CATEGORIES Where Are They Now?
Even four decades after the movie's theatrical release, the hills are indeed still alive with 'The Sound of Music.' The story of the beautiful young Austrian novice Maria (Julie Andrews) who's sent to play governess to the seven unruly Von Trapp children and falls in love with their widower father, Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), remains one of the most beloved musicals of all time. Unbelievably catchy songs, career-defining performances and a touching, crowd-pleasing plot made 'The Sound of Music' one of those timeless must-see films for all audiences.
In honor of the movie's 45th anniversary, the ensemble cast will be making the rounds promoting the film that is surely one of our 'Favorite Things,' and even reunited on the Oct. 28 episode of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show,' in anticipation of the upcoming Blu-ray DVD release on Nov. 2. With all of that musical nostalgia in the air, here's an update on what those singing Von Trapps have been up to since they sang and danced around Salzburg.
Played: Fraulein Maria
As Fraulein Maria, the young nun with a divine voice, Andrews wowed audiences again -- just one year after her Academy-Award-winning role as 'Mary Poppins' -- with her glorious pipes and her ingenue looks. The woman who taught moviegoers their Do-Re-Mis went on to appear in more than 40 films or TV series, from her first post-'Music' role in Alfred Hitchcock's 'Torn Curtain' to this year's 3-D animated adventures 'Shrek Forever After' and 'Despicable Me.' Married to director Blake Edwards since 1969, Andrews famously lost her voice after a thyroid surgery in 1997 that made it nearly impossible for her to sing, but she remains one of the most sought-after voice actresses and is known for playing posh grandmotherly types like the Queen Consort of Genovia in 'The Princess Diaries.'
Played: Captain von Trapp
Head of the von Trapp clan, the Captain is a strict disciplinarian who's eventually softened by and smitten with his lovely young governess. Since the film Plummer has been known to distance himself from the role, going so far as to call the Captain "humorless and one-dimensional" in his 2008 autobiography, 'In Spite of Myself.' Despite being so closely associated with Captain Von Trapp, Plummer has enjoyed a prolific career on screen and stage since the 1950s. In January, 2010, the 80-year-old finally received his very first Academy Award nomination, for playing Leo Tolstoy in 'The Last Station.' His upcoming films include a key role in David Fincher's 'Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' adaptation and the father-son Toronto Film Fest hit 'Beginners,' opposite Ewan McGregor.
Played: Max Detweiler
Haydn was the von Trapp family friend the children endearingly called "Uncle Max." He provided a humorous counterpoint to the Captain's uptight demeanor, and is the catalyst for the major plot developments in the story -- he insists Maria attend the ball as a guest and pushes the Captain to allow the children to perform at the Salzburg Music Festival. 'The Sound of Music' was one of Haydn's final films, although he'd been a screen and stage actor since the early '40s. His last movie performances include the Disney comedy 'The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin' and Mel Brooks' legendary 'Young Frankenstein.' After more than four decades in the industry, Haydn died of heart failure on April 25, 1985. He was 80 years old.
Played: Baroness Elsa Schraeder
Parker played the gorgeous, wealthy and sophisticated Baroness who's briefly engaged to the Captain and plans to send the children to boarding school -- if she can keep his eyes off of the lovely Maria. Despite her posh accent, Parker is a Midwestern-bred actress who started acting as an ingenue in age 18 and went on earn three Academy Award nominations in the 1950s for her work in 'Caged,' 'Detective Story' and 'Interrupted Melody.' After playing the ice-queen Baroness, Parker continued to act in nearly 30 film and television roles before retiring from Hollywood in 1991.
Played: Liesl von Trapp
Liesl was the 'Sixteen Going on Seventeen' beauty hopelessly infatuated with Rolfe (Daniel Truhitte), the town messenger boy. Although she doesn't end up with more than a kiss (he becomes a Nazi!), Carr cemented herself in the collective pop-culture consciousness with her role. The year after 'The Sound of Music,' Carr appeared opposite Anthony Perkins in a TV movie, 'Evening Primrose,' but after that stepped away from Hollywood to concentrate on an interior design career. In addition to some national commercial campaigns, Carr has made a career out of her 'Sound of Music' experiences, authoring two books ('Forever Liesl' and 'Letters to Liesl'), hosting 'Sound of Music' segments on musical retrospectives and performing her signature song at various events.
