Von Trapp children actors on filming Sound of Music

Actors who played the Von Trapp children reveal Christopher Plummer ‘intentionally’ distanced himself on The Sound Of Music set so they would gravitate to ‘fun and joyous’ Julie Andrews on screen

  • Debbie Turner, Angela Cartwright, Nicholas Hammond starred in 1965 musical 
  • Spoke of filming with Julie Andrews aged 27 who wasn’t yet famous globally 
  • Said Andrews was ‘full of light and joy’ on while playing Maria von Trapp in film
  • Christopher Plummer best known for Captain Von Trapp died aged 91 on Friday  

Actors who played the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music revealed what it was like filming with the late Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews.  

Debbie Turner, 64, who was seven when she played Marta in the film, Angela Cartwright, 68, who played Brigitta at 13, and Nicholas Hammond, 70, who was 14 when he portrayed Friedrich appeared on This Morning today. 

They paid tribute to Christopher, who died aged 91 on Friday and was best known for his role as Captain Von Trapp in the 1965 musical film, praising the star’s ‘concentration and commitment’ on set. 

Nicholas, from New South Wales, revealed how the star would intentionally distance himself from the children on set, so they would instantly gravitate on screen to ‘fun and joyous’ Andrews, who played Maria Von Trapp in the film. 

Actors who played the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music revealed what it was like filming with the late Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews. Pictured, Christopher and Julie as Captain Von Trapp and Maria in the 1965 film

Pictured, (L-R) Charmian Carr, Nicholas Hammond, Heather Menzies, Duane Chase, Angela Cartwright, Debbie Turner, Kym Karath, Christopher Plummer as the Von Trapp family in the film

‘He showed me what it is to be an actor, with his concentration and commitment,’ he said. ‘It was true he was more serious on the set, certainly than Julie who was delightful and fun, full of light and joy for all of us. 

‘But Christopher came there to do a job and knew that as children, we shouldn’t be as comfortable with him as our father, than Maria. So it was actually a very calculated move.

‘She was hugely friendly and warm and taught us jokes and songs and Christopher kept his distance from us and I think that was absolutely the right call and I had huge admiration for him.’ 

But Christopher did have a softer side, with Debbie, from Minnesota, recalling a famous scene from the film where he was secretly making faces at her to make her laugh. 

Debbie Turner, 64, who was seven when she played Marta in the film, Angela Cartwright, 68, who played Brigitta at 13, and Nicholas Hammond, 70, who was 14 when he portrayed Friedrich appeared on This Morning today

Nicholas revealed how the star would intentionally distance himself from the children on set, so they would instantly gravitate to ‘fun and joyous’ Andrews on screen. Pictured, the Von Trapp family in The Sound of Music 

She said: ‘We were doing the scene after we came back from berry picking and he was facing me and saying “Marta, where were you really?”. 

‘The camera was on his back and I just remember him making faces at me making me laugh…It was just kind of fun to remember that he did have a soft side to him.’   

Julie, now 85, was 27 while the movie was being filmed, before 1964 movie Mary Poppins had come out in the US, and Angela recalled how the star would teach the young actors words to songs from the iconic musical on set. 

‘Mary Poppins hadn’t come out yet, so nobody in America knew who she was’, said Nicolas. ‘Most of the people in LA didn’t know who she was. 

Julie, now 85, was 27 while The Sound of music was being filmed Pictured, Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins in 1964

‘She was 27 and the studio was facing bankruptcy and all of that was on the shoulders of a 27-year-old girl and if you think of what she did in that film, it’s an astonishing accomplishment.’ 

Angela added: ‘Oh did she teach us the songs from Mary Poppins, absolutely! I can still say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious backwards. She was lovely to be around and a great energy and we had such a great time on the film.’  

Christopher had been famously quoted saying he regretted his choice to star in the film, but Angela says that his view on the film ‘changed’ as he got older, and that his serious attitude brought an ‘edge’ to the role. 

‘I think that that changed as he got older and he realised how it made his career spring forward, a lot quicker than it might have’, she said. 

‘I think he kind of regretted saying that, but I think he brought a real edge to the part which made it not as sickly sweet and I loved working with Chris, a very talented guy very sad to lose him’. 

Christopher, pictured with Julie in 2015, was an accomplished Shakespearean actor honoured for his varied stage, television and film work in a career that spanned more than six decades

Christopher was an accomplished Shakespearean actor honoured for his varied stage, television and film work in a career that spanned more than six decades. 

The artist became the oldest actor to win an Academy Award at 82, for his supporting performance in ‘Beginners’ as an elderly man who comes out of the closet as gay after his wife’s death. 

He was best known for his role in ‘The Sound Of Music,’ which at the time eclipsed ‘Gone With the Wind’ (1939) as the top-earning movie ever and won the Academy Award for best picture in 1965.

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