Maria von Trapp Franziska, last living member of the Trapp Family Singers -- who inspired “The Sound of Music” -- died on Tuesday in her Vermont home, Associated Press reported on Saturday. She was 99.
Von Trapp's brother, Johannes von Trapp, referred to his sister as a "lovely woman who was one of the few truly good people.”
Marianne Dorfer, a family friend who runs the von Trapp Villa Hotel in Salzburg, Austria, confirmed her passing to the Austrian Times, and added it was remarkable that Maria outlived her other siblings because of a condition she was diagnosed with as a child.
"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,” she said. “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. That of course then led to one of the most remarkable musical partnerships of the last century."
The family rose to fame throughout Europe in 1938 after escaping Nazi-occupied Austria, and they garnered national attention once their story was turned into a major motion picture and Broadway play. Recently, American singer Carrie Underwood starred as Maria von Trapp in a 2013 adaptation of the 1965 iconic film.
Hollywood took some liberties when making the family's story into a film, so in memory of Maria and her famous family, von Trapp facts and fiction have been separated below:
--Maria von Trapp Franziska was the second-eldest daughter. In the movie, she was renamed Louisa and played by Heather Menzies.
--Naval captain Georg von Trapp’s first wife, Agathe Whitehead von Trapp, did pass away while the children were young. After her death, the woman Julie Andrews played in the film was hired to take care of the children and the baron eventually fell in love with her and married her, just like the movie. Maria's name was probably changed in the movie as to avoid confusion with her stepmother's name, Maria Augusta Kutschera.
Maria explained on her family’s website: "As a result of scarlet fever, I was too sickly to walk the three miles to school every day, and the doctor advised that I stay home. This condition brought Maria Augusta Kutschera to teach me first grade gymnasium, the equivalent of middle school. She came to us as my teacher and after three years became our second mother."
--The children’s real names were: Rupert, Agathe, Maria, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna and Martina. Then, the children born with Captian Von Trapp’s second wife were: Rosmarie, Eleonore and Johannes. In the film, their names are: Liesl, Louisa, Friedrich, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta and Gretl.
--In the film, the family is shown singing with their father, but the von Trapps also played instruments.
"Father played the violin, accordion and mandolin. Mother played piano and violin," she had written on her website. "I have fond memories of our grandmother playing the piano for us after meals."
--In 1942, the family moved to Vermont where they built a farmhouse and took in boarders and eventually built a ski lodge in Stowe. At the lodge, Rosmarie and Maria would teach visitors Austrian dance and play the accordion.
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