THEN AND NOW: The cast of 'The Sound of Music'
"The Sound of Music," a family favorite to watch during the holidays, was released in 1965.
Julie Andrews, who played Maria, mostly recently narrated "Bridgerton."
Debbie Turner, who played Marta von Trapp, sold face masks inspired by "The Sound of Music" in 2020.
Julie Andrews played Maria, a feisty nun who takes a job as a governess for the seven von Trapp children.
At the time of the film's production in 1964, Julie Andrews was just 29 years old. Initially, Andrews was hesitant to accept the role. The star's breakthrough Disney film "Mary Poppins" was still in production, and she was worried about playing another "wholesome nanny" role, according to Biography.com.
Other actresses, including Audrey Hepburn, Doris Day, and even Grace Kelly, were considered for the role, but in the end, Andrews was screenplay writer Ernest Lehman's first choice.
It ended up being the right choice — Andrews received an Oscar nomination for best actress at the 38th Academy Awards.
Julie Andrews is now the narrator of the hit Netflix period drama series "Bridgerton."
Andrews has had a prolific acting career. Among her roles, she played Queen Clarisse in the "Princess Diaries" movies, although she recently revealed she likely won't be returning for the third film.
Over the past ten years, she's mostly voice-acted, appearing as characters in the "Shrek" and "Despicable Me" movies, among others. Andrews, 87, also voices the narrator and elusive gossip columnist Lady Whistledown in "Bridgerton."
"She was at the top of our list for Lady Whistledown," "Bridgerton" showrunner Chris Van Dusen told OprahMag.com in 2020. "We offered her the part, sent her the scripts, not thinking anything would really come of it. But surprisingly she read the scripts and fell in love with them."
"Bridgerton" series author Julia Quinn said she was shocked. "When they told me I legitimately stopped breathing," she said. "I mean, I should be dead."
Speaking to Vanity Fair this year, Andrews said her pivot to voice acting over the last decade has been "wonderful."
"I don't have to get hair and makeup anymore. I just go into the studio and do my voiceovers," she said.
Christopher Plummer played the aloof Captain Georg von Trapp.
Plummer also recalled being hesitant about the script, "because it was so awful and sentimental and gooey," he told the Hollywood Reporter. "You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some minuscule bit of humor into it."
However, it was Plummer's background as a dramatic actor that made him perfect for the role in the producers' eyes. Despite his acting chops, his singing ended up being dubbed in the final version with singer Bill Lee's voice, NPR reported.
Christopher Plummer passed away at the age of 91 in 2021.
He was nominated for three Academy Awards, ultimately winning the best supporting actor award for "Beginners" in 2012. At 82, he became the oldest actor to ever receive an Oscar.
Most recently, in 2019, Plummer starred in Rian Johnson's "Knives Out" opposite Chris Evans and Ana de Armas.
However, it was his part as Captain Georg von Trapp in "The Sound of Music" that he is arguably most fondly remembered for, though he frequently shunned the movie in later years.
"I was a bit bored with the character," Plummer told The Boston Globe in 2010. "Although we worked hard enough to make him interesting, it was a bit like flogging a dead horse. And the subject matter is not mine. I mean, it can't appeal to every person in the world. It's not my cup of tea."
Despite not liking his role in the movie, Plummer remained "the best of friends" with his costar Julie Andrews for decades, she told ABC.
On February 5, 2021, Christopher Plummer died at his home in Connecticut with his wife, Elaine Taylor, by his side. He was 91.
Charmian Carr was a little bit older than her character Liesl von Trapp was supposed to be in the movie.
Rather than being 16 going on 17, the actress was actually 21 years old when she played the eldest von Trapp child in her breakout role.
According to The Telegraph, it was Carr's mother who recommended her to a casting agent for "The Sound of Music," saying, "She's 21, but she could pass for 16."
The actress was working as a physician's assistant at the time and had no theatrical or musical training. However, she captivated the casting agents with her beautiful voice and appearance.
Carr starred in only one TV movie after "The Sound of Music." She passed away in 2016.
Carr starred in the musical "Evening Primrose" in 1966, the year after "The Sound of Music" was released.
"It was hard to have your first role as the high spot of your career," she told the London Daily Telegraph, according to the Washington Post. "I felt smothered by Liesl. She began to feel like my evil twin, the perfect one that everyone loved."
While taking a short break from touring the world promoting "The Sound of Music," Carr met and married her husband, Jay Brent. Carr continued acting for a while, but after becoming a mother to two children, she decided to leave Hollywood and focus on building an interior design company. The pair divorced in 1991, after which she wrote her autobiography "Forever Liesl."
On September 18, 2016, Carr's family announced the actress had passed away due to complications from a rare form of dementia the day before, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 73.
Nicholas Hammond played the second-eldest von Trapp child, Friedrich.
When "The Sound of Music" was released, Nicholas Hammond was 15 years old. His mother, Eileen Bennett, was also an actress, but the one who indirectly influenced him to go into acting was Julie Andrews herself.
