Christopher Plummer Dead: 'Sound of Music' Actor's Cause of Death

Christopher Plummer died peacefully Friday morning at his home in Connecticut at 91, his manager said. No further details on the actor's cause of death were made publicly available. The Toronto-born Plummer worked on the stage and screen for more than six decades and was best known for playing Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. In 2012, he became the oldest actor to win an Oscar thanks to his supporting performance in Beginners.

"Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old fashion manners, self-deprecating humor, and the music of words," Lou Pitt, Plummer's friend and manager, said in a statement to Variety. "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."

Plummer was born on Dec. 13, 1929, in Toronto and began his career in the early 1950s. He made his Broadway debut in January 1953 in The Starcross Story, beginning a long and successful stage career that he frequently returned to between films. In 1974, he won a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for Cyrano, a musical adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac. In 1997, he won Best Actor in a Play for Barrymore, in which he played actor John Barrymore during his final days. Plummer also earned Tony nominations for J.B., Othello, No Man's Land, King Lear, and Inherit the Wind. He also starred in countless Shakespearean productions in the U.K., U.S., and Canada during his life.

In 1958, Plummer made his film debut in Sidney Lumet's Stage Struck. After 1958, he did not appear in another movie until 1964's The Fall of the Roman Empire. In 1965, he suddenly became an international star thanks to The Sound of Music, which he openly complained about for years. However, he would eventually come around to appreciate the movie and often appeared with Julie Andrews to celebrate the musical. "It was a very well-made movie, and it's a family movie and we haven't seen a family movie, I don't think, on that scale for ages," Plummer said in 2012. "I don't mind that. It just happened to be not my particular cup of tea."

Plummer's movie career was unparalleled, in that he could be relied on by filmmakers to bring a gravitas to his roles that other actors could not, no matter what the film's subject was. He made The Return of the Pink Panther and The Man Who Would Be King in the same year, 1975. In 1986, he voiced characters in An American Tail and The Tin Soldier. He brought Shakespearean swagger to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country as the Klingon General Chang in 1991. He starred in The Insider, National Treasure, Up, Priest, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and The Last Station. In 2017, Ridley Scott replaced Kevin Spacey with Plummer in All The Money in the World, which earned Plummer his final Oscar nomination. In 2019, he starred in Knives Out, Cliffs of Freedom, and The Last Full Measure.


Plummer was married three times, first to actress Tammy Grimes, then to journalist Patricia Audrey Lewis. He is survived by his third wife, dancer Elaine Taylor, whom he married in 1970. He is also survived by his daughter with Grimes, actress Amanda Plummer.