MARIA AGATHA FRANZISKA GOBERTINA VON TRAPP 1914-2014
Maria Agatha Franziska Gobertina von Trapp - the last of the real-life Von Trapp children whose flight from Nazi-occupied Austria with their parents was dramatised in the stage musical and film The Sound of Music - has died. She was 99.
Maria von Trapp was the third eldest of Captain Georg von Trapp's children. Ironically, she outlived her siblings despite poor health for much of her early life.
Original cast members from the movie The Sound of Music gather for a photo during the release of the 40th Anniversary special edition DVD release party in 2005 in New York. Clockwise from top left are, Charmain Carr (Liesl), Debbie Turner (Marta), Kym Karath (Gretl), Duane Chase (Kurt), Angela Cartwright (Brigitta), Julie Andrews (Maria von Trapp), Heather Menzies Urich (Louisa) and Nicholas Hammond (Freidrich). Photo: AP
A family friend said she died in her sleep at her home in Vermont, in the eastern United States. The Trapp family have been based in Vermont since their now famous emigration to the US on the eve of World War II.
In the stage musical and film versions of the Trapp family's story, Maria's name was changed to Louisa. She was played in the film adaptation by actress Heather Menzies Urich.
As the film depicted, Captain Georg von Trapp had seven children with his first wife, Agathe Whitehead. They were Rupert, Agathe, Maria, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna and Martina.
Maria von Trapp, daughter of Austrian Baron Georg von Trapp, at the Villa Trapp in Salzburg, Austria in 2008. She has died aged 99. Photo: AP
In the stage and film adaptations, their names were changed to Friederich, Liesl, Louisa, Curt, Brigitta, Marta and Gretl.
After Whitehead's death, Maria Kutschera (played in the film by Julie Andrews) was seconded from a nearby convent to tutor the children. She and von Trapp were later married and had three more children, Rosemarie, Eleonore and Johannes.
Speaking to the Austrian Times newspaper, family friend Marianne Dorfer confirmed the 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," Dorfer said.
"It was the fact that she suffered from this that her father decided to hire Maria Kutschera 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."
At 99, the younger Maria von Trapp was the last surviving child of Captain von Trapp's children from his first marriage.
All three of his younger children, from his second marriage, are still alive.
Although the fictionalised account of their lives differed from actual history, it is true that the family performed as a musical group and toured. They left Austria in 1938 to tour and elected not to return.
In 1942 they settled on a farm in the US state of Vermont.