Skip to main content

Maria von Trapp, last of famous singing siblings, dies at 99

By Lawrence Crook III, CNN
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Maria von Trapp dies at 99 in Vermont
  • She was one of the original family singers
  • Her father, stepmother left Austria before WWII
  • Story made famous by "The Sound of Music"

(CNN) -- Maria von Trapp, the last of the singing children immortalized in the movie musical "The Sound of Music," died at her Vermont home of natural causes, her half-brother told CNN on Saturday.

The native of Austria was 99 and lived in Stowe. She died Tuesday.

Maria von Trapp was the third-oldest child of Agathe Whitehead and Capt. Georg von Trapp. The couple had seven children: Rupert, Agathe, Maria, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna and Martina.

Georg von Trapp's second wife, Maria Kutschera von Trapp, wrote a book titled "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers," which sparked two German-made movies and "The Sound of Music."

The Trapp Family Singers rehearse in 1946. Maria von Trapp, who died Tuesday, is third from left.
The Trapp Family Singers rehearse in 1946. Maria von Trapp, who died Tuesday, is third from left.

In 1959, the play "The Sound of Music" opened on Broadway. Julie Andrews, in arguably her most famous role, played the part of Georg's wife, Maria, in the 1965 film. Christopher Plummer played Baron von Trapp. The movie won five Academy Awards, including best picture.

Johannes, the youngest son of Maria and Georg von Trapp, issued a statement following his sister's passing: "Thank you for your thoughts. Maria had a wonderful life and while we will miss her, the memories of her will live on," Johannes wrote.

Maria von Trapp later in life served as a lay missionary in Papua, New Guinea. She never married.

Click through to see people who passed away in 2014. Click through to see people who passed away in 2014.
People we lost in 2014
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: People we lost in 2014 Photos: People we lost in 2014

Both of Maria's parents were talented musicians. Agathe played the violin and the piano while her father played the violin, accordion and mandolin.

"Sometimes our house must have sounded like a musical conservatory. You could hear us practice piano, violin, guitar, cello, clarinet, accordion, and later, recorders. We would gather in the evenings to play Viennese folksongs on our instruments with Father leading on the violin," Maria wrote in her autobiography found on the Trapp Family Lodge's website.

Agathe von Trapp died of scarlet fever in 1922. Maria also suffered from the disease and needed to be tutored at home as a result. That teacher, Maria, would eventually marry Georg in 1927.

The couple would go on to have three more children: Rosmarie, Eleonore and Johannes. The Trapps fled Nazi-occupied Austria in 1938 and moved to the United States.

The Trapp family, after traveling the world, purchased a 27-room family home in Stowe in 1950.

Thirty years later, the building was destroyed in a fire, then rebuilt into the Trapp Family Lodge. The property is still owned and operated by remaining members of the Trapp family, according to the lodge's website.

The elder Maria von Trapp died in 1987.

People we've lost in 2014

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1647 GMT (0047 HKT)
Click through our gallery to remember those we lost this year.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Actress Skye McCole Bartusiak, who played Mel Gibson's youngest daughter in "The Patriot," has died at age 21.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
James Garner, the understated, wisecracking everyman actor who enjoyed multi-generational success on both the small and big screen, has died. He was 86.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Actress Elaine Stritch, known for her brash persona, gravelly voice and versatility over seven decades on Broadway, has died at age 89.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1628 GMT (0028 HKT)
American blues guitarist and singer Johnny Winter died in a hotel room in Switzerland at age 70.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 2159 GMT (0559 HKT)
Nadine Gordimer, the Nobel Prize-winning South African author and anti-apartheid activist, has died at age 90.
July 13, 2014 -- Updated 1903 GMT (0303 HKT)
Grammy-winning jazz bassist Charlie Haden, whose music career spanned seven decades and several genres, has died at age 76.
July 13, 2014 -- Updated 2030 GMT (0430 HKT)
Renowned conductor Lorin Maazel died from complications of pneumonia at age 84.
July 13, 2014 -- Updated 1350 GMT (2150 HKT)
Drummer Tommy Ramone was 65 and the last living original member of The Ramones. Ramone was also one of the band's composers.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 2321 GMT (0721 HKT)
Rosemary Murphy, an Emmy Award-winning actress, has died. She was 89.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 2259 GMT (0659 HKT)
"Harry Potter" actor David Legeno has died at age 50, a California sheriff's office said.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 0017 GMT (0817 HKT)
Eileen Ford, who founded Ford Model Agency 70 years ago and helped modernize the modeling industry, has died at the age of 92.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 1928 GMT (0328 HKT)
The actor who gave voice to Pinocchio in Walt Disney's 1940 animation movie has died. He was 87.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 2033 GMT (0433 HKT)
Eduard Shevardnadze, whose political career seesawed between two extremes, has died at age 86.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 1306 GMT (2106 HKT)
Former Real Madrid star Alfredo Di Stefano, widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, has died at the age of 88.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Richard Mellon Scaife, the billionaire publisher and banking heir who financed conservative causes that included attempts to discredit Bill Clinton while he was president, has died.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1939 GMT (0339 HKT)
Louis Zamperini, the Olympic runner and World War II officer who survived a horrific plane crash, a seven-week raft journey, near starvation and unspeakable torture, has died at age 97.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1323 GMT (2123 HKT)
Walter Dean Myers, a beloved author of children's books, died following a brief illness. He was 76.
ADVERTISEMENT