Charmian Carr, familiar to generations of fans of 1965’s The Sound of Music as the lovely Von Trapp girl who sang “I Am Sixteen Going On Seventeen,” died in California Saturday at 73. Carr, who played the lovestruck Liesl in the Academy Award-winning Julie Andrews film musical, suffered from a rare form of dementia, according to her family.
Carr was actually 21 when she sang the song for which she’d become known, and would go on to appear opposite Anthony Perkins in the Stephen Sondheim television musical Evening Primrose. But she soon left acting to raise daughters Jennifer and Emily, then later started a design business Charmian Carr Design, counting among her clients (and friends) Michael Jackson, a devoted Sound of Music fan.
Carr (pictured at left in 2004) cowrote two books: 2000’s Forever Liesl and 2001’s Letters to Liesl. She also participated in the Sound of Music Family Scrapbook of personal photographs, home movies, and memorabilia from all of the film’s child actors. She cohosted or attended various Sound of Music Sing a Longs, including such events at New York’s Ziegfeld Theatre and L.A.’s Hollywood Bowl.
20th Century Fox, which produced and distributed the beloved musical, expressed its condolences today with the following statement: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Charmian Carr. To the generations of The Sound of Music fans around the world, she was Liesl. To us she was ‘Charmy,’ a beloved member of the Fox family for more than 50 years. A true talent as well as a kind, gentle person she’ll be greatly missed but forever remain in our hearts.”
Carr is survived by her two daughters; two sisters and two brothers; four grandchildren and a niece.