Real-Life Member of 'Sound of Music's' Von Trapp Family Dies at 97

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Agathe von Trapp was the oldest daughter of Austrian naval Capt. Georg Ritter von Trapp, whose clan was the basis of the 1959 play and 1965 film.

Agathe von Trapp, the oldest daughter of the family whose escape from Nazi-occupied Austria was the basis for The Sound of Music, has died. She was 97.

Von Trapp died Tuesday at a hospital near Baltimore after suffering congestive heart failure in November, her longtime friend Mary Louise Kane told the Associated Press on Wednesday. Kane and von Trapp lived together for five decades and ran a kindergarten at the Sacred Heart Catholic parish in nearby Glyndon until 1993.

Von Trapp was one of seven children born to Austrian naval Capt. Georg Ritter von Trapp and his first wife, Agathe Whitehead von Trapp. Their family was the basis for the singing clan in the 1959 play and 1965 film, which won the Oscar for best picture.

The widowed captain had three more children with his second wife, Maria Augusta Kutschera. They performed together as the Trapp Family Singers.

Agathe, a guitarist, was represented in the film by 16-going-on-17 Liesl, played by Charmian Carr. But Agathe was far more reserved than the outgoing Liesl, Kane said.

Although Agathe admired the movie, she felt it misrepresented her father as too strict and not as the loving, caring parent he was, Kane said.

"She cried when she first saw it because of the way they portrayed him," Kane said. "She said that if it had been about another family she would have loved it."

Von Trapp wrote her memoir, Memories Before and After the Sound of Music, published in September by Harper Paperbacks, to set the record straight, Kane said.

Agathe's death leaves four surviving members of the Trapp Family Singers: Maria von Trapp, 96; Rosmarie von Trapp, 81; Elenore "Lorli" von Trapp Campbell, 79; and Johannes, 71.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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