Rosmarie Trapp, the last surviving daughter of Georg and Maria Von Trapp, whose family inspired The Sound of Music, has died at her Vermont home at the age of 93, leaving just one of the couple’s children still living.
The family of Rosmarie, who had no children and dropped the Von in her name after becoming a US citizen i n 1950, shared the news of the musician’s death on Instagram on Sunday, saying the first child born to Georg and Maria, had ‘passed away peacefully on Friday evening at the age of 93’, saying ‘she was in the presence of loved ones all day long.’
The statement continued, ‘Her kindness, generosity, and colorful spirit were legendary, and she had a positive impact on countless lives’, and published two photos of Rosmarie, including one of the singer riding a bicycle and wearing a bright blue anorak.
The Sound of Music, released in 1965, remains one of the world’s best-loved films, telling the story of how Captain Georg Von Trapp, his ex-nun wife Maria and his seven children – born to his late wife Agathe – sing their way out of bankruptcy and escape Nazi-occupied Austria to start a new life in America.
Trapp was born on February 8th 1929, just outside Salzburg in Austria. During her lifetime, Rosmarie, who became part of the Trapp Family Singers, admitted that she had a strained relationship with her ‘difficult’ and ‘bossy’ mother Maria, particularly after the death of her father Georg in 1947.
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The extended Von Trapp family pictured in 1939, just a year after they fled Nazi Germany for a new life in Vermont, the story of which inspired a Broadway play, and then the famous 1965 film. Pictured top row: Werner and Rupert; Second row: Dr. Franz Wasner, Johanna, Martina, Maria and Georg, Johannes, Hedwig, Maria; Bottom: Agathe, Rosmarie and Eleonore
Rosmarie Trapp, the third youngest child of Georg and Maria Von Trapp, the couple whose family inspired The Sound of Music, died at her home in Vermont on Friday, her family said
The first of two images published by the Trapp Family Lodge Instagram account showed musician Rosmarie wearing a blue windbreaker and white helmet as she posed on a bike
Saying she often felt forced to perform on stage, the late musician told the Sunday People six years ago: ‘I was not happy on stage. I was made to do it. We never went running in a field and singing songs like that. We had a hard life. It was a struggle.’
Nearly 60 years after the film’s release, there is now only one of Georg and Maria’s children still living, 83-year-old Johannes, the couple’s last born child.
Many of the couple’s children have suggested that the film wasn’t entirely based on fact; while the Von Trapp family did flee their home in Nazi-occupied Austria in 1938, before performing together around the US, Hollywood clearly embellished a little in the Oscar-winning film, which saw Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews in the leading roles.
After arriving in the US, Georg and Maria bought the Trapp Family Lodge in 1950 – with the family becoming US citizens soon after.
Last year, Johannes, who still lives in Vermont, told ITV daytime show This Morning that he can’t ‘remember a time when my family wasn’t well known or famous.’
The family’s love of music has passed down through the generations; four of the Captain and Maria’s great-grandchildren – Sofi, Melanie, Amanda and August, now all in their twenties, have revived the family’s musical heritage and are singing together.
Here, FEMAIL Looks at what happened to the Von Trapp family, and the actors who took on the roles of her seven half-siblings to tell their extraordinary story on the big screen.
GEORG AND MARIA VON TRAPP
The family’s story begins with Georg Ritter Von Trapp, born on April 4th, 1880, in what is now Zadar in Croatia, part of the then Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The son of a navy captain, Georg signed up to the Royal Naval Academy in Fiume to follow in his father’s footsteps. At the age of 20, he fell for Agathe Whitehead and the pair wed before he went on to rise to the ranks of Lieutenant Commander during the First World War. His wife, Agathe, died in 1924 during the scarlet fever epidemic, leaving him to parent seven children alone.
Meanwhile, Austrian Maria Kutschera was born in 1905 while travelling from her parents’ village in Tyrol to a hospital in Vienna, Austria, on a train. By the time she was ten both of her parents had died and she was sent to live with a violent uncle.
Maria escaped from him and in 1926 she was a schoolteacher at the Nonnberg Abbey, in Salzburg, intending to become a nun.
However, while there she was asked to take a job as a governess at the home of a widowed Baron – Georg Von Trapp.
Family tragedy: Agathe Whitehead, the first wife of Baron Georg Von Trapp and mother to seven of his children, died of scarlet fever, leaving the naval commander to raise the family alone…at which point he enlisted the help of a young governess, Austrian Maria Kutschera
Not quite like the fairytale: Maria Kutschera (centre) was far from the idealized mother The Sound of Music portrays on screen, with her surviving son Johannes, now 83, suggesting his Austrian-born mother could be a ‘difficult’ woman
That man was Georg Von Trapp. They would quickly become married and have three more children, Johannes, Rosmarie and Eleonore, with Johannes, now 83, the only remaining Von Trapp sibling still alive.
