Even though the 1965 film The Sound of Music was released over 50 years ago, featuring seven kid actors who grew up to be stunning, it continues to hold a special place in many people’s hearts. The classic musical is still watched all over the world and has plenty of fans, many of whom can sing along to each sweeping number without missing a word (via The Guardian). The movie tells the story of Maria, an unruly young nun-in-training, played to perfection by Julie Andrews. She is sent to be the governess for the seven children of the widowed Captain von Trapp, played by Christopher Plummer. When Maria brings music and joy back into the family’s life, the pair fall in love.
While the romance is a big part of the movie, the seven von Trapp children are arguably what makes the story so touching. Anyone who is a fan of the movie probably knows the names and ages of each child — but few of us know what happened to the actors who played them. Wondering what became of the seven von Trapp children? Keep reading to discover where they all ended up.
Charmian Carr, who played Liesl, wrote two books about The Sound of Music before passing away in 2016
The oldest of the von Trapp siblings was Liesl, who, in the movie, was portrayed by actress Charmian Carr. The character is best known for the song “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.” Prior to appearing in The Sound of Music, Carr had hardly any acting experience. After the movie, Carr appeared in only one other Hollywood musical, Evening Primrose (via The Hollywood Reporter).
Carr was eager to make the most out of the cult success of The Sound of Music. She wrote two books about her personal experience filming it, called Forever Liesl and Letters to Liesl. In Forever Liesl, Carr shared plenty of on-set anecdotes about the actors who portrayed the von Trapp family, along with stories about meeting the real-life von Trapps. She even made frequent appearances at sing-a-long performances of the musical, according to USA Today. Eventually, Carr gave up acting and became an interior designer for some of Hollywood’s elite, including the king of pop himself, Michael Jackson. Sadly, Carr passed away in 2016 at 73 years old.
Nicholas Hammond, who played Friedrich in The Sound of Music, has appeared in some A-list movies
Friedrich von Trapp was the eldest boy in the family. In the movie, he was portrayed by Nicholas Hammond. When he landed the role, Hammond already had a few impressive acting credits under his belt, including the movie Lord of the Flies. In 2019, Hammond spoke to Wicked Local about The Sound of Music. “When the end credits ran on the very first premiere of the movie, everybody’s life changed,” he shared. “From that moment on, we became the seven most famous children in the world.”
For Hammond, the success of the movie led to a long-lasting career. After the life-changing role, he went on to become the titular character in the 1977 The Amazing Spider-Man series — and one of the biggest movie directors in Hollywood saw Hammond’s performance. Apparently, Quentin Tarantino was so impressed that he offered him a role in the A-list movie Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood alongside Al Pacino.
It’s clear that Hammond has loved performing since he was a child — and judging by his more recent roles, he won’t be giving up anytime soon!
Heather Menzies, who played Louisa in The Sound of Music, sadly passed away in 2017
Heather Menzies, who found fame portraying Louisa von Trapp in The Sound of Music, never really experienced the same level of celebrity with her later projects. According to the BBC, her biggest brush with stardom after the movie was a controversial photo in Playboy that was headlined, “The Tender Trapp.”
In 1975, Menzies married Robert Urich, a famous actor and film producer. As Urich told People, they met on the set of a commercial. Apparently, it took Menzies a little while to warm to Urich, and the actor spent days trying to convince her to go on a date. Finally, she agreed, and soon enough, they were inseparable. According to Time, Menzies went on to start a cancer research foundation after Urich’s death in 2002. Sadly, Menzies passed away in 2017 on Christmas Eve. Her son, Ryan Urich, told TMZ that Menzies “was an actress, a ballerina and loved living her life to the fullest.”
Duane Chase, who played Kurt in The Sound of Music, quit acting after high school
Duane Chase played the young son Kurt von Trapp when he was only 13 years old. Then in 2013, Parade interviewed Chase to find out what he’d been up to since filming The Sound of Music. As it turns out, the movie changed his life forever in a pretty surprising way. Apparently, Chase became fascinated by the geological beauty of Austria while he and the other children were on location filming. He even disappeared a few times on solo bike rides and hikes so he could explore his natural surroundings.
When Chase graduated from high school, he decided to pursue interests other than acting. Thanks to his love of climbing and geology, Chase ended up working for the U.S. Forest Service as a firefighter, before earning a master’s degree in geology. Eventually, he settled down in Seattle where he works as a software analyst and designer making software for a geology company. It’s pretty amazing that Chase discovered his passion for geology as a young teen on a huge movie set — not many folks can say the same!
Angela Cartwright, who played Brigitta in The Sound of Music, became a professional photographer
Unlike some of the other children from The Sound of Music, Angela Cartwright, who played Brigitta von Trapp in the movie, went on to have a relatively exciting acting career. As Cartwright told Channel 10 in 2011, she started acting when she was just 3 years old. She continued to work in the industry after appearing The Sound of Music, too. One of Cartwright’s biggest roles was playing Penny Robinson in the “campy cult classic” television show Lost in Space, as Forbes described it.
In the ’90s, Cartwright and her husband opened a shop in Los Angeles selling odd trinkets and curiosities. She also spent much of her time raising her two children. And as she told Television Vanguard, Cartwright always felt the urge to return to acting throughout her life. Eventually, she found an outlet for her creativity by becoming a professional photographer known for her eerie shots that play with light and shadow.
Debbie Turner, who played Marta in The Sound of Music, became an international floral designer
Debbie Turner played the adorable, soft-spoken Marta von Trapp in The Sound of Music. After spending time filming in the mountains of Austria, Turner eventually took to the mountains of America for a surprisingly different reason: professional skiing! She even met her husband on the slopes. As she told Minnesota Monthly, “We both come from ‘skiing’ families.” Additionally, The Sound of Music actually holds a special place in her husband’s heart; it was one of the last films he watched with his father before he passed away.
After a career in skiing, Turner decided to embark on a career in floral design. She got her start at a hugely successful craft show in 1989. “Now, I am a floral designer for weddings, events, commercial, indoor and out, many in the Lake Minnetonka area,” she explained. By the looks of things, her designs really are gorgeous!
Kym Karath, who played Gretl in The Sound of Music, co-founded an organization for disabled adults
The youngest of the von Trapp children in The Sound of Music was Gretl, who was played by Kym Karath. Karath went on to appear in a host of other movies and television shows, including Lost in Space, which also starred Angela Cartwright, who played Brigitta von Trapp. Eventually, Karath left acting behind and established the Aurelia Foundation, which specializes in adult day programs for disabled people who are leaving high school. According to Palm Springs Life, Karath was inspired to start the foundation because of her son, who had a stroke as a baby.
In addition to running her foundation, Karath has worked as a print model in Paris, where she’s also been writing a screenplay. Apparently, her movie Twenty Boulevard St. Germain will star Catherine Deveuve and Vincent Perez. According to Karath, the movie is “loosely autobiographical.” We can’t wait to see Karath’s next creation.
Does Karath stay in touch with her fellow cast mates? Apparently they get together as often as they can. “The best part of the movie is that we became like a second family,” she revealed.
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