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Maria Franziska von Trapp


It must have been hard to be Maria Franziska von Trapp, overshadowed first by her father's second wife (only nine years her senior) and then by the iconic singing nun portrayed in The Sound of Music. To add insult to injury, it was the sickly Maria Franziska whose scarlet fever and subsequent need for tutoring brought the kindly governess Maria Augusta into the von Trapp family. To be fair, it worked out pretty well for a while, as Maria Augusta shaped the two boys and five girls into a miniature choir that toured Europe and then the world throughout World War II and the postwar years, serving as unofficial goodwill ambassadors from the German-speaking peoples.

As the Trapp Family Singers' commercial fortunes waned, Maria Franziska, her stepmother, and several of her siblings left the family ski lodge in Stowe, Vermont, to become missionaries in Papua New Guinea. While the others returned to America after a few years, Maria Franziska stayed in the South Pacific for 30 years, largely avoiding the spotlight that the musical shone on her family (and, presumably, countless inquiries about whether she was that Maria). At the end of her life, she returned to the family home, where she died on February 18.

The last of the original Trapp Family Singers (three half-siblings, who weren't part of the troupe or portrayed in the musical, survive her), she was 99. Worm Farmer gets seven points for the hit (2 for hit + 5 for solo).


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