Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Sound of Music Cast Reunites after 45 Years

Photo by csztova

Here’s the thing about Oprah Winfrey. She knows how to suck people in. Clearly she’s been building her army of followers for decades—wooing them with free cars and trips to Australia, tugging at their heartstrings with human tragedy, and luring them into her book club.

We admit, we’ve been holdouts—never willing to put her on our daily DVR list. But Oprah rises above the other hosts for one reason—tenacity. Slowly but surely she captures the stragglers who have managed to elude her net.

So, how is Op finally converting the Passionistas to her fold? How else? Musicals. Today, Lady O is reuniting the cast of The Sound of Music, bringing them together for the first time in 45 years.

It may not be surprising that the Von Trapp children will all be present and accounted for (answering to each personalized whistle sound we hope). After all, Oprah doesn’t call computer programmers and floral designers every day. The real treat is that, not only will the legendary Julie Andrews appear, but Christopher Plummer will be on hand as well.

Plummer was notoriously absent from the 40th anniversary party, despite the fact that he contributed commentary to the DVD. And it’s long been reported that he refers to the film as The Sound of Mucus. Hopefully, Oprah will get the real scoop on his feelings about the classic.

But maybe Plummer was just too busy in 2006 to swing by the soiree. After all, he’s an acting machine. In fact, at 81 he’s still going strong. He garnered a Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar nomination last year for The Last Station and he’s been cast in the highly anticipated The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo due out next year.

Despite the sad truth that Julie Andrews blew out her flawless voice many years ago, she too, is still in high demand. This year alone she appeared in Tooth Fairy and voiced characters in Shrek Forever After and Despicable Me.

But what of the Von Trapp children? Here’s a rundown:

Charmian Carr—Liesl
According to IMDb, Carr made only one film in her entire career. Luckily for her it was The Sound of Music. After a couple of TV appearances in 1965 and 1966, she married and left showbiz to be a full-time mother. When here kids were grown she became an interior designer with clients like Michael Jackson and her onscreen sister Heather Menzies, who played Louisa. In 2000, she released a memoir called, Forever Liesl: A Memoir of The Sound of Music.

Nicholas Hammond—Friedrich
There are urban legends about lots of child actors—who really did play Richie Petrie, anyway? But some Sound of Music fans might be surprised to learn that Nicholas Hammond really did play Peter Parker in the live action ‘70s TV series The Amazing Spider-Man. Actually, he’s had a steady career in television and film his whole life.

Heather Menzies-Urich—Louisa
After playing the squeaky clean Von Trapp daughter Louisa in Sound of Music, Menzies decided to tweak her image a bit. In 1973, she did a nude pictorial for Playboy and her most famous non-Music roles are in the cult classics Piranha and Logan’s Run. But her greatest off-camera achievement is her 27-year marriage to Spenser: For Hire and Vega$ star Robert Ulrich until his death in 2002.

Duane Chase—Kurt
Like Carr, Chase left show business not long after the Sound of Music. A former fire fighter for the forestry service, he’s now a software engineer who lives in Redmond, Washington.

Angela Cartwright—Brigitta
Angela Cartwright was the only Von Trapp child that had a big career before signing on to do the film. She had already been acting on TV and in movies for nine years and starred on The Danny Thomas Show. Her career continued to skyrocket after the film when she joined the cast of the TV show Lost in Space. She’s continued to act and had her own boutique in Toluca Lake, California. In 2009, she reunited with her former Lost in Space cast mates Bill Mumy, Marta Kristen, and Jonathan Harris for the animated short The Bolt Who Screwed Christmas. It would be Harris’ final performance. Her latest project is another holiday movie called Elf Sparkle and the Special Red Dress, due out in 2011.

Debbie Turner—Marta
Turner retired from acting not long after the film and became a bit of a ski bunny. She met her husband on the slopes and went on to become the West Coast racing champion. The mother of four daughters lives in Minnesota and has her own floral design company called The Vinery, which provides arrangements to upscale weddings and events. She also creates collectible Santa Clause dolls.

Kym Karath—Gretl
The youngest Von Trapp child went on to have a career in television before getting a degree in Humanities from USC and moving to Paris to model and study art history. She, too, took time off to raise a son but is back in Hollywood pursing her career in acting again.

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