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The many lives of Christopher Plummer

Georg Ludwig Von Trapp, Mike Wallace, and other real-life icons the actor has portrayed on screen

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George Ludwig Von Trapp
The Sound of Music (1965)
Prepping for his breakout role in the classic musical, Plummer says he met a nephew of the Austrian naval captain, who died in 1947. ”He mumbled something, and the interpreter said, ‘He was the biggest bore he’d ever known.”’

Mike Wallace
The Insider (1999)
Plummer appealed to director Michael Mann to soften the 60 Minutes newsman. ”I’d seen [Wallace] do interviews about his son’s death, and he was a totally different man. So I went to Michael and said, ‘Can you write a scene where he shows that he’s capable of humility?”’

F. Lee Bailey
American Tragedy (2000)
The actor got a Golden Globe nom for playing the heavyset defense attorney in the CBS movie about the O.J. Simpson trial. ”That was a little tough, having to look like him,” he says. ”The body stocking I was wearing — or whatever the hell it was — was a little over-the-top.”

Leo Tolstoy
The Last Station (2009)
Researching the Russian novelist was no easy task, says Plummer. ”There were some home movies that I watched, but they were all without sound. I particularly liked the letters he wrote. But for the most part I played him instinctively; that’s all I could do.”