Ned Plimpton
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Ned Plimpton

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

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About Him

Grew Up… in Jawbone, Kentucky, with his mother Katherine Plimpton. As a youngster, Ned collected and cataloged amphibians, reptiles, and insects. One of his heroes was oceanographer Steve Zissou, and he was a Blue Star Cadet in the Zissou Society. He planned to be an oceanographer himself when he grew up, and if not that, an architect or a pilot.

Visiting… Steve Zissou’s submarine, the Belafonte. When his mother dies, Ned sets out in search of the man he believes is his father: Steve Zissou. He tracks down Zissou at the premiere of one Zissou’s films in Italy and gets his hero to let him tag along.

Profession… pilot for Air Kentucky. At Zissou’s request, he takes a leave from his Air Kentucky job and joins Team Zissou, where he is made the junior-grade diving tech and executive producer. With the help of his inheritance, he is the primary financier of this particular Zissou expedition.

Interests… bioluminescent electric jellyfish, maintaining his immaculate mustache, designing insignias, hanging out with Jane and listening to her read books to her unborn baby. There’s not much else to do when you’re out at sea.

Relationship Status… single. Ned arrives on Team Zissou a bachelor, but he soon meets an attractive and pregnant reporter named Jane, and he and Zissou briefly jockey for her attention. Ned is quite tender; he plans to give her his sand dollar necklace strung with peppermint floss in order to win her heart.

Challenge… discovering more about who his true father is and helping Zissou on his journey. He asks Zissou, “Why didn’t you contact me?” to which Zissou bitterly responds, “Because I hate fathers and I never wanted to be one.”

Personality… enthusiastic, romantic, and honest. In his documentary, Zissou describes Ned as “energetic, spirited, youthful.” This is a fair assessment. Ned is exceptionally optimistic, compassionate and thoughtful, but will confront people if he feels disrespected. When Zissou’s loyal but jealous second-in-command, Klaus, gets in his face, he says, “If you ever touch me again, I will kick your goddamn teeth out. Is that understood?”

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