Remembering Christopher Plummer: His love for the Stratford Festival stage

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KITCHENER —
Christopher Plummer, the Canadian actor who made a name for himself on the stage and screen, has died at the age of 91.

He passed away Friday morning at his home in Connecticut.

Plummer was best known for playing Captain von Trapp in “The Sound of Music.” Despite this early success, his career didn’t really take off until later in his life with roles in “The Insider”, “A Beautiful Mind”, and “Knives Out.”

In 2012, he won the supporting actor Oscar for his role in the film “Beginners.”

Plummer was 82 at the time, making him the oldest winner in Academy Award history.

Holding the statue he joked: “You’re only two years older than me. Where have you been all my life?”

While he had a long career in front of the camera, he also pursued roles on the stage.

The Stratford Festival was the star’s second home, of sorts, for six decades.

“It does such good work, that’s why I like coming here,” said Plummer in June 2010. “It’s wonderful to play all these great roles, and because it’s one of my country’s foremost theatres, which should be supported.”

Antoni Cimolino, the Stratford Festival’s artistic director, says he was a man who could turn any material into something riveting.

“He was a modern actor, but he had incredible facility to do all the things you need to do as a Shakespeare actor.”

Plummer made his debut as Henry V in 1956, and returned for the red carpet rollout numerous times.

When he was in town, Plummer’s favourite place to stay was the Westover Inn in St. Marys.

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“I’d say he probably stayed here eight or nine times,” says Stephen McCotter.

The Plummer Suite was the star’s preferred room while performing at the Stratford Festival Theatre.

“When the play was done, the phone would ring and he would say: “Are you still there?” I would say, “Yes”, and he’d say: “Perfect, put a grilled cheese on for me and go pick a bottle of red wine out the basement and put it on my tab.” He’d arrive and my chef would make him a grilled cheese and get out chili flakes and we would sit and watch TV and have a yarn together, and a glass of red wine. He was a nice man that I enjoyed chatting with.”

In 2007 Plummer reflected on his time on the stage, saying: “I’ve become simpler and simpler with playing Shakespeare. I’m not as extravagant as I used to be. I don’t listen to my voice so much anymore. All the pitfalls of playing the classics — you can fall in love with yourself.”



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