Christopher Plummer website

The Sound of Music cast on The Oprah Winfrey Show

Stars Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, along with fellow cast members Charmian Carr (Liesl), Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich), Heather Menzies-Urich (Louisa), Duane Chase (Kurt), Angela Cartwright (Brigitta), Debbie Turner (Marta) and Kym Karath (Gretl) appeared on the hour-long broadcast of the chat show.

"Together for the first time in nearly half a century," press notes state, "the cast shares secrets from the set, reminiscences about their time together and what their lives have been like in the years since the movie was released.  Finally, the von Trapp Children — a singing group featuring members of the real von Trapp family — pay their own special tribute to the film that made their family name known throughout the world."

Robert Wise directed Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer in the film, which is based on the Rodgers & Hammerstein Broadway musical and which won the Oscar for Best Picture.

It was The Sound of Music love-in on The Oprah Winfrey Show Thursday as Winfrey brought together the entire cast who played the family in the beloved musical.

Canadian actor Christopher Plummer, who played Capt. Von Trapp and Julie Andrews, who played Maria, were reunited for the first time in 45 years with all seven of the children who played their family.

Winfrey recapped incidents from the filming and people such as Rosie O'Donnell talked about what the film had meant in their lives. 

Plummer took an irreverent approach to the reunion, recalling that he was reluctant to take the role of the authoritarian Capt. Von Trapp.


"I wanted to do a musical and that was what attracted me. The role left something to be desired," he said, recounting how disappointed he was at doing the film version instead of the original stage show.

Plummer, who blew his whistle in Capt. Von Trapp style to call the children — now all adults — to Oprah's show, thought there wasn't much scope for acting in such a stiff role.

"It wasn't human enough. There wasn't enough humour in it," he said, adding that he joked about calling it The Sound of Mucus. 

"It could have gone overboard and become sentimental. And there were all these nuns around and it made you want to be irreverent," he said waggishly. 

Andrews agreed that there was always the danger of the film becoming too sentimental.

She said she was 28 and just making her way on Broadway when she was cast in the role of Maria. 

"I was in awe of this gentleman, a great dramatic actor and I was just a musical songstress," she said of Plummer.

Andrews recalled shooting the opening scene in which she sings in an Austrian meadow.

"I remember it vividly. I walked across the fields at one end and the helicopter came from the other end," she said. "What I didn't realize was that every time the helicopter came round it would knock me down," she added, noting that it took multiple takes before director Robert Wise was happy with it.


Wise chose the seven children from among more than 700 actors, including a young Mia Farrow, who turned out for auditions.

The children — Charmian Carr as Liesl, Heather Menzies as Louisa, Nicholas Hammond as Friedrich, Angela Cartwright as Brigitta, Debbie Turner as Marta, Duane Chase as Kurt and Kym Karath as Gretl — all became stars.

They recalled their hijinks in the straight-laced Austrian hotel where they were staying, including switching shoes left outside the doors to be cleaned and changing everyone's breakfast order.

They spent nine months together during the shoot and became very close, they said.

"We are family. I feel it all the time. We get in touch at Christmas and holidays," Andrews said.

Plummer demurred, saying he had refused to agree to a reunion before this. But he told the story of being forced to watch the film 10 years later with a group of children and finding it was actually good.

"After about 10 minutes I was totally lost and I realized it was just about the best musical from a stage play that was ever filmed," he said.


Hammond told Winfrey they have plans for a book to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the musical, which is soon to be issued on Blu-ray. 

"We realized that we have this treasure trove of memorabilia home movies and stories," he said. "People for 45 years have asked us about the film and what it was like and we thought now is our chance to tell them."


Crazy fan rush for Sound of Music 45-year reunion on Oprah's show    

"It made my career really, it was that big a movie," she said.     

Published: Saturday, Oct 2, 2010, 22:25 IST 

Place: London | Agency: ANI


Fans are in a mad rush to get tickets for the ‘The Sound of Music’ reunion, which will see the entire cast of the film reunited for the first time in 45 years.

Dame Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and the seven actors who played the Von Trapp children in the Oscar-winning movie, have agreed to appear together on the ‘Oprah Winfrey Show’ on Oct 29.

It could be the only time all nine of them ever appear together in public and fans have inundated the show with desperate pleas to be in the audience.

"Someone please help. I may actually fly there and camp at the door and beg to be let in! I'll clean toilets, shampoo carpets, do anything," The Telegraph quoted one fan as saying.

Canadian, Shakespearean stage actor Plummer, now 80, declined to attend a reunion on the 40th anniversary in 2005 but, earlier this year, he embraced the film as "a really good movie of its kind" and Dame Julie's best.