It was not long before Maria founded a family choir. Although the children sang together before she joined them, they remember her particularly pushing public performances – especially after Georg lost his fortune.
The film was made after Broadway found a book detailing the family’s adventurers. Maria later sold the rights to Hollywood for £3,000.
Her story wasn’t quite as idyllic as the film makes out though, Maria was said to be at times a difficult woman plagued by insecurities. The Sound of Music’s director Robert Wise rebuffed her attempts to act as an adviser. He admitted in an interview: ‘She was bossy, I didn’t like that about her.’
RUPERT VON TRAPP
Born before the outbreak of World War I, Rupert Von Trapp would go on to serve in the Second World War as a medic
The first child of Georg and his first wife Agathe was born in 1911 and pursued a medical career alongside singing with his famous family. By the outbreak of the Second World War, Rupert was a qualified doctor. He died in the family’s adopted home state of Vermont in 1992 at the age of 80.
AGATHE VON TRAPP
Agathe Von Trapp was the oldest daughter of Austrian naval Captain Georg Ritter Von Trapp. His seven children by his first wife, Agathe, were the basis for the singing family in the 1959 play and 1965 film, which won the Oscar for best picture.
Agathe Von Trapp pictured, left, in 1948, and right with members of the Broadway cast of the film on her 85th birthday in 1998; she is seen left with her sister Maria, right, and two children from the production
Miss Von Trapp, 97, died at a hospice in Baltimore in 2010, after sharing five decades of her life with Mary Louis Kane. The companions ran a kindergarten together until 1993.
Agathe was played by Charmian Carr, who sang ‘16 Going On 17’ in the film and whose character was called Liesl. She was far more reserved than the outgoing character Liesl, according to longtime friend Kane.
Miss Von Trapp admired the movie, but felt it misrepresented her father as too strict, Miss Kane said. She added: ‘She cried when she first saw it because of the way they portrayed him.’
MARIA FRANZISKA VON TRAPP
Maria Franziska, the last of the seven brothers and sisters from the famous Von Trapp family, died in 2014 at the age of 99
Maria, the second-eldest daughter of Baron Von Trapp, was born in Zell am See, Salzburg, in 1914 and, of the seven siblings, who inspired the film was the last to pass away, reaching 99 before she died at her home in Vermont.
Her longevity wasn’t expected. Family friend Marianne Dorfer said at the time of her death in 2014 that she was ‘surprised’ that Maria had been the last of the family to survive because she had a weak heart, which indirectly led to The Sound of Music being born.
‘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,’ she said.
‘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.’
Maria was last back in Salzburg in 2008 when she flew back to her family home for the first time since she fled Nazi-occupied Austria. The estate, which was confiscated by the Nazis during World War Two at the request of SS police chief Heinrich Himmler, has now been transformed into a hotel.
WERNER VON TRAPP
Werner was born in 1915, and renamed as Kurt in The Sound Of Music movie. Of all the Von Trapp siblings, his legacy has seen the family’s music heritage live on via his grandchildren, who now have their own musical group.
Werner settled in Montana, with his grandchildren now living in Portland, Oregon. He died in 2007 aged 91.
Werner Von Trapp, pictured seated with his brother Rupert, pictured in military uniform during the Second World War – he died in 2007 aged 91
The Von Trapp descendants August, Sofi, Amanda and Melanie Von Trapp, have come together to sing once more – they are all the grandchildren of Werner Von Trapp, who died in 2007
His granddaughter Amanda said in 2014, ‘Grandfather Werner was a very quiet man, and didn’t tell many stories. He died in 2007, but long after he retired he’d come to our house to teach us Austrian yodelling songs and that inspired our love of music. But there was no pressure on us to carry on the family tradition.’
HEDWIG VON TRAPP
Maria Von Trapp (centre) with five of her daughters pictured in 1940. Front Row: Maria Franziska And Martina; Back Row: Agatha, Hedwig, Johanna
The fourth child of Georg Von Trapp, Hedwig was born in 1917 and, in comparison to many of her nonagenarian siblings, lived a short life, dying in 1972 at the age of 55. After settling in Vermont, Hedwig later moved to Hawaii where she taught singing and crafts.
JOHANNA VON TRAPP
Born just after the end of the First World War, Johanna Von Trapp was among the youngest of the seven siblings born to Agathe and Georg. She died on Christmas Day in 1994 at the age of 75.
A keen painter, Johanna married Ernst Florian Winter, who was the first director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, after the Second World War.
MARTINA VON TRAPP
The baby of the bunch, Martina Von Trapp was just two when her mother died – and she would lose her own life in at the age of just 30. She was portrayed as the character Gretl in the 1965 film
The youngest child of Agathe and Georg, Martina was born in Klosterneuburg, Austria on 17 February, 1921 – her mother would die before her second birthday during the scarlet fever epidemic.
Tragedy also followed for Martina; she died at the age of just 30 in 1951, following complications during childbirth. Her daughter survived the birth.
