Maria Von Trapp, Last Surviving Member of Von Trapp Family, Dies at 99

Celebrity News Feb. 22, 2014 AT 7:20PM
Maria Von Trapp Maria Von Trapp, the last surviving member of the famous musical Von Trapp family, has died at the age of 99 Credit: REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Maria Von Trapp, the last surviving member of the famous musical Trapp family, has died at the age of 99.

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Von Trapp was the last surviving member of the Austrian family of seven brothers and sisters and died in her sleep at her Vermont home. "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," family friend Marianne Dorfer told the Austrian Times.

"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," she continued. "That of course then led to one of the most remarkable musical partnerships of the last century."

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Maria Von Trapp, who's story inspired The Sound of music, has passed away.
Maria Von Trapp, who's story inspired The Sound of music, has passed away.
Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

Indeed, as the second-eldest daughter, Von Trapp and her family famously escaped the Nazis in the 1930s for a better life in the states. It was also Maria's poor health that led her father, Baron von Trapp, to hire a governess for the children. (According to the Times, Maria's first visit back to Austria after escaping was in 2008.)

The family's story was the inspiration for Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1959 broadway hit, and in 1965, Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer then starred in its film adaptation. Actress Heather Menzies portrayed Maria as the character Louisa.

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Last December, country singer Carrie Underwood starred in NBC's The Sound of Music Live! production. The television adaptation sparked both positive and negative praise, and pulled in 18.47 million viewers.

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