"It is not a film which I detest. The press have always got that wrong. I didn't hate the movie at all. I just didn't think my role was terribly exciting,” he said.

In the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, he played the anti-Nazi widower Captain Georg von Trapp, who hires a mischievous trainee nun called Maria, played by Dame Julie, as a governess in pre-war Austria.


Charmian Carr, who played eldest daughter, Liesl, is now a grandmother of two, recalled how it rained non-stop during filming in Salzburg, and Dame Julie kept being blown over by a helicopter carrying the camera as she danced in the hills for the opening scene.

Carr also described how five-year-old Kym Karath, who played Gretl, the smallest Von Trapp, ate so much chocolate while filming that it was nearly impossible to carry her upstairs at the end of the "So long, farewell" number.

Karath later grew up into what Dame Julie described as a "gorgeous looking Monroe-esque young lady", while Heather Menzies, who played Louisa, also appeared in a series of television roles, and in Playboy magazine.

Angela Cartwright, the English-born actress who played Brigitta von Trapp, went on to star in the television series ‘Lost in Space’ and Nicholas Hammond, who played Friedrich, played Spiderman on US television before moving to Australia.


Two of the child actors abandoned show business shortly after ‘The Sound of Music’ came out in 1965.

Debbie Turner, who was Marta, went back to school and then opened a successful floral design company.

Duane Chase, who starred as Kurt, pursued a degree in geology and now lives in Seattle with his wife, a former Austrian nanny. 

'Sound of Music' cast reunites on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' for film's 45th anniversary


To mark the 45th anniversary of the film version of "The Sound of Music," Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and the rest of the cast of the 1965 musical are reuniting on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

The thespians and now-grown child stars who played the Von Trapp children will discuss their Oscar-winning classic set in pre-war Austria and how their lives have changed in the past forty years.

Plummer, who played paterfamilias Captain Von Trapp, has agreed to talk about his role in the film for the first time in years. In the past the 80-year-old actor has refused to revisit what he reportedly nicknamed "The Sound of Mucus" and "S&M," because he is sick of his character.

"It is not a film which I detest," he recently told the UK Telegraph. "The press has always got that wrong. I didn't hate the movie at all. I just didn't think my role was terribly exciting."

Neither he nor Andrews will sing on Oprah's show. However, the Von Trapp Children, a singing group featuring members of the real Von Trapp family - upon whom the musical was based - will be performing.

The musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein revolves around a naughty nun named Maria (Andrews) who is hired as a governess for Captain Von Trapp's seven children. 



Darryl and Richard D. Zanuck originally asked Robert Wise to do the film, but he turned it down because it was "too saccharine". They then approached Stanley Donen, Vincent Donehue, Gene Kelly, and George Roy Hill, but they all turned it down. Zanuck next asked William Wyler to direct the film. Because he was suffering from a loss of hearing that affected his ability to appreciate music fully, Wyler felt he was the wrong man for the job, but he agreed to fly to New York and see the Broadway production. Feeling many of the songs did not evolve organically from the plot, he remained undecided and wrote to the producer of Die Trapp-Familie, a 1956 non-musical film about the von Trapps starring famous German screen star Ruth Leuwerik, to ask his advice. "This cannot fail," he responded, and Wyler accepted the assignment.


Wyler had seen the original Broadway production of My Fair Lady and had been impressed by Julie Andrews, who was in the process of filming Mary Poppins. He met with her on the set and asked Walt Disney if he could see some of the dailies. Convinced she was perfect for the role of Maria, he signed her to a contract.


Wyler returned to New York and met with Maria von Trapp, then he and screenwriter Ernest Lehman and their wives flew to Austria to begin scouting locations in the Tyrolean Alps. There they visited the convent where von Trapp had been a novice, and Wyler discussed the possibility of filming scenes there with the Mother Superior. He then met with the mayor of Salzburg. Wyler was concerned that the presence of a film crew shooting German troops parading before buildings draped with the Nazi flag would be a harsh reminder of the Anschluss for those who had experienced it. The mayor assured him the residents had managed to live through it the first time and would survive it again.


Wyler returned to Hollywood and began pre-production work on the film, but his wife realized his heart clearly was not in it. Then he was approached by Jud Kinberg and John Kohn, neophyte film producers who had purchased the rights to the John Fowles novel The Collector prior to its publication. They had a commitment from Terence Stamp to star in the film and a first draft screenplay by Stanley Mann. Wyler was impressed with the script and, feeling an affinity with the project he did not with The Sound of Music, he asked the Zanucks to release him from his contract. They agreed, and Robert Wise, who became available due to delays in production of The Sand Pebbles, was hired to replace Wyler.

