Rosemary Trapp, who has died at the age of 93, was the last surviving female member of the Trapp Family Singers, whose story of her musical success and flight from Austria in the late 1930s became a 1959 Broadway musical and multiple-Oscar winning 1965. This was the inspiration for the film. , Sound of Music.
The von Trapps were an aristocratic Austrian family, led by naval war hero Baron Georg von Trapp and his wife Agathe. When she died in 1922, the family moved to a villa in the suburbs of Salzburg, and Maria Augusta Kutschera, a novice nun (played in the film by Julie Andrews), was appointed tutor to the seven von Trapp children. .
She became the Baron’s second wife in 1927, and Rosemary, born on February 8, 1929, was the eldest of their three children.
The family’s financial situation deteriorated during the Depression, and von Trapps turned the family hobby of choral singing into a money-spinner by selling tickets to staged concerts.
After the Anschluss of 1938, Baron von Trapp was offered a commission in the German Navy, which, being an ardent anti-Nazi, he declined. Instead, he and his family fled the country, not as in Hollywood, overnight from the Alps to Switzerland, but by daytime train to Italy, then by sea to America. They arrived with just $34 and settled in Pennsylvania.
There they continued to perform as trap family singers (an early poster promised “folk songs, yodels and mountain calls”). Three years later he moved to Stowe in northern Vermont, and in 1950, after the death of Baron von Trapp, founded the Trapp Family Lodge.
In 1951, as Rosemary Trapp (the other siblings nicknamed “Vaughn”), she became a US citizen. Like her siblings, she was also surprised by the license taken by the makers of Sound of Music, “When I first saw the movie, I said, ‘Wow, was this my life?'” Rosemary told an interviewer in 1995. “It was very different from what I remember living.”
Contrary to the upbeat story presented in the film, Rosemary had emotional problems, ran away from home at the age of 18 and stopped performing. After the film’s release, he found the promotions a strain. “I used to think I was a museum, but I can’t escape it,” she said in 1997. “When you’re in Sound of MusicYou are a museum.”
He “found” himself at the age of 40 by turning to the Bible, becoming an ordained evangelist with the crucified community. She later worked with her half-sister Maria as a missionary in Papua New Guinea for five years and volunteered on a kibbutz.
an obituary in Vermont Bijou described her as an “emotionally sensitive” person and drew attention to her “sense of curiosity and wonder”. Unmarried, she enjoyed the company of her cats and indulged in an “occasional beer”.
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In 1997 she said, “Happy ending, we are left.” After running away from Hitler, our family survived. We’re still alive.”
Rosemary is survived by brother Johannes von Trapp, the youngest of the Baron’s 10 children.