Maria Von Trapp, the last of the singing children immortalised in the movie musical ‘The Sound of Music’, has died at her home in Vermon. She was 99.
Trapp died of natural causes yesterday, her half-brother said. Marianne Dorfer, a family friend who runs the Von Trapp Villa Hotel in Salzburg, Austria, confirmed the news of her death.
“It was a surprise that she was the one in the family to live the longest because ever since she was a child she suffered from a weak heart.
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“It was the fact that she suffered from this that her father decided to hire Maria von Trapp to teach her and her brothers and sisters. That of course then led to one of the most remarkable musical partnerships of the last century,” Dorfer said.
Maria was born in 1914 and was the second-eldest daughter of Georg Johannes Von Trapp and his first wife, Agathe Whitehead von Trapp.
Their seven children were the basis for the singing family in the 1959 Broadway musical and 1965 film, ‘The Sound of Music’, which won the Oscar for best picture. Maria was portrayed as Louisa in the film (played by Heather Menzies) and musical.
It tells the story of an Austrian woman who married a widower with seven children and taught them music. Along with her family, Maria fled her home in Salzburg when the Nazis invaded. One of seven brothers and sisters, she toured the United States and Europe as part of a family choir, and eventually inspired the 1965 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.
The family moved to Vermont in 1942, and built a farmhouse where they took in boarders.
Johannes, the youngest son of Maria and Georg von Trapp, issued a statemment following his sister’s passing, “Thank you for your thoughts. Maria had a wonderful life and while we will miss her, the memories of her will live on,” Johannes wrote.
NBC revived the story for ‘The Sound of Music’ last year.