Historical accuracy


Both the musical and the film present a history of the von Trapp family, albeit one that is not completely accurate. The following are examples of the dramatic license taken by the filmmakers:


1.Georg Ludwig von Trapp was indeed anti-Nazi and opposed to the Anschluss, and did in fact live with his family in a villa in a district of Salzburg called Aigen; however, the residence depicted in the film greatly exaggerated their standard of living. Georg had lost most of the family fortune, inherited through his first wife Agathe Whitehead, in a failed Austrian bank leaving the von Trapps virtually bankrupt.


2.Georg is referred to as Baron von Trapp however his actual title was "Ritter" (German for "knight"). Ritter is a hereditary knighthood closer to the British "baronet" than "baron". Furthermore the Austrian nobility was legally abolished in 1919 so the use of the title was only by courtesy.


3.Maria had been hired only to be a tutor to young Maria Franziska ("Louisa" in the movie), who had come down with scarlet fever and needed her lessons at home.


4.Maria and Georg were married in 1927 not in 1938 as depicted in the film. The couple had been married for 10 years before the Anschluss and had two of their three children together before that time.


5.Georg had been offered a position in the Kriegsmarine but this occurred before the Anschluss. He was being heavily recruited by the Nazis because he had extensive experience with submarines and Germany was looking to expand its fleet of U-boats. Unlike in the film, Georg seriously pondered the offer before turning it down. His family was in desperate financial straits and he had no other marketable skills other than his training as a naval officer. He eventually decided that he could not serve a Nazi regime. Rather than threaten arrest the Nazis continued to try to woo him.


6.Georg was never in serious danger of being arrested by the Nazis. He had turned down the Kriegsmarine commission before the Nazis had taken over Austria so they could not have arrested him even if they had wanted. In fact he and the family visited Austria and stayed for several months in 1939 before leaving again for good without incident. This was nearly a year after their emigration and after the Anschluss when the Nazis could have easily detained him.


7.The Anschluss occurred in March, and the Salzburg Music Festival is held in June; therefore, the family could not have escaped after their festival performance before the borders closed.


8.The bell cord on the real Nonnberg Abbey is strictly a prop and rings nothing. The nuns liked it anyway, and asked that it be left by the film crew.


9.The film shows the von Trapp family hiking over the Alps from Austria to Switzerland, but from Salzburg this would be impossible. Salzburg is only a few kilometers away from the Austrian–German border and is much too far from either the Swiss or Italian borders for a family to reach by walking. In fact, a hike over the mountain from Salzburg would put them in the German town of Berchtesgaden and virtually within sight of Hitler's vacation cottage at Obersalzberg.


10.Georg von Trapp was born in the Austrian city of Zara (now Zadar, Croatia), which was part of Italy after World War I. Therefore, he was an Italian citizen and so were all his family, including Maria. Therefore, they simply walked to the local train station and boarded a train to Italy. From there, they traveled to London and, ultimately, the United States.


11.Friedrich (the second oldest child in the film version) was based on Rupert (the oldest of the real von Trapp children). Liesl (the oldest child in the film) was based on Agathe von Trapp, the second oldest in the real family. The names and ages of the children were changed, in part because the third child (who would be portrayed as "Louisa") was also named Maria.


12.The film takes some liberties with the facts but much of it was filmed in the city and county of Salzburg and Upper Austria, including sites such as Nonnberg Abbey, and St. Peter Cemetery. Leopoldskron Palace, Frohnburg Palace, and Hellbrunn Palace were some of the locations used for the Trapp estate in the film.


The opening scene and aerial shots were filmed in Anif (Anif Palace), Mondsee, and Salzkammergut (Fuschl am See, St. Gilgen and Saint Wolfgang).


Hohenwerfen Castle served as the main backdrop for the song "Do-Re-Mi". At the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg, Maria and the children sing "Do-Re-Mi", dancing around the horse fountain and using the steps as a musical scale.

Academy Awards


Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews at the Academy Awards

The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning in four categories.

 Best Picture (Won)

 Best Director – Robert Wise (Won)

 Best Actress in a Leading Role – Julie Andrews (Nomination)

 Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Peggy Wood (Nomination)

 Best Art Direction (Nomination)

 Best Costume Design (Nomination)

 Best Sound (James Corcoran, Fred Hynes) (Won)

 Best Scoring of Music – Adaptation or Treatment (Won)

 Best Cinematography (Nomination)

 Best Film Editing (Won)

 Golden Globe Awards

 Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Won)

 Best Director of a Motion Picture (Nomination)

 Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy – Julie Andrews (Won)

 Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture – Peggy Wood (Nomination)