Veteran actor Christopher Plummer
is responsible for inadvertently helping William Shatner
to rise to stardom.
As reported by contactmusic.com, Plummer, best known for his portrayal of Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, was sidelined in 1956 when an unexpected injury incurred during a sexual encounter the night before caused him to miss playing his role in Henry V. "I woke up alone the next morning," explained Plummer in his autobiography In Spite of Myself. "...(pain) all around my groin and lower abdomen...I started to whimper like a whipped dog. 'So this is what syphilis is like?' I thought. 'I suppose I deserve it, but Christ, how the hell was I to know?'"
It wasn't syphilis that was causing the pain though, but a dislodged kidney stone. Plummer had to go to the hospital where the troublesome stone was removed with a surgical wire.
Plummer realized that he would be unable to perform that day in Henry V and that his understudy, a fellow Canadian, would have to take his place. "It began to sink in...Shatner, my understudy, would have to go on...(It) instantly brought back the pain. I screamed for a nurse who jabbed me with more morphine. I knew then that the S.O.B was going to be a 'star.'"
Shakespeare would again unite Shatner and Plummer. In Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country, Plummer portrayed General Chang, the Shakespeare-quoting Klingon who sought to destroy James T. Kirk.
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