THE THREE CHILDREN THE VON TRAPPS HAD TOGETHER: ROSMARIE, ELEONORE AND JOHANNES
Rosmarie, Eleonore and Johannes were all born to Georg and Maria, half-siblings to Georg and Agathe’s seven children: Rupert, Agathe, Maria Franziska, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna and Martina.
While they weren’t portrayed in the film, they did go on to become part of the Trapp Family Singers, which toured the world and were lead by Maria.
Eleonore was the second daughter of the couple; she died on Oct 24th in 2021 in Vermont, at the age of 90.
Rosmarie, Eleonore and Johannes weren’t portrayed in the film about their parents and seven half-siblings’ lives – but they did all go on to tour in the Trapp Family Singers
Johannes Von Trapp, 82, spoke to Phillip Schofield and Josie Gibson on This Morning today from his family lodge in Vermont, he was joined by his son Sam, 49.
Johannes, the youngest of the Von Trapp siblings, is now the only one still living; pictured in 1998 with his sisters Maria, left, and Agathe, centre
Rosmarie, who’s died at the age of 93, has previously shared how she had a difficult relationship with her mother Maria
Rosmarie, older sister, born in 1929, died on Friday at the age of 93. She had dedicated her life to music but wasn’t always receptive to her mother’s dominating ways.
She called her mother ‘difficult’ – particularly after her father Georg died in 1947; and told the Sunday People six years ago: ‘I was not happy on stage. I was made to do it. We never went running in a field and singing songs like that. We had a hard life. It was a struggle.’
The last surviving member of the Von Trapp family – the youngest of Georg’s ten children is Johannes, born in 1939.
The Vermont native, who was born in Philadelphia, told ITV’s This Morning last year that the film is ‘far from a documentary’ and that he has ‘never known what it’s like to not be famous’ as he claimed fans of the film still visit their home to ask to see the children.
‘We were well known among a small group who knew the kind of music we did, but The Sound of Music just opened us up to the whole world.
‘All of a sudden people were coming to our small house in northern Vermont’.
Where are the actors who played the von Trapp children in The Sound of Music now?
MARTA: Debbie was as much an athlete as an actress as a child, and she opted for sports after playing Marta von Trapp.
The keen ski-er and mother-of-four began a new career as an interior designer and now owns a design business in Minnesota.
LIESL: Charmian Carr quit Hollywood to focus on raising her two daughters Jennifer and Emily, and became a successful interior designer. She died in 2016, aged 73.
Having played the eldest von Trapp daughter, she published two books about her experience making the film: Forever Liesl and Letters To Liesl.
Pictured from left, Chairmian Carr, as Liesl, Nicholas Hammond, as Friedrich, Julie Andrews, as Maria, Heather Menzies (back row) as Louisa, Duane Chase, as Kurt, and Angela Cartwright, as Brigitta. Front row, from left, Kym Karath, as Gretl, and Debbie Turner, as Marta
Kym Karath, Debbie Turner, Angela Cartwright, Duane Chase, Heather Menzies, Nicholas Hammond and Charmian Car, pictured left to right in 2012
BRIGITTA: Angela Cartwright, from Los Angeles, who started performing at age 3, went on to star in the TV series Lost in Space and Make Room for Granddaddy after playing Brigitta in The Sound Of Music.
She traded acting for other artistic pursuits, including photography and painting, after having children.
KURT: Duane was 15-years-old when he took on the role of Kurt von Trapp. He continued acting until his teens, including an appearance in the 1966 Kurt Russell film, Follow Me, Boys! as well as acting in Western TV series The Big Valley.
Chase, of Seattle, switched gears in college, earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in geology and working as a software engineer.
The actors who became part of cinematic history when they were cast as the von Trapp children in The Sound Of Music have reunited online to promote face masks inspired by the ‘patterned curtain’ ensembles they sported in the film (pictured)
Debbie Turner, the American actress who played Marta von Trapp, has created a line of face coverings in fabric reminiscent of the drapes-turned-clothes worn by the youngsters in the 1965 classic. Pictured, her on-screen siblings sporting the coverings
FRIEDRICH: For Nicholas Hammond, who portrayed the eldest von Trapp son, The Sound Of Music came early in a still-thriving entertainment career.
Hammond continued to collect film and TV credits as he pursued an English literature degree at Princeton. He now lives in Australia and works as an actor, writer and director.
GRETL: Five-year-old Kym stole hearts when she played the youngest child Gretl. Roles in Lost In Space and The Brady Bunch followed but after going to college at USC, she focused on parenting rather than performing when her son Eric was born with disabilities.
Along with other parents, Karath helped establish the Aurelia Foundation, which provides services for special-needs individuals once they finish high school.
LOUISA: The Sound Of Music was Heather Menzies-Urich’s first movie. She continued acting after she wed actor Robert Urich, but stopped when their children were born. The Canadian-born actress died at the age of 68 in 2017.