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Philhellene, Hollywood Actor Christopher Plummer Dies at 91

Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer played Captain Von Trapp in the Sound of Music in 1968. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Veteran Hollywood actor Christopher Plummer, best known for his portrayal of Captain Baron Von Trapp in Rogers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, has died at age 91 at his home in Fairfield, Connecticut.

His wife, Elaine Taylor, told the press that Plummer had passed away from a blow to the head he had suffered as the result of a fall.

The winner of an Oscar, two Tonys and two Emmys received critical acclaim for his work in Shakespearean roles but was the rare actor who was beloved for his campy roles in a slew of  Hollywood favorites over the course of his five decades of filmmaking.

The Canadian-born actor grew up in a distinguished family whose fortunes had fizzled out by the time he was born. But his sonorous voice and stage presence allowed him to climb to the heights of Hollywood stardom and stay there for many years, appealing to successive generations of fans.

His charm and an edge, however, with his chiseled face framed with what looked often like a sneer. One critic said of him in the Sound of Music that it looked as if he and Julie Andrews, who played the virginal Maria, “were acting in two different movies.”

His devilishly handsome looks and natural charisma were paired with a predilection toward drink in his younger days, which he was able to shake off in his later years. In 1971, Plummer was famously replaced by Anthony Hopkins on the Shakespeare play “Coriolanus” at London’s National Theatre as a result of a vote taken by the cast. He was booted out for what was later divulged as “crude and outrageous behavior.”

Greek Reporter caught up with the beloved thespian at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards, where he spoke about his abiding love for Greece. He said that he had been to the country “Many times, I filmed there, in Dordoni, doing Oedipus,” he recalled. ” I loved it… I adore Greece. I’ve made three or four films there so I know it very well.”

Asked what he thought of the Hollywood of the more glamorous times of yesteryear versus today, when stars go out of their way to interact with their fans via social media, Plummer maintained that he still loved the social whirl of the town. He stated that it was “Still hugely fun. I enjoy my profession thoroughly. Otherwise I would have given it up long ago. That has not changed. As you get older,” he stated, “you have more fun, in a funny way.

“It’s not the same, you’re older, you are more experienced and you know how to fix things quickly,” he explained.

“It was fun in the older days in Hollywood,” he admitted, ” because it was a much smaller place and we all knew each other. We’d go out to dinner and we all knew each other. There was no class system. You ate with Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart… we were all part of a sort of great big family.”

“Sometimes,” he mused, “Hollywood takes itself too seriously, and we didn’t in those days.”

Asked what he thinks of the great numbers of paparazzi and media that stars nowadays must deal with, Plummer characteristically replied that he took it in his stride. “I try not to notice,” he said with a chuckle.”If they didn’t follow you — I’d hire someone to do it, just in case they could get (you) looking good!”

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