Canadian actor Christopher Plummer, known for his portrayal of Captain von Trapp in “The Sound of Music,” and a slew of other film and stage roles, has died. He was 91.
Family members confirmed Plummer’s death Friday in a statement obtained by The Guardian. He died at his home in Connecticut on Friday morning with his wife, Elaine Taylor, by his side, said Lou Pitt, his longtime friend and manager.
“Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old fashion manners, self deprecating humour and the music of words,” Pitt said in the statement.
“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.”
In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, Plummer’s “The Sound of Music” co-star Julie Andrews said, “The world has lost a consummate actor today and I have lost a cherished friend. I treasure the memories of our work together and all the humor and fun we shared through the years. My heart and condolences go out to his lovely wife Elaine, and his daughter Amanda.”
Over an entertainment career that spanned more than six decades, Plummer enjoyed varied roles ranging from the film “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” to the voice of the villain in 2009′s “Up” and as a canny lawyer in Broadway’s “Inherit the Wind.” In 2012, he became the oldest actor to win an Academy Award for his role in the comedy-drama “Beginners.”
But it was his role opposite Andrews, as Captain von Trapp in 1965′s “The Sound of Music,” that made him a star. In a 2011 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he described the role as his “toughest.” Two years earlier, he’d likened his role to “flogging a dead horse,” BBC News reported.
“It was so awful and sentimental and gooey,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some miniscule bit of humor into it.”
The role catapulted Plummer to stardom, but he never took to leading men parts, despite his silver hair, good looks and ever-so-slight English accent. He preferred character parts, considering them more meaty.
Plummer had a remarkable film renaissance late in life, which began with his acclaimed performance as Mike Wallace in Michael Mann’s 1999 film “The Insider,” and continued in films such as 2001′s “A Beautiful Mind” and 2009′s “The Last Station,” in which he played a deteriorating Tolstoy and was nominated for an Oscar.
“If you love your work, which I do — and I’ve grown to love it more and more as I get older and realize that I’ve got to cram a lot in before I croak — I wouldn’t think of stopping,” Plummer said in 2010, according to The Toronto Star.
Born Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer in Toronto, Plummer began his career on stage and in radio in Canada in the 1940s. He made his Broadway debut in 1954 in “The Starcross Story.” He was given Canada’s highest civilian honor when he was invested as Companion of the Order of Canada by Queen Elizabeth II in 1968, and was inducted into the American Theater’s Hall of Fame in 1986.
He is survived by his daughter, actress Amanda Plummer, and Taylor, his wife of more than 50 years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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