In 90-degree heat on a glorious Los Angeles morning, legendary actor and Academy Award Winner Christopher Plummer enamored fans with the same charm as Captain Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” (1965) at a special Turner Classic Movies Footprint Ceremony this weekend. TCM Host Ben Mankiewicz, Shirley MacLaine and William Shatner paid tribute to this Canadian at the 6th Annual 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival event, and then Christopher cemented his place in Hollywood history. You can watch our VIDEO here: Christopher Plummer Footprint Ceremony at 2015 TCM Film Festival.
And Christopher’s charm goes way back to one of his first stage roles. TCM Host Ben Mankiewicz shared this funny story about how this actor got discovered, “Nearly 70 years ago in 1946, Herbert Whittacker (theater critic) went to see a high school play and was taken by Christopher Plummer playing Darcy in a production of ‘Pride and Prejudice’…I was astounded, Whittacker wrote, that any student would have the manor, the diction, and the hauteur of Jane Austin’s snotty hero.”
Since then, Christopher Plummer has captured the hearts of fans around the world in over 100 movies, including, “Beginners”, “Up”, “The Insider”, Spike Lee’s “Malcom X” (shown at the festival yesterday), “A Beautiful Mind”, and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”
Shirley MacLaine (who is also being honored by Turner Classic Movies this weekend), then paid tribute to her friend of many years, “Christopher, I so admire you. I’ve worked with Christopher on several films…. I want to thank you for being my compatriot, my working actor friend, my secret talker when we go to dinner…Christopher and I have had very long and deeply personal discussions about life, and love and the pursuit of happiness…I think, except for all the Jack’s I’ve been with, he’s my favorite screen partner.”
William Shatner (aka Captain Kirk) then shared how his career has shadowed his fellow Canadian and Captain, “Well Chris,…I followed you into the world in Montreal….I followed you into Canadian radio CVC in Montreal where we performed in French and English…I followed you in summer theater at the Mountain Playhouse. I followed you to Ottawa, the Canadian Repertory Theater. I followed you to Toronto…. I followed you to Scotland. I followed you to New York. I followed you to Los Angeles to Hollywood, that means I’ll follow you anywhere,…but you have to go first.”
And then with great pride, charm and gratitude, 2-time Tony Award Winner and Oscar Winner Christopher Plummer took center stage. While his lines were flawless, Christopher got a little choked up and took several pauses while delivering these reflections:
My mother once predicted that I would have to wait to be a very old man before receiving recognition in my profession. She was absolutely right, but she never mentioned anything about being stuck in cement, or allowing pedestrians to trample over me to their hearts content.
I confess, I’m immensely touched….immensely, immensely touch that I am part of this glorious history.
To Turner Classic Movies, I give my sincerest thanks. Please don’t every stop bringing us joy and enriching our lives as you do.
And to TCL Chinese Theatres, my internal gratitude for this amazing stroke of generosity.
And lastly, to all of my newfound brothers and sisters, my talented new neighbors for life after death and those wonderful artists whose grand achievements are forever carved into memory, I promise, I won’t spoil the party.
And then the world stood still for a few moments while Christopher Plummer signed his name and planted his hands and feet in a cement square that is much harder to earn than an Oscar. Christopher joins fellow movie legends and four classic film stars honored by TCM, whose footprint ceremonies we’ve also been fortunate to capture on video, including Jane Fonda (“On Golden Pond”), Jerry Lewis (“The Nutty Professor”), Peter O’Toole (“Lawrence of Arabia”), and Kim Novak (“Vertigo”).
© Liz H Kelly, National Digital Entertainment Columnist and Goody Awards Founder