The legendary Julie Andrews got the surprise of her life when the five surviving former child stars, who played the Von Trapp children in the 1965 classic The Sound of Music, reunited to sing “Do Re Mi” to her.
Julie Andrews as the novice nun Maria singing The Hills Are Alive in the 1965 film The Sound of Music (Credit: YouTube)
The Sound of Music is one of those timeless classic family films that hold a special place in the hearts of many Americans. The child stars who played the characters in the 1965 Academy Award-winning film reunited to honor friend and star Julie Andrews at the 48th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute.
Nicholas Hammond, who played Friedrich in the musical, as well as Duane Chase (Kurt), Angela Cartwright (Brigitta), Debbie Turner (Marta), and Kym Karath (Gretl), surprised Andrews as the song Do-Re-Mi started to play. Andrews starred as Maria von Trapp, who started out as the children’s governess in the film based on true events.
(L to R) Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich), Duane Chase (Kurt), Kym Karath (Gretl), Debbie Turner (Marta), and Angela Cartwright (Brigitta) sing “Do Re Mi” with Julie Andrews (seated circled) (Credit: Screenshot)
According to Fox News, the reunion was bittersweet. Charmian Carr and Heather Menzies-Urich, who portrayed Liesl and Louisa von Trapp in the movie, died in 2016 and 2017. Christopher Plummer, who starred as Capt. Georg von Trapp, passed away in 2021.
Andrews received an Academy Award nomination for her role as Maria, a young woman who is sent by her convent in 1930s Austria to become a governess to the seven children of a widowed naval officer. Carol Burnett presented Andrews with the AFI Life Achievement Award.
“This award is so very much deserved,” said the comedienne. “She has constantly given us her all. And her ‘all’ is awe-inspiring. Congratulations, chum.”
Upon accepting the honor, Julie Andrews remembered the many people who made an impact on her life.
“This night reminds me with great clarity how many people are involved with making movies,” she said. “What a huge collaborative effort it takes to bring film to the screen. My husband Blake never liked when people referred to filmmaking as the business or an industry. He insisted that film was an art form and should always be called that. And I know that is exactly the way the AFI feels also.”
Angela Cartwright, who played Brigitta, spoke to Fox News Digital about what it was like working with Andrews in The Sound of Music.
“I loved her,” the child actress said at the time. “We all did. You can kind of tell in the movie. We totally enjoyed her. She embraced us right from the very beginning. She sang to us in between takes and we would dance. She just did ‘Mary Poppins’ so she would sing all these songs from that film. I mean, you can really tell that we adored her. She’s such a talent. She has such an amazing voice and it really was a great experience.”
Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer (center) starred as Maria and Captain Georg von Trapp, performing with the Von Trapp kids in The Sound of Music (Credit: YouTube)
Cartwright also noted that the cast members still share a close bond today.
“It’s fascinating because sometimes you make a movie and you don’t really see each other anymore or stay in touch,” Cartwright explained. “But we’ve all stayed in touch. We’ve certainly gotten together for celebrations and reunions. Whenever we lose a cast member, it always feels like we lost a family member. We all know what’s going on in each other’s lives and we’ve continued to do that during the 50-plus years [since filming].”
The Broadway musical, and then the movie, were both based on a book published by Maria von Trapp in 1949 titled The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. As with anything “based on a true story,” The Sound of Music diverged from von Trapp’s life in a number of places. For instance, the family was already musical before Maria came along, wrote Joan Gearin for the National Archives.
However, their harrowing escape from the Nazis involved trains, not climbing mountains. After Hitler’s regime took over Austria, the family planned to leave, not wanting to be complicit in the Nazi’s goals. In 1938, they landed in America and started to perform internationally until 1955.
Maria von Trapp continued to work on music and faith-related projects throughout her life. She only made about $500,000 in royalties when the blockbuster film about her life came out, according to Smithsonian Magazine. However, she believed that the film would help restore people’s faith in God, one of her personal priorities, and do “great good” by spreading hope.