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People in Film | Christopher Plummer

Posted April 25, 2011 to photo album "People in Film | Christopher Plummer"

From Von Trapp to Don Juan, from Sherlock Holmes to Santa Claus, Christopher Plummer seems to have played nearly everyone in the history of Western Civilization.

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Christopher Plummer | Cinematic Everyman

Christopher Plummer | Cinematic Everyman

Over the course of more than 50 years as a film star, there is seemingly nothing Christopher Plummer has not done. In the 1950s, his first screen roles were for directing greats Sidney Lumet and Nicholas Ray. In the 1960s, he played Hamlet and Oedipus, acted in a string of World War II movies (including the box office behemoth The Sound of Music), and witnessed The Fall of the Roman Empire. During the 1970s, he put his own unique interpretation on one iconic figure after another: the Duke of Wellington(Waterloo), Don Juan (Don Juan in Hell), Rudyard Kipling (The Man Who Would Be King), Archduke Franz Ferdinand (The Day That Shook the World), Herod (Jesus of Nazareth) and Sherlock Holmes (Silver Blaze and Murder by Decree). He showed his diversity in the 1980s, working on the small screen (his Emmy nominated turn as Archbishop Vittorio Contini-Verchese in The Thorn Birds), flexing his comic muscles in cop spoof Dragnet, and showing a softer side by voicing Henri, a French pigeon, in the animated hit An American Tale. Indeed probably no actor has capture the personality of so many great minds: Aristotle in Alexander (2004), Vladimir Nabokov in Nabokov on Kafka (1989), Alfred Stieglitz in A Marriage: Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz (1991), J.R. Ackerley in My Dog Tulip (2009), F. Lee Bailey in American Tragedy (2000), Franklin D. Roosevelt in Winchell (1998) and finally Tolstoy in The Last Station (2009). Indeed having played so many historically famous, remarkable smart individuals, Plummer has devised his own acting strategy. As he explained to Kimber Myers about playing Tolstoy, “I can't draw from me because I'm not a genius…I'm not quite as great a man as Tolstoy. No, you have to use your imagination!"