Agathe von Trapp, who died on Dec. 28 aged 97, was the eldest daughter in the von Trapp family, which achieved immortality in the Broadway production and film of The Sound of Music.
Agathe Johanna Erwina Gobertina von Trapp was born on March 12, 1913, in the town of Pola, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Her father, the Austrian naval officer Capt. Georg von Trapp, would have seven children by his first wife, also named Agathe, who died of scarlet fever in 1922. Capt. von Trapp subsequently married Maria Augusta Kutschera, a former tutor to his offspring, with whom he had three more children.
At the age of 11 Agathe was sent to school -- an experience she found 'terrifying. They made us stand up in front of a big class and talk. I never could get used to it,' she later said.
After the captain was said to have lost much of his fortune in the failure of an Austrian bank, the family, including Agathe's stepmother Maria, had begun singing folk songs and performing in public. They initially gave concerts in Vienna and Salzburg and then toured France, Germany, Belgium and Scandinavia.
In the 1930s they left Europe -- and the threat of Nazism -- for the United States, where they settled and continued to perform as theTrapp Family Singers.
They made their home at the Trapp Family Lodge, a 600-acre farm at Stowe, Vermont. Georg von Trapp died in 1947, and the singers eventually closed their careers in 1956, when Agathe was 43. She had never lived an independent life, later claiming that until then she had never made a telephone call or written out a cheque.
Her first venture was to establish a kindergarten near the family home, but in 1958 she moved to Baltimore with a friend, Mary Louise Kane, with whom she remained for the rest of her life. There they opened their own Roman Catholic kindergarten, where Agathe von Trapp taught music, German and art lessons. The two women continued to run the school until 1993.
The Sound of Music was a hit on Broadway in 1959, winning eight Tony awards. The film, released in 1965 and starring Julie Andrews as Maria and Christopher Plummer as the captain, won five Oscars, including one for best picture. Agathe von Trapp appeared in the film as Liesl, played by Charmian Carr.
Agathe's response to the film was at best ambivalent. She admired it, but was distressed by the portrayal of her father as a cool and distant figure. 'She cried when she first saw it because of the way they portrayed him,' Mary Louise Kane said. 'She said that if it had been about another family she would have loved it.'
In an attempt to rectify this and other inaccuracies in The Sound of Music, Agathe von Trapp began work on a memoir, Memories Before and After The Sound of Music, first published in 2004 and dedicated to her father.
She had started on the project in the 1980s, travelling to Europe to research her family history and to collate maps, illustrations and photographs. She finally completed a genealogy in 2000.
The book was written with the encouragement of her doctor, Janet Horn, who with her husband helped with the editing and provided the finance for 3,000 copies. The publication brought Agathe von Trapp unaccustomed attention. 'It's very strange for me,' she said. 'I've been living a very quiet life. All of a sudden, these people want to see me.'
Agathe von Trapp was a talented watercolourist, and according to her friend Mary Louise Kane continued to sing around the house until three years ago.
Four members of the Trapp Family Singers survive her: her brother Johannes and her sisters Maria, Elenore and Rosmarie.
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