Remembering Christopher Plummer

Christopher Plummer — Emmy, Tony and (oldest ever) Oscar winning actor who died today at 91, at his Weston home — was a familiar presence in restaurants like Da Pietro’s, and other local venues.

A Connecticut resident since the 1950s, he was a longtime member of the Westport Country Playhouse’s board of trustees. But his association with the renowned theater goes much further back.

He first appeared on the Westport stage in 1953, in “The Starcross Story.” It starred Eva Le Gallienne, a 55-year Weston resident, and soon became his Broadway debut. Later that summer, he was in “What About Maisie.”

The next year, Plummer returned with “Home is the Hero.”

Plummer was a member of the Playhouse’s board of trustees since 2002.  He championed the theater’s 2005 renovation with his words, “It is obvious that we must continue to cherish this gem of a theater, which has not only found its way into our hearts, but surely harbors more history within its walls than almost any other playhouse of its kind on our continent.”

Christopher Plummer (2nd from left) with (from left) his wife Elaine Taylor, Playhouse artistic director Anne Keefe, and Playhouse trustee and Broadway actor James Naughton.

In a Moffly Media interview recently, Plummer said that Playhouse productions during the Lawrence Langner era were tryouts for Broadway. “We always had a very elegant audience, black-tie for opening nights.”

He was a member of the initial Playhouse artistic advisory board. In 2001 he appeared in their 9/11 tribute, :For the Children.”

Plummer joined the Playhouse board of trustees in 2002.  He was a key supporter of the theater’s renovation, along with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, saying “It is obvious that we must continue to cherish this gem of a theater, which has not only found its way into our hearts, but surely harbors more history within its walls than almost any other playhouse of its kind on our continent.”

In 2005 he inaugurated the renovated Playhouse with a benefit event: his one-man show, “A Word or Two, Before You Go.”

In 2010 Plummer delivered the Westport Library’s Malloy Lecture in the Arts. Held that year at the Playhouse, his topic was “Remembering Archie (Archibald MacLeish–The Poet and the Man).” Plummer combined MacLeish’s poetry with his personal reminiscences of the poet, and was interviewed by Playhouse artistic advisor Anne Keefe about his own career and memoir “In Spite of Myself.”

Last fall, he appeared in a video tribute to the Playhouse, shown at the Remarkable Theater.

If you have a Christopher Plummer story or memory, click “Comments” below

13 responses to “Remembering Christopher Plummer

  1. Robert Selverstone

    Something over a decade ago, as I walked off the court at Sylvan Tennis, a strikingly handsome man passed me and walked onto the court. Sufficiently handsome that I looked twice. As I watched, I also noted that his tennis strokes were excellent. With my typical ignorance of celebrities — either local or more well-known — I inquired, and learned that it was Christopher Plummer.

  2. In 200. Ann Sheffer commissioned M.rtin West todo a documentary, “”A Gathering of Glory”. (available from the Library). where he interviewed Christoper Plummer, during the interview, (maybe not included in thedocumentary). Mr Plummer revealed where he would like to die. He mentioned Italy,France and other places but finally said that he’d like to die in Weston because that’s where he was happiest.

  3. Dorothy Giannone East

    We would always see him and his wife at The School House in Wilton. A lovely man.

  4. Deanna Barton

    My ex-husband was a painting contractor and painted the interior of Christopher Plummer’s house. Occasionally, I would go with him when Frank, my ex, would do rounds of all the jobs to see how his guys were doing. I went with him one day during the job on Mr Plummer’s house.

    When we drove up towards the house, Mr Plummer was watering his plants and shrubs along the driveway. Frank stopped his van and said, “Mr Plummer, I’d like you to me my wife!” We shook hands. After they discussed the job, Frank then drove up to the area in front of the house, to the right side of the driveway. I stayed in the van.

    After a few moments, Mr Plummer walked up to my side of the van and asked if he could show me his prized garden to the left of the driveway. We walked down some slate-like steps to his garden and he pointed out different flowers and told me all about them. One of the most charming man I ever met! RIP, Christopher Plummer. You were so loved and will be so missed!

