Star Christopher Plummer’s Bermuda theatre days
An Oscar-winning film star who spent several months treading the boards in Bermuda has died.
Christopher Plummer was 91.
Mr Plummer gained worldwide fame after starring in The Sound of Music opposite Julie Andrews in 1965.
But before Hollywood fame, the Canadian actor spent the summer of 1952 engaged for nightly performances for audiences at the Bermudiana Theatre in Hamilton, where he played the leading man in a series of light entertainment productions.
It was Mr Plummer’s performances in Bermuda that put the 22-year-old on the road to international stardom
After he was spotted by a US producer, he left the island for America, where his career took off.
But Mr Plummer said, despite the prospect of fame and fortune, he was reluctant to leave Bermuda.
He wrote: “Whenever I’m about to say farewell to a place in which I’ve lingered too long and I know I must get out – damn it, if I don’t get hooked.
“I’d known all along these jewels set in azure waters were a romantic group of islands whose history was as baffling and mysterious as the triangle that bears their name.”
He said the Bermudiana Theatre was “our ship – our vessel”.
He added: “It had sailed us safely through many a storm. We had worked hard there and played even harder.”
Mr Plummer wrote about his time in Bermuda in one of his autobiographies, In Spite of Myself, where he said the island was “wild, lush, painfully beautiful”.
Mr Plummer recounted exploration of the island on a moped and being “paralysed by the underwater beauty” of the island in a chapter called “Bermuda Short”.
He also wrote about mildew that turned his clothes into “second-hand junk”, men looking “dapper in shirts and ties, long knee-socks, and those hateful Bermuda shorts” and parties thrown by wealthy white families.
His recollections also shed some light on life in segregated Bermuda before the 1959 Theatre Boycott brought the racist system tumbling down.
Mr Plummer wrote: “The few night spots dotted sparsely across various towns from Hamilton to Somerset to Paget Sound were for the most part considered out of bounds.
“They were largely attended by the local black population, who were warm, friendly and kind – a sunny contrast to the somewhat uptight, stuffy whites.”
He added that Black people “were pretty much kept at bay, shown little regard, made to feel subservient.”
Mr Plummer had another connection to the island.
In the 2012 film Beginners – where he would earn a best supporting actor Oscar – the star was cast alongside Bermudian actress Lana Young.
Ms Young paid tribute to the star, who died yesterday.
She said in a Facebook post: “My very first feature film was with the great Christopher Plummer.
“He was so charming and encouraging. And when I asked if I could have a photo with him he practically pulled me onto his hospital bed.
“When he found out I was from Bermuda he reminisced about doing theatre at the Bermudiana Hotel and called me Miss Bermuda for the rest of the shoot. I was in heaven.”
Ms Young wrote: “Another icon has moved on from this earthly plane.
“Thank you for entertaining us for so long with such a high calibre of talent.”