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Christopher Plummer has long been one of the most respected actors in both theatre and film. Alfred A. Knopf recently published his self-written memoir, In Spite of Myself, which quickly became one of last year’s most acclaimed autobiographies. He has also written for the stage, television, and the concert hall.
Raised in Montreal, Mr. Plummer began his professional career on stage and radio in both French and English. Legendary actress/director Eva Le Gallienne brought him to New York for his stage debut in 1954, and he has since starred in celebrated productions on Broadway, in Canada, and on London’s West End.
He has won two Tony Awards, for the musical Cyrano and for the play Barrymore, and been nominated seven times further (most recently for King Lear and Inherit the Wind). He has also been honored with three Drama Desk Awards and the National Arts Club Medal.
As a former leading member of the Royal National Theatre under Lord Laurence Olivier and the Royal Shakespeare Company under Sir Peter Hall, Mr. Plummer won London’s Evening Standard Award for Best Actor in Becket. Additionally, he led Canada’s Stratford Festival in its formative years under Sir Tyrone Guthrie and Michael Langham.
His first film was Sidney Lumet’s Stage Struck, with Henry Fonda and Susan Strasberg. His notable movies since then have included John Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King, in which he portrayed author Rudyard Kipling; Anthony Mann’s The Fall of The Roman Empire; Guy Hamilton’s Battle of Britain; Sergei Bondarchuk’s Waterloo; Nicholas Ray’s Wind Across the Everglades; Robert Mulligan’s Inside Daisy Clover; Robert Wise’s Academy Award-winning The Sound of Music, opposite Julie Andrews; Blake Edwards’ The Return of the Pink Panther, with Peter Sellers; Daryl Duke’s The Silent Partner; Bob Clark’s Murder by Decree, in which he played Sherlock Holmes and for which he won the Genie Award (Canada’s Oscar equivalent) for Best Actor; Jeannot Szwarc’s Somewhere in Time, with Christopher Reeve; Nicholas Meyer’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Spike Lee’s Malcolm X and Inside Man; Taylor Hackford’s Dolores Claiborne; Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys and soon-to-be-released The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, in the title role; Ron Howard’s Academy Award-winning A Beautiful Mind; Atom Egoyan’s Ararat; Douglas McGrath’s Nicholas Nickleby; Jon Turteltaub’s National Treasure; Gary David Goldberg’s Must Love Dogs; Stephen Gaghan’s Syriana; Terrence Malick’s The New World; Michael Schroeder’s Man in the Chair, for which Mr. Plummer was named Best Actor at the Palm Beach International Film Festival; Pete Docter and Bob Peterson’s Up, in voiceover; and Michael Mann’s The Insider, as Mike Wallace. The latter portrayal earned him the National Society of Film Critics, Boston Society of Film Critics, and Los Angeles Film Critics Association awards for Best Supporting Actor.
Mr. Plummer has won two Emmy Awards; these came for his voiceover and narration work on the Madeline series, based on the classic children’s books, and for his performance in the miniseries The Moneychangers, directed by Boris Sagal. Additional Emmy nominations have included ones for Daryl Duke’s classic miniseries The Thorn Birds and Philip Saville’s telefilm Hamlet at Elsinore, in the title role. His numerous other television appearances range from a live performance of Ernest Thompson’s On Golden Pond, opposite Julie Andrews, to Franco Zeffirelli’s acclaimed miniseries Jesus of Nazareth.
He was the first performer to receive the Jason Robards Award, in memory of his great friend. He has also been honored with the Edwin Booth Award and the Sir John Gielgud Quill Award. In 1968, sanctioned by Elizabeth II, he was invested as a Companion of the Order of Canada (an honorary knighthood).
An Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts at Juilliard, Mr. Plummer also received the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. In 1986, he was inducted into the Theatre’s Hall of Fame and in 2000 to Canada’s Walk of Fame. In 2002, he was honored by the National Board of Review with the Career Achievement Award.