As Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer prepare to star in a live broadcast of The Sound of Music tonight (NBC at 8 p.m. ET), we’re saluting the lasting legacy of the von Trapp family.
So where is the famous clan today?
After fleeing Austria in 1938, the family bought a farm amid the mountains of Stowe, Vermont in 1942. By 1950 they had opened the Trapp Family Lodge, a 27-room structure. It was gutted by fire in 1980 but replaced with a 96-room resort. Today it’s overseen by Maria and Georg’s tenth and youngest child, Johannes, now 74, and his son Sam, 41.
The big-screen version of The Sound of Music, starring Julie Andrews, was based on the real-life Maria’s 1949 book, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, but there were a few alterations and omissions. Read ahead for a few surprising facts about the real family, according to the U.S. National Archives.
1. Maria came to the von Trapp family in 1926 as a tutor for one of the children who was recovering from scarlet fever, not as governess to all the kids.
2. Maria and Georg married in 1927, 11 years before the family left Austria, not right before the Nazi takeover of Austria.
3. Maria and Georg von Trapp’s love story wasn’t quite as romantic as portrayed on the big screen. In her autobiography, she admitted that it was the children she fell in love with at first sight. “I really and truly was not in love. I liked him but didn’t love him. However, I loved the children, so in a way I really married the children. . . . [B]y and by I learned to love him more than I have ever loved before or after.”
4. There were 10, not 7 von Trapp children.
5. The names, ages, and sexes of the children were changed.
6. The family was already musically inclined before Maria arrived, but she did teach them to sing madrigals.
7. Georg wasn’t as harsh and cold-blooded as he’s portrayed in the film. He was described as being a gentle, warmhearted parent who enjoyed musical activities with his family.
8. The family did not secretly escape over the Alps in Switzerland, carrying their suitcases and musical instruments. “We did tell people that we were going to America to sing. And we did not climb over mountains with all our heavy suitcases and instruments. We left by train, pretending nothing,” daughter Maria said in a 2003 interview with Opera News.
9. The family left Austria for Italy (not Switzerland) in June 1938. That fall, they arrived in New York under six month visitors’ visas and began a concert tour in Pennsylvania. In 1944, several of the von Trapps applied for U.S. citizenship at the U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vermont.
10. Maria died in 1987 and is buried in the family cemetery at the Trapp Family Lodge. Her husband Georg, who died lung cancer in 1947, is also buried in the family cemetery.