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
August 24, 2014 -- Updated 2308 GMT (0708 HKT)
Click through our gallery to remember those we lost this year.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1954 GMT (0354 HKT)
Acclaimed actor-director Richard Attenborough has died at 90, the actor's agent said.
August 24, 2014 -- Updated 2203 GMT (0603 HKT)
The founder of the University of Phoenix, Dr. John G. Sperling, has died. He was 93.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
Don Pardo, the announcer whose velvety baritone voice introduced "Saturday Night Live" hosts on NBC for decades, has died at age 96.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1934 GMT (0334 HKT)
Jim Jeffords, who shifted the balance of power in the Senate when he bolted from the Republican Party in 2001, died at age 80.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 2132 GMT (0532 HKT)
Former Z-Boys skater Jay Adams died after a heart attack while vacationing in Mexico with his wife. He was 53.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 2335 GMT (0735 HKT)
Actress Arlene Martel, who "Star Trek" fans know as Spock's bride-to-be, died of complications from a heart attack. Martel was 78.
August 13, 2014 -- Updated 2048 GMT (0448 HKT)
Ed Nelson, best known for playing a doctor in the 1960s nighttime soap opera "Peyton Place," has died at 85.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 0308 GMT (1108 HKT)
Actress Lauren Bacall, known for her distinctive, husky voice and sultry sensuality, has died at age 89.
August 13, 2014 -- Updated 0219 GMT (1019 HKT)
Robin Williams, who first made America laugh and eventually touched "every element of the human spirit" in a remarkable range of performances, died at age 63.
August 13, 2014 -- Updated 2015 GMT (0415 HKT)
Charles Keating, best known for his role as villain Carl Hutchins on the NBC soap opera "Another World," has died at 72.
August 12, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
JJ Murphy, an actor who was set to join the "Game of Thrones" cast, died at age 86.
August 6, 2014 -- Updated 1919 GMT (0319 HKT)
Actress Marilyn Burn, a "scream queen" in the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," has died at age 64.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
James Brady, former press secretary to Ronald Reagan who was severely wounded in a 1981 assassination attempt on the President, has died at age 73.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1325 GMT (2125 HKT)
Nearly 69 years ago, Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk navigated a U.S. B-29 Superfortress called the Enola Gay over Hiroshima, Japan, on a sunny August day.
July 29, 2014 -- Updated 2139 GMT (0539 HKT)
James Shigeta, a prolific and pioneering Asian-American actor whose 50-year career includes the movies "Die Hard" and "Flower Drum Song," has died at age 81.
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.
ADVERTISEMENT