Hammond, one of the few kids in the film who had actual acting experience before landing the von Trapp role, played the second-oldest of the children. The son of an actress, Hammond had appeared in 1963's 'Lord of the Flies' before 'Sound of Music' and went on to star as Peter Parker/Spider-Man on the television series 'The Amazing Spider-Man' in 1977-79, as well as dozens of TV spots, movies and plays in the U.S. and Australia, where the American actor has lived since the 1980s.
As the beautiful blonde middle daughter, Louisa, Menzies was one of the feisty older von Trapps who resisted the idea of needing a governess. Off-screen, Menzies continued acting, appearing in nine films and 27 TV productions, including 'Hawaii' (opposite Andrews), 'Piranha' and 'Logan's Run.' Menzies was married to the late Robert Urich for 28 years, working with him on-screen and stage several times. Since Urich's death in 2002, Menzies has headed the Robert Urich Foundation for Cancer Research and Patient Care, which they founded together. Like all of the other von Trapp kids, Menzies is very close to her on-screen siblings. She produces projects with Angela Cartwright (Brigitta) and acts as godmother to Kym Karath's (Gretl) son.
As the young Kurt, Chase got to play a practical joke on Maria but was quickly won over by his singing governess. Except for one episode of the television series 'The Big Valley' in 1966, Chase left the industry after 'The Sound of Music.' He attended the University of California Santa Barbara, where he studied geology, eventually earning his master's degree in the subject from the University of Alabama. He and his wife live in Seattle where he works as a computer-software designer specializing in geophysics and geology.
As the cheeky brunette Brigitta, Cartwright kept tricking Maria into thinking she was Louisa. She was by far the best-known of the von Trapp children because of her seven-season run as Danny Thomas' daughter on 'Make Room for Daddy' from 1957-65. Immediately after 'The Sound of Music,' Cartwright went on to play the middle daughter, Penny Robinson, on the CBS sci-fi show 'Lost in Space' from 1965-68 and afterward appeared in more than a dozen other television series. In 1998, Cartwright also had a cameo in the 'Lost in Space' film adaptation. Cartwright, who has been a professional photographer and author for more than 30 years, comes from a showbiz family; her older sister Veronica Cartwright is a character actress who's amassed more than 120 acting credits.
Marta was the second-youngest von Trapp. Turner had a successful career in print and television commercials -- particularly for Mattel toys -- as a young girl, before leaving Hollywood to concentrate on her studies and skiing, which she pursued in college and professionally after graduation. A lifelong lover of flowers, Turner became a well-known floral designer and runs a flower-arrangement studio, Debbie Turner Originals, in Minnesota, where she lives with her husband and their four daughters.
As little Gretl, Karath stole hearts with her adorable performance as the youngest von Trapp child, especially when she sang the last line of 'So Long, Farewell.' 'The Sound of Music' was her fourth and final film performance. After the musical, Karath popped up on several television shows in the '60s, '70s and '80s, from 'Peyton Place' and 'The Brady Bunch' to 'All My Children.' She lives in Los Angeles with her husband (whom she met in Paris, where she modeled and studied art history) and son, and remains close to her 'Sound of Music' co-stars: "Big sister" Heather Menzies (Louisa) is her son's godmother.
Messenger boy Rolfe played a small but pivotal role in the musical; he was the 17-year-old who duets with Liesl and gives her a memorable first kiss, and then later, heartbreakingly, joins the Nazi Party and refuses to flee to Switzerland with the von Trapps. Although 'The Sound of Music' remains his only feature film credit, Truhitte has performed in stage plays and musicals throughout the country, and he also works as a real estate agent and vocal coach. In 1993, the Old Town Theatre in Concord, North Carolina asked him to play the Captain in their revival of 'The Sound of Music,' a production that earned national attention, including a special segment from 'Entertainment Tonight.'