  5. Michael Hehenberger

    I have a special connection to “Sound of Music” because I was born just a few miles from Maria’s monastery where “the hills are alive” and the views are spectacularly beautiful, with lakes surrounded by mountains. The area is called Salzkammergut. Salzburg, the city of Mozart, is the place where it starts, at the Northwestern corner.
    I remember growing up that the movie was first rejected by Austrians as ‘Hollywood Kitsch”. How could Broadway composers dare to write Austrian music? However, after those initial arguments against this wonderful movie, even Austrians started to love the irresistible Julie Andrews, the handsome Christopher Plummer, and all the Trapp children. My wife and children love the “Sound of Music” and we have seen it many times over the years, when we celebrate X-Mas together. We have even taken the trip to Stowe and stayed at the Trapp Family Lodge, where they serve their own Trapp Beer and an excellent Wiener Schnitzel.
    Finally, I have always been jealous that Mr. Plummer was more dashing in his Austrian traditional outfit that I could ever hope to be.
    May he rest in peace!

  6. Susan Hopkins

    Christopher Plummer’s tennis group met at the same time, adjacent court, as my mother’s tennis group at the Westport Tennis Club. He was low-key and humble and never seemed to mind returning the occasional errant tennis ball that drifted into his court.

    Knew this day was coming, but never wanted it to happen.

    R.I.P. Christopher Plummer

  7. Hanne Jeppesen

    Didn’t realize Christopher Plummer lived in Weston. I lived in Westport in 1967 and 68, but I’m a native of Denmark. Christopher Plummer is the only actor who played “Hamlet” filmed on location at the actual “Hamlet” castle. In English it is Elsinore, in Danish Kronborg, Elsinore is actually the town where the castle is located Helsingor in Danish. The town is located North of Copenhagen on the coast, the castle is located out in the water, and if you take the ferry to Sweden you pass right by it, but it can also be visited by foot. I remember seeing the play on Danish TV back in the sixties or early seventies, it was a production by BBC and Danish TV, and can be viewed on UTube

  8. Hanne Jeppesen

    P.S. Seem like I might have been wrong about Christopher Plummer being the only actor to perform Hamlet at Kronborg. Seems like other famous actor’s performed there as well. Could be the first to be televised, can’t find the info on the internet. Michael Caine was in the same production.

  9. Hanne Jeppesen

    P.S. Seem like I was wrong about Plummer being the only actor who performed Hamlet at Kronborg. Other famous actors have performed there as well. Could be the first on televised, not sure, can’t get the info I want on the internet. Michael Caine was in the same production.

  10. Jayne Mauborgne

    being a fan of Christopher Plummer I went to hear him speak about his upcoming book. He was adorable and quite candid about his adventures along the way. I found him to be funny, erudite, charming and above all, sexy, and this was in his mid eights.

  11. My mother was a librarian at McGill University in Montreal in the 1950s and worked with Christopher Plummer’s “maiden aunt” (or aunts, I can’t remember). She met him on more than one occasion when he came in to see her/them. She remembered being struck by his good looks and upper-crust air.

  12. A few years ago, Christopher Plummer appeared at the Ridgefield Playhouse showing a film he had done with Martin Landau. In the Q & A I asked “How do you stay in shape? He was the picture of health, in excellent form, impeccably dressed. “I used to play tennis”. Then he paused and smiled “My wife watches my diet”. A memorable evening. He was handsome, elegant, articulate, warm, modest, charming, funny and clearly adored his lovely wife. Heartfelt thanks, sincere condolences
    to his family and loved ones.

  13. Gay Stebbins Pepper

    When I was fifteen, my cousin and I drove to Stratford, Ontario, to see a young Christopher Plummer, star in Macbeth. He was magnificent. Atfterwards, we went outside to the stage door to congratulate him. Changed into shorts and tee shirt., Chris asked if we could give him a lift to the Shakespeare Club, the upstairs of a local residence. Here he bought us our first Scotch as he regaled us with stories of his wild and wooly youth. We were star-stuck. For me it was the beginning of a sixty year virtual love affair with this fabulous actor and wonderful prince of a man. Thank you dear, Chris, for all you gave us.