New York Times
December 29, 2010

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (The Associated Press) — Agathe von Trapp, a member of the singing family whose escape from Nazi-occupied Austria was the basis for “The Sound of Music,” died in Towson, Md., on Tuesday. She was 97.

She died in a hospice after suffering congestive heart failure in November, said her longtime friend Mary Louise Kane, with whom she ran a kindergarten at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic parish in Glyndon, Md., until 1993.

Ms. von Trapp was the oldest daughter of Capt. Georg Ritter von Trapp, an Austrian naval officer. She and her brothers and sisters performed as the Trapp Family Singers; their story (and that of the captain’s second wife, a former nun) was the basis for the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The Sound of Music,” which ran on Broadway from 1959 to 1963, and the 1965 film version, starring Julie Andrews, which won the Academy Award for best picture.

There was no character named Agathe von Trapp in “The Sound of Music,” but the character Liesl, played by Lauri Peters on Broadway and Charmian Carr in the movie, was loosely based on her.

In 2003 Ms. von Trapp published a book, “Memories Before and After ‘The Sound of Music,’ ” which told her version of her family’s story. In an interview with The AARP Bulletin in 2010, she said she wrote the book because she saw the movie and thought it was “a very nice story, but it is not our story.”

“If they hadn’t used our name,” she added, “I would probably have enjoyed it.”

Agathe von Trapp’s death leaves four surviving members of the Trapp Family Singers.

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