STOWE, Vt. – Maria von Trapp, a member of the musical family whose escape from Nazi-occupied Austria was the basis for “The Sound of Music,” has died, her brother said Saturday.
Von Trapp, 99, died at her home in Vermont on Tuesday, Johannes von Trapp said.
“She was a lovely woman who was one of the few truly good people,” he said. “There wasn’t a mean or miserable bone in her body. I think everyone who knew her would agree with that.”
Maria von Trapp was the last surviving member of the seven original Trapp Family Singers made famous in “The Sound of Music.” Their story was turned into the film and Broadway musical.
She was the third child and second-oldest daughter of Austrian Naval Capt. Georg von Trapp and his first wife, Agathe Whitehead von Trapp. Their seven children were the basis for the singing family in the 1959 Broadway musical and 1965 film, which won the Oscar for best picture. Maria von Trapp was portrayed as Louisa in the film and musical.
“The Sound of Music” was based loosely on a 1949 book by von Trapp’s second wife, also Maria von Trapp, who died in 1987. It tells the story of an Austrian woman who married a widower with seven children and teaches them music.
In 1938, the family escaped from Nazi-occupied Austria. After they arrived in New York, the family became popular with concert audiences. The family eventually settled in Vermont, where they opened a ski lodge in Stowe.
Von Trapp played accordion and taught Austrian dance with sister Rosmarie at the lodge.
Rosmarie von Trapp, Johannes von Trapp and Eleonore Von Trapp Campbell were born to Georg von Trapp and Maria von Trapp.