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Watch Christopher Plummer’s favorite performance tonight


Christopher Plummer in Barrymore, tonight on PBS.

Christopher Plummer in Barrymore, tonight on PBS.

I know what I’m doing tonight. Forget going out to dinner or to the movies, or ::gah:: to the mall. I’m going to put some logs on the fire, make some Parmesan Crisps to go with a glass of wine, and curl up on the sofa and watch Christopher Plummer in Barrymore on Great Performances on PBS.

I’ve been waiting eight years to see this show, so tonight’s the night!

Christopher Plummer's Oscar for Beginners.

Christopher Plummer’s Oscar for Beginners.

Mr. Plummer first starred in Barrymore in 1996 at the Stratford Festival of Canada. The show was a Broadway hit, garnering Mr. Plummer a Tony award as leading actor. In 2011, Barrymore was filmed in Stratford and played at the Toronto Film Festival and selected theaters around the world.

I missed all those previous opportunities to watch it. Thank you PBS for airing it tonight!

As a journalist, I cover Weston, Connecticut, where Mr. Plummer lives with his lovely wife Elaine. I’ve had the pleasure to interview him numerous times. He even once invited me to his home and let me hold his Oscar. It’s a lot heavier than you’d imagine. 😉

Before getting to know him a bit, I had always considered Christopher Plummer a very serious man. He had a reputation as a bit of a curmudgeon who guarded his privacy and didn’t suffer fools. While those things may be true, he also has a surprisingly warm and whimsical side. The living room in his home is extremely bright and airy, covered with paintings on the walls of a sly monkey and the animals he likes to chase. Mr. Plummer had a huge grin on his face as he told me stories about the monkey’s misdeeds. I got the feeling he was the sly one.

Elaine and Christopher Plummer at their Weston home. —Patricia Gay photo, all rights reserved

Elaine and Christopher Plummer at their Weston home. —Patricia Gay photo, all rights reserved

During that interview, I asked him what his favorite role was, knowing everyone probably asks him that, but I truly wanted to know. He wouldn’t answer directly at first, but soon started talking enthusiastically about Barrymore. About how he idolized John Barrymore, and felt he had a special connection to him. “It was Barrymore who inspired me to go into acting. I grew up loving the biography Gene Fowler wrote about him, Good Night Sweet Prince. It was about this crazy, wonderful, glamorous, naughty life. I thought if that was what acting was all about then I wanted to be an actor,” he said.

It was clear that Barrymore is the part he cherishes the most. I’m going out on a limb and gonna call it his favorite.

Mr. Plummer appears to have learned much more from John Barrymore than how to be a wild actor. John Barrymore suffered greatly from the effects of alcoholism, and Mr. Plummer appeared to be heading there too. But when his third wife, Elaine, entered his life, Mr. Plummer gave up hard alcohol and now only drinks an occasional glass of wine. His lifestyle change has afforded him a much longer and successful career than John Barrymore ever had. And a happier life too, filled with sly monkeys.

Cheers to Christopher Plummer tonight!

Story I wrote about Christopher Plummer before a screening of Beginners in Ridgefield, Conn:

AN ACTOR FOR ALL SEASONS

Monkey_Plummer

The sly monkey

Birds that capture the sly monkey's interest.

Birds the sly monkey likes to tease and torment.

 

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