An actor and interior designer best known for playing Liesl in The Sound of Music, Charmian Carr passed away on Saturday, Sept. 18, at age 73. The news was posted to her official website on Sunday, with the site's manager writing: "Me and my family are so sad to have to post this message and will miss her dearly...She was such a nice, cheerful person. We always LOVED, The Sound of Music, and still do." The cause of death was said to be complications from dementia, and Carr's representative revealed that the actor had suffered from a rare form of the disease.
Originally named Charmian Farnon, Carr was born in Chicago in 1942. Her mother was a vaudeville actor, while her father was an orchestra leader. She landed the most iconic role of her career just barely out of high school; at age 21, Carr played Liesl, the oldest von Trapp sibling, in the musical The Sound of Music alongside famous costars Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Her 16-year-old character sang well known classics like "Sixteen Going On Seventeen" and "My Favorite Things." Carr had never acted nor sung professionally before she landed the role, and she described the life-changing experience to The Times Recorder in 1964, saying:
One of the girls who modeled with me knew that Robert Wise, producer-director of The Sound of Music had been conducting a four-month search for someone to play the part of 16-year-old Liesl. My friend, without my knowing it, sent in my picture and explained in a note that I sang and danced. I received a call from Mr. Wise to come for a tryout. It took me completely by surprise.
Shortly after Sound of Music, Carr married dentist Jay Allen Brent and left show business to raise their children. She later started her own interior design company, working with famous clients including Michael Jackson, who was said to be a Sound of Music fan, according to Carr's website. She's survived by two children and four grandchildren.
Liesl was one of Carr's two acting roles (she also starred in the TV musical Evening Primrose), and she deeply associated with that character, publishing books called Forever Liesl and Letters To Liesl, as well as making many talk show appearances to reflect on the film over the years. She even hosted Sound of Music sing-a-longs at the Hollywood Bowl, and she considered her "siblings" from the movie to be her second family, according to her site. Millions of Sound of Music fans will miss her, but thankfully, her legacy lives on in the iconic film.