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Christopher Plummer

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As this blog’s token Canadian, I should acknowledge the death of a top-drawer actor and excellent film critic:

For years, until he came to share the widely held opinion of his best-known film — the beloved 1965 musical “The Sound of Music,” in which he starred as the Austrian naval officer Georg von Trapp opposite Julie Andrews — as a pinnacle of warmhearted family entertainment, Mr. Plummer disparaged it as saccharine claptrap, famously referring to it as “S&M” or “The Sound of Mucus.”

“That sentimental stuff is the most difficult for me to play, especially because I’m trained vocally and physically for Shakespeare,” Mr. Plummer said in a People magazine interview in 1982. “To do a lousy part like von Trapp, you have to use every trick you know to fill the empty carcass of the role. That damn movie follows me around like an albatross.”

Mr. Plummer’s résumé, which stretched over seven decades, was at least colossal, if not nonpareil, encompassing acting opportunities from some of dramatic literature’s greatest works to some of commercial entertainment’s crassest exploitations. He embraced it all with uncanny grace, or at least professional relish, displaying a uniform ease in vanishing into personalities not his own — pious or menacing, benign or malevolent, stern or mellow — and a uniform delight in delivering lines written by Elizabethan geniuses and Hollywood hacks.

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