BALTIMORE — Agathe von Trapp, the eldest daughter of the von Trapp family made famous in “The Sound of Music,” died of congestive heart failure Tuesday at Gilchrist Hospice Care. She was 97 and lived in Brooklandville, Md.

Accounts in The Baltimore Sun said that for the past five decades, after she and her siblings stopped performing as the Trapp Family Singers, von Trapp lived a quiet life as “a virtual recluse” in Glyndon, Md. She was a kindergarten teacher’s helper at a private Catholic school affiliated with the Sacred Heart Parish for many years, said a friend, Mary Louise Kane, with whom she lived.

“She was 43 before she stopped relying on someone older and wiser and went to the grocery store and the bank herself,” a 2003 Sun article said.

The article noted that in the movie that dominated the 1965 Academy Awards and broke box-office records, she came out of her shell at “16 going on 17,” but the reality of her life was different.

“It’s very strange for me; I’ve been living a very quiet life. All of a sudden, these people want to see me,” she said at the time she published her autobiography.

She wanted people to know that her father, Capt. Georg von Trapp, a widowed Austrian aristocrat who was played by Christopher Plummer in the film and Theodore Bikel on Broadway, was not cold, unfeeling and distant. She insisted he was a kind and loving father.

“Agathe von Trapp cried when she saw the show at its Broadway opening in 1959. She would have been just as enchanted as the rest of the audience had the characters’ last name been Miller. But this was her family’s name, and it was not her family’s story,” the 2003 Sun story said.

Among other changes, the children’s first names and sexes were not the same. In real life, Agathe von Trapp had an older brother, but in the musical the eldest child was a girl, Liesl.

Von Trapp also said the family did not cross the Alps to escape Austria. They crossed the street and boarded a train.

Von Trapp was born in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She sang with her siblings until she was 43. While in the musical group, she did not stray far from her stepmother, by then widowed and running the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt.

Survivors include a brother, Johannes von Trapp; and three sisters, Maria, Eleanor and Rosemarie, all of Vermont.

Tito Jackson on his solo album: It’s about time

LOS ANGELES – Tito Jackson is going solo.

The 57-year-old musician and original member of the Jackson 5 says he will unveil some of his new material during a New Year’s Eve performance in Atlanta. He also plans to perform some Jackson 5 classics at the city’s 22nd Annual Peach Drop celebration.

Jackson’s debut solo album, “So Far, So Good,” will be released in early 2011. He says he had planned to release the album earlier, but after his brother Michael’s death in 2009 “it took a minute to get my head back in the right direction.”

The guitarist says that as a Jackson, his solo album is long overdue: “The only people who haven’t done it are my mom and dad and the family dog,” he said.

He described his sound as “pop-ish and R&B-ish … a little bit of everything.”

Jackson is excited about his album, but has “mixed emotions” about his brother’s posthumous release earlier this month, “Michael,” which sold more than 3 million copies in its first week out.

“The songs I feel Michael participated in, I love them very much,” he says. “I’ll leave it at that.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.