In Spite of Myself: A Memoir


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About the Author

Christopher Plummer was born in Toronto, Ontario. He acted in more than a hundred feature films, and, in addition to performing leading roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company, he starred in Great Britain's National Theatre, the Stratford Festival of Canada, and sixteen Broadway plays. He was nominated for seven Tony Awards and won twice for Best Actor for Barrymore and Cyrano. He lived in Connecticut. He died in 2021.


"For anyone who loves, loves, loves the theater, not to mention the vanished New York of the 1950s and '60s. . . a finely observed, deeply felt (and deeply dishy) time-traveling escape worthy of a long stormy weekend. Just grab a quilt and a stack of pillows. No need for a delectable assortment of bonbons. They're in the book. . . In spite of himself-his relentlessly high artistic principles; his penchant for playing the underdog, even when he was the star; his keen ear equally attuned to the precision of Elizabethan verse and to what passes as truth across a whiskey at 5 a.m. . . . this man has experienced a life rich in textures, and he is able to give most of them glorious voice. His is a life in the theater lived hard and true, in the grand tradition of those distinguished players who went before, whom he surely made proud. Good sir! I raise my glass to you."

-Alex Witchel, The New York Times Book Review

"A staggering parade of theater-world luminaries struts, swaggers and, yes, occasionally staggers through this compulsively readable memoir. . . Mr. Plummer seems to have worked with just about everyone imaginable-Ruth Chatterton and Katherine Cornell, Jason Robards and Laurence Olivier, Julie Harris and Judith Anderson, Tyrone Guthrie and Edward Everett Horton (!) - and he has a tasty anecdote about onstage, backstage or drinking-hole doings about every single one of them."

-Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

" [A] splendid, lively memoir, and for that matter a fair description of his life and personality... An immensely satisfying memoir, of rare grace, good humor, and unapologetic self-honesty.... as rich as a Christmas pudding... Plummer's book is chockablock with a lifetime's worth of good stories, interesting people and memorable performances, the distillation of a great career, and, I would guess, a great life. In tact and generosity of spirit, it is the very model of what a memoir should be....Nobody tells a better theatrical story, or more of them, than Plummer (well, almost nobody, John Gielgud was in a class by himself, and Plummer has three great Gielgud stories)...Plummer is above all a great storyteller...always deliciously indiscrete, and often very funny...I read every page of his book with interest, pleasure, an occasional tear, and many rich guffaws: it is, frankly, a treat, not only for its theatrical stories, but also because Plummer is that rarest of actors, intelligent, thoughtful, hard-working, talented, imaginative, generous, dedicated to his craft, and occasionally struck by spark of thespian genius. . . Anyone who still loves the theater will love every page of it."

-Michael Korda, The Daily Beast

"[A] fascinating memoir...The book records so many trysts, pratfalls, drunken evenings-and afternoons-that it's amazing he has survived... amply shows how Mr. Plummer has managed a long, successful career in spite of himself..."

-The Wall Street Journal

"An enjoyable read, packed with anecdotes and amusing stories...this belongs on any library's film or theater shelves."


"A veteran actor of stage and screen rehearses his long personal and professional life, often with humor, rarely with rancor...revealing and charming."

-Kirkus Reviews

"An enchanting observer of the showbiz cavalcade, drawing vivid thumbnails of everyone from Laurence Olivier to Lenny Bruce and tossing off witty anecdotes like the most effortless ad libs. The result - a sparkling star turn from a born raconteur for whom all the world is indeed a stage."

-Publishers Weekly

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