When The Danny Thomas Showcame to an end after 7 successful seasons, I went on an interview for the role of Brigitta Von Trapp in a little movie that 20th Century Fox was making titled The Sound of Music.
Thousands were interviewed to play the parts of the von Trapp children and when I got word I had been cast I was so excited.
Danny Thomas released me from the last show of the Danny Thomas Show season so I could begin working on this movie. For that I am so grateful because he didn't have to do that..
Our Sound of Music personal scrapbook from our adventures while making the film. The book is filled with our own stories, our own memorabilia and a DVD of our own home movies we made during the filming the movie. Never before seen pictures from our personal collections and our stories as we remember and told them to author Fred Bronson.If you are a fan of the movie and love to look behind the scenes, you will love this book.
The Sound of Music took about a year to film. We recorded the songs, learned the dance routines, practiced, practiced, practiced...traveled to Salzburg, Austria for about 3 months and completed the shooting back at 20th Century Fox Studios. It was indeed a dream of a movie to be a part of.
I sang and danced on the audition and screentested in a scene as Brigitta and in a blonde wig as Louisa (above). I'm glad they went with my real hair color and I got the part of Brigitta asI loved her character.
The name of the book I'm reading?... John Dale.
We were in Salzburg when Julie Andrews read in the 'Variety' that she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in Mary Poppins. We were thrilled for her. Julie was fun to be around and we embraced her playful side. I think it shows in the movie how much we adored her. She played games with us while we waited to shoot our scenes. She taught me how to say 'Supercalafragilisticexpialidocious' frontwords and backwards!
I can still say it to this day.
This is one of my favorite pictures. It's a shot of us rehearsing the bicycle scene during Do, Re, Mi. I'm holding my elbow because I just fell off my bike when someone hit my tire with their bike and our bicycles collided. If you look closely in the film you'll see my scraped knee.
The bicycle scene was a huge challenge and it took a lot of practice and precise timing. It sure looks easier than it was.
Robert Wise didn't know it when he cast me as Brigitta in the movie, but he had hired me once before in my very first movie Somebody Up There Likes Me. Bob had given me the stuffed mouse he's holding in this picture and I asked him if he would sign it for me while filming the party scene. He couldn't believe I was the same little girl of three he had cast years before.
Robert Wise was a wonderful directer. He always listened and he infused boundless energy into our performances. I'll never forget how he would yell "Beauty Take!" I have only good memories of working with him.
I've been asked why I look like I'm going to cry while listening to the Captain singing Edelweiss. As my character Brigitta, I remember thinking how moving it would be to hear my father singing again and how music would bring back memories of my mother who had passed away.
Robert Wise came up to me while shooting this scene and asked why I looked so sad and I told him what I was thinking. I remember he smiled and said "That's good" and then walked away.
Hours of rehearsal went into the puppet show scene. We really were taught how to work all the strings of the puppets and sing at the same time. My puppet was the Fraulin and she was so cool.
The locations where we shot the movie were fantastic. Salzburg is a city bursting with beauty and it still looks exactly the same today.
Eleanor Parker as The Baroness and Richard Hayden as Uncle Max listen to us lament over Maria.
When we performed on stage in Salzburg at the end of the movie we filmed in this beautiful old outdoor theatre. They brought in people off the street to fill the seats of the theatre which was very large. When we sang 'Edelweiss' there were tears in the eyes of the audience. Maybe it was because it was freezing that night, or maybe it was because the song touched them.
We shot the Festival scene at the Rock Riding School in the city of Salzburg. It had no roof and was open to the elements and we shot that scene all night long.
The bedroom scene was the first scene we filmed. We all knew each other pretty well by then because we had been rehearsing for months.
After the berry picking scene we are thrilled when Maria returns to us as we are singing the title song from the movie.
Heather and I became the best of friends and we drove everyone crazy with our Beatle song singing. We were inseperable during the filming of the movie and are still best friends today.
Hair and wardrobe tests are essential to create the final looks of the characters. Heather (Louisa) never wore her hair up in a bun like this and I only wore my hair in braids like this in the dinner sequence and not in my sailor suit. These are important decisions when working with a large cast. It takes a small country with everyone doing their job to make a film like this one .
We many hours of bad weather to sit through before we could complete the picnic scene where Maria teaches us how to sing Do Re Mi.
The English accent came easily to me because I was born in England and my parents still had their accents. Here we read through our lines with our dialog coach Pamela Denove.
So long, farewell...
A frog in a pocket...
The bicycle scene was done many times and our bike riding had to be precise. At one point Debbie Marta) clipped Duanes (Kurt) tire and we I fell off my bike. If you look hard in the movie you can see my scratched knee and elbow.
The Sound of Music premiere 1965
For more about our travels with The Sound of Music CLICK HERE!
I love Hirschfeld's drawing of us
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of 'The Sound of Music'
Vanity Fair reunites the SOM7 for a photograph in their Hollywood Issue March 2015