"I saw her onstage in 'My Fair Lady' when I was nine and I made a decision that night that I wanted to do what that lady does," Hammond told Parade in 2013.
He went on to act in the TV series "The Amazing Spider-Man."
According to IMDb, Hammond was the first actor to play Spiderman in a live-action production of the comic. Born in 1950, he is also the only actor to play Peter Parker who was born before the character first appeared in a comic book, in 1962.
Hammond, now 2, was born in the US but moved to Australia in the mid-1980s. The actor now lives in Sydney where he works as an actor, screenwriter, and director. He's also remained close with his "The Sound of Music" costars, especially the other von Trapp children.
"We bonded because, for all of us, and particularly the seven kids, it was an extraordinary experience as a young person to go through — where one day you're an unknown child actor and literally the day after the film opens, we were the seven most famous children in the world," he told Parade in 2013.
Heather Menzies-Urich played Louisa, the third-oldest von Trapp sibling.
The film was released when Menzies-Urich was just 15 years old. Though Louisa didn't have much of a storyline, Menzies-Urich was able to display her ballet background during the performance of "So Long, Farewell."
Menzies-Urich continued to act for the next 25 years, most notably as Jessica 6 in the sci-fi TV series "Logan's Run."
The series, which was a spinoff of the movie of the same name, only ran for one season between 1977 and 1978. Menzies-Urich continued to act up until 1990, mostly appearing in TV series and TV movies.
She passed away at the age of 68 in 2017. Her son, Ryan Urich, shared the news of her passing with Variety.
"She was an actress, a ballerina, and loved living her life to the fullest," Urich said, according to USA Today.
Duane Chase acted in commercials before being cast as Kurt in "The Sound of Music."
Chase had a short-lived career as a child actor. Following his breakout role as Kurt von Trapp at 15 years old, Duane Chase acted in the family film "Follow Me, Boys!" and "The Big Valley."
He left the acting industry to pursue a degree in geology.
According to IMDb, Chase briefly fought fires with the forestry service. Later, in 2020, he volunteered to drive supply trucks down to Southern Oregon to fight the wildfires sweeping across the state and California.
Now 72, he is now living in Seattle, Washington, and working as a computer software analyst and designer for oil and mining companies.
British-born Angela Cartwright played the bright Brigitta von Trapp.
Prior to landing the role of Brigitta, Cartwright acted in the 1950s TV series "The Danny Thomas Show."
"Thousands were interviewed to play the parts of the von Trapp children and when I got word I had been cast I was so excited," she wrote on her website. "Danny Thomas released me from the last show of the 'Danny Thomas Show' season so I could begin working on this movie. For that, I am so grateful because he didn't have to do that."
She went on to act in several TV series.
Angela Cartwright, now 70, had a relatively successful acting career following "The Sound of Music." Her acting credits include roles in "Lost in Space," "My Three Sons," and "The Love Boat."
Debbie Turner played the second-youngest von Trapp child, Marta von Trapp.
Debbie Turner grew up in a showbiz family and moved to California in the 1950s. She was involved in TV, commercial, and print modeling work before landing the role of Marta in "The Sound of Music."
According to IMDb, the young actress tested for the role on February 7, 1964. The producers found her "so adorable" that they cast her immediately.
Turner is a freelance floral designer and sells face masks inspired by the curtain outfits in the movie.
Turner lives in Chanhassen, Minnesota, and has operated her floral design company for 30 years, according to her website.
During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Turner paid homage to her "The Sound of Music" roots with a new business venture: making face masks based on the iconic curtains used to make the children's play clothes in the movie.
"Even prior to the pandemic, I'd been looking for the curtain fabric from the movie. I've been searching for a couple of years because I had other ideas of what I wanted to do with it," she told the Star Tribune in November 2020. "I had found some online so I had 10 yards of this fabric that was ungodly expensive."
Orders for the masks immediately took off, and all five of the surviving von Trapp children have shown their support for Turner by posting photos wearing the masks.
Kym Karath played the youngest von Trapp sibling, Gretl.
Karath had a successful career as a child actor in the early 1960s before landing her role in "The Sound of Music" when she was 5.
At the time of the movie's filming, Karath couldn't swim, which posed a problem when it came to the boat-flipping scene.
"The little one can't swim, please fall to the front of the boat so you can get to her quickly," Andrews told ABC News the directors asked her. "Of course I went to the back of the boat."
Another von Trapp child ended up having to lift Karath to safety.
Karath later took a break from Hollywood and moved to Paris, where she studied art history and modeled. She later returned to acting.
After "The Sound of Music," Karath had roles in television shows like "Dr. Kildare," "Lassie," "Lost in Space," and "The Brady Bunch," according to IMDb.
After graduating from the University of Southern California, the actress, now 64, moved to Paris to study art history and model. She married her husband, Philippe L'Equilbec, and moved back to the US. However, she took a lengthy break from acting to raise their son.
In 2005, the cast of "The Sound of Music" reunited to share what they were up to now. At the time, Karath said she was resuming her acting career in Los Angeles.
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