Brigitta Von Trapp From 'The Sound Of Music' Is 70 & Looks Unrecognizable Today
Feb 23, 2021 by apost team
Legendary actor Angela Cartwright first made it into our hearts as Brigitta von Trapp in the iconic musical, "The Sound of Music." She was only 11 years old at the time she was cast, but that didn't stop the child star from becoming a household name in Hollywood. Now 70 years old, Angela prefers the quiet family life to the glamour of showbiz. We're taking a look back at the "Lost in Space" actor's extensive career, and just what exactly she's been up to as of recent.
Born in Altrincham, Cheshire, England, in September 1952, Angela Cartwright began acting from a young age. At three years old, the child actor and her family moved to Los Angeles, where Angela almost instantly began working as a model and actress. By the time she was four, she had already become one of the most sought-after models in the state, making appearances on numerous fashion magazines and apparel advertisements. Around that same time, she made her debut on the big screen in "Somebody Up There Likes Me," in which she starred alongside the famous Paul Newman as his on-screen daughter. In 1957, Angela was cast to star alongside Rock Hudson and Sidney Poitier in the drama film, “Something of Value."
Her real breakthrough, however, was her stint on the hit CBS sitcom, "The Danny Thomas Show," where she starred side-by-side the legendary Danny Thomas as his adopted daughter. Linda. The role proved to be a huge hit with the audience, with the show’s ratings increasing dramatically after Angela joined the cast. She ended up staying on the show for seven seasons, during which she developed a very close friendship with Danny Thomas.
"I thought Danny was hilarious and he was always cracking me up," Angela told Classic Film and TV Café. He was loud and gregarious, nothing like my real Dad who is far more reserved than that. So, it was fun to be able to make smart remarks and get away with it. I would never have talked to my real parents that way, but in the make-believe world of the Williams family I got away with that."
In the early sixties, Angela would take on the role we all grew up to love her for; Brigitta von Trapp, the feisty 10-year-old in the classical film, "The Sound of Music." Because the child star had become accustomed to growing up surrounded by grown-ups onset, the chance to work with other children for “The Sound of Music” was a welcome change for Angela. Speaking to Parade magazine in 2013, Angela revealed that she hit it off with the other children on set almost instantly. “I loved the fact that there were these other kids,” she said. In fact, the friendships they had developed were so strong, that the whole cast still remains in touch until this day.
But it wasn’t just her castmates that made the project so interesting for Angela. For her, Brigitta von Trapp was a relatable character for the actor.
“Brigitta was very inquisitive,” she said. “She was always aware of everything going on. She was one sharp cookie. There’s a lot of depth in Brigitta and I loved playing her.”
The film’s director, Robert Wise, was tasked with the seemingly impossible feat of directing seven young children.
As fans will now know, Wise executed that task flawlessly and brought a unique dimension to every role. The whole case would meet and rehearse tirelessly before finally flying to Salzburg, Austria, for filming. According to Angela, the cast had become so well-rehearsed that none of the children ever caused delays when filming.
“We went to Austria. We were there for three months. And we knew those songs inside and out because we had rehearsed them so much.”
She looks back fondly on her days filming the musical. Angela described the scene in which the von Trapp children go overboard in a boat scene, although she admits it was uncomfortable as the lake was cold and filled with leeches.
“We were freezing cold and we were dancing to keep warm,” she recalled, “and when the sun came out we would dance and sing and Julie [Andrews] was there with us. And I remember that being a lovely memory.”
"The Sound of Music" proved to be a wildly successful film, earning a Golden Globe for Best Musical/Comedy in 1965 and surpassing "Gone with the Wind" as the highest-grossing film at the time. Naturally, that success led to Angela moving on to bigger roles later on. That same year, she was cast as Penny Robinson in the TV series "Lost in Space." Notably very different from her role in the European countryside, the actor said she was “enchanted by space and the idea of space.”
John Hurt, Angela Cartwright (1981), (Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images)
“That was a different experience and lovely in its own way," the actor added.
After "Lost in Space," Angela starred in very many various television shows, including g "My Three Sons," "Adam-12," and the hilarious "The Love Boat." But Angela isn't just a successful actor. As she grew older, she realized that she also had passions for other things, like photography and art. What she loved doing most, however, was the role of her lifetime; having a family.
“I love being a grandmother,” Angela told Closer Weekly in 2015. “It’s like reliving those young years without the stress of being a parent! Both of my kids did good, because they found good mates and have strong family values.”
Angela married Steve Gullion in 1976, and the couple has since had two children. For more than thirty years, she and her husband have been living at their cozy three-bedroom Tudor home. Their children, Becca and Jesse, both live around the corner.
“We’ve had so many happy times here,” Angela said. “We say all the time, ‘Why would we want to move?’ We raised our kids here, and it’s a very comfortable house.”
Although Angela might have given up her golden acting years for quiet family life, her effect on Hollywood and American culture is still felt today. In an interview with Blast To The Past magazine, she admitted that she was amazed to see fans still remember her from her "Lost in Space" days.
"Who would have guessed Lost in Space would have such an impact on people. When I went to NASA several years ago with Bill Mumy and Marta Kristen, for the Discovery launch, they took us on a private tour," Angela said.Angela Cartwright (2003), (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
"They were building the Endeavor and the technicians and astronauts all told us how Lost In Space had influenced them to go into the space program. Can you imagine?… we were quite touched."
She also touched on how surreal it was to film "Lost in Space" in a spaceship, recalling how the actors would receive their food on conveyor belts. "Or we had to ride in the elevator, or we became weightless and flew! That was a blast," Angela added.
Just like with "The Sound of Music," the cast of "Lost in Space" has grown pretty close to one another. The actor remembered many silly anecdotes from her time on set, like when "Jonathan Harris would climb to the rafters and throw tootsie rolls to the crew every day at 4:00pm." Additionally, she revealed that they would play scrabble – at which nobody could beat Jock Lockhart's score – listen to Bill playing the guitar between takes, and be in hysterics with Mark Goddard’s daily pranks. "Many memories," Angela said. "Many good times…"
While her acting might have undeniably gained her many die-hard fans, Angela explained that it was only when she started working in photography that she found her true calling. During the interview, she recalled how spending time with her photographer dad when she was a child helped her realize it was what she wanted to do later on in life.
Angela Cartwright (2015), (Bobby Bank/Getty Images)
"I have always loved photography since an early age. I followed in my Father’s footsteps and used his darkroom to develop my film. I have taken pictures all my life and chronicled my children’s lives in photographs. Now in the digital age people realize how incredible it is to have special times (and everyday times) captured on film," she said.
But it wasn't just photography that intrigued Angela.
"I have always enjoyed art … combining photographs and mixed media and creating photo-art makes me very fulfilled. I love to experiment with color and sketching and hand painting photos. I have been in many art exhibits and I wrote a book about some of my techniques. It’s called Mixed Emulsions: Altered Art Techniques for Photographic Imagery Keep an eye out for some of my hand painted art pieces that I will be putting up for sale in my Art Vault on my website soon."
She did eventually launch that website, where she now exhibits the items she designs, including clothes and jewelry.
Although it's been almost four decades since "The Sound of Music" was released, Angela still hails it as her favorite job in her acting career.
"[...]making the Sound of Music would have to be one of the all-time memorable events," she said. "It was so much fun running around Salzburg with the other kids in the cast. And we knew something magical was happening… though no one suspected it would be such a loved movie almost 50 years later."
Who was your favorite character in "The Sound of Music?" Let us know and be sure to pass this on so others can find out what Angela Cartwright looks like now!