acting, as he served as the narrator for the classic cartoon Madeline. As his manager noted, he was proud of his Canadian roots, and often took on projects that had some connection to his home country.

When looking at the entirety of his career, it feels clear that Christopher Plummer had the life and work that any actor would aspire to reach. He tackled multiple genres and formats, and was able to pick projects that suited his passion.

Plummer is survived by his wife Elaine, and our thoughts go out to all of his friends and loved ones during this very difficult time. (Photo: CBC.)

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