The History of the Real-Life Von Trapp Family

Celebrity Q&A, Featured Article, Movies
on April 24, 2013

Regarding the family from the movie ‘The Sound of Music,’ what became of Capt. Georg von Trapp and his children after they left Austria?
Edward Dawyot, Mount Vision, N.Y.

The family came to the United States in 1938 and settled in Pennsylvania, where they made a living singing baroque and folk music. In 1942 they purchased a farm in Stowe, Vt., which they continue to operate as the Trapp Family Lodge, a historic Alpine lodge and 2,500-acre mountain resort that attracts 150,000 visitors a year.

Johannes von Trapp, the tenth and youngest child, recollects growing up practically anonymously in a quiet, strict home, but the release of the 1965 feature film, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, changed their lives dramatically.

“You could no longer give your name anywhere without people saying, ‘Oh, are you…?’” von Trapp said in a 2008 interview. “The film, for better or for worse, made us a mass commodity.

“’The Sound of Music’ was great, but it was an American version of my family’s life. It wasn’t what we were. I just got tired of being cast as a ‘Sound of Music’ person,” said Johannes, 74, who manages the lodge with his son Sam.

The von Trapps never directly profited from the Broadway musical or the film. Georg von Trapp died at 67 in 1947 and was the father of 10 children, seven by his first wife, Agathe, and three by his second wife, Maria, who died in 1987 at 82 years of age. Georg Von Trapp’s four surviving children are Johannes, Eleonore, Rosmarie and Maria, 98, who is also the last surviving sibling portrayed in the film.