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Charmian Carr
File:Evening Primrose Anthony Perkins Charmian Carr 1966 redone.jpg
Carr with Anthony Perkins in Evening Primrose (1966)
Charmian Anne Farnon

(1942-12-27)December 27, 1942
DiedSeptember 17, 2016(2016-09-17) (aged 73)
Cause of deathDementia
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active1965–2016
Known forLiesl von Trapp in The Sound of Music
Jay Brent
(m. 1967; div. 1991)

Charmian Carr (born Charmian Anne Farnon; December 27, 1942 – September 17, 2016) was an American actress and singer best known for her role as Liesl, the eldest Von Trapp daughter in the 1965 film version of The Sound of Music.

Early life[]

Carr was born Charmian Anne Farnon in Chicago, Illinois, the second child of vaudeville actress Rita Oehmen and musician Brian Farnon.[1] The couple divorced in 1957.[2] She had two sisters, both actresses (Shannon Farnon and Darleen Carr). Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was 10.[3] While a student at San Fernando High School, Carr was a cheerleader and played basketball and volleyball. "She had never had a singing lesson and had never tried to act" before she was signed to be in The Sound of Music.[2]

The Sound of Music[]

Carr was attending San Fernando Valley State College, studying speech therapy and philosophy,[4] and working for a doctor,[2] when her mother arranged for her to audition for a role in The Sound of Music. Rita Farnon hadn't asked Charmian if she wanted to audition for the part, but Charmian was sure her mother would consider getting a part in a film more important than earning a college diploma. In a newspaper article published November 9, 1964, Carr related the story behind the tryout as follows:

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I was going to college and getting extra spending money by modeling in fashion shows in one of the stores. 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.[3]

Director Robert Wise thought Farnon was too long a surname paired with Charmian. After he had given her a list of single syllable surnames, she chose Carr.[5] She won the role of Liesl over Geraldine Chaplin, Kim Darby, Patty Duke, Shelley Fabares, Teri Garr, Mia Farrow and Lesley Ann Warren.[6] The film was on the whole a very happy experience for her. However, during the filming of her dance scene with Rolf in the gazebo, the costumers had forgotten to put no-slip pads on her shoes, she slid through a window of the gazebo, and she "had to complete the scene in agony".[7]

Later life[]

In 1965, Carr worked with Van Johnson on a pilot for a television program, Take Her, She's Mine.[2] Carr then appeared in Evening Primrose, a one-hour musical written by Stephen Sondheim, which aired on ABC Stage 67 in 1966.[8] The following year, she married a dentist, Jay Brent, and left show business. She and Jay had two daughters, Jennifer and Emily. Later on she became the grandmother of two grandchildren: Emma and Derek.[9]

Carr owned an interior design firm, Charmian Carr Designs, in Encino, California, and wrote two books, Forever Liesl and Letters to Liesl.[10] She reunited with many of her co-stars from The Sound of Music on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October 2010 to celebrate the film's 45th anniversary.[11] In 2014, Carr recorded "Edelweiss" with the great-grandchildren of the von Trapps on the album Dream a Little Dream by the von Trapps and Pink Martini.[12]

Carr died in Los Angeles on September 17, 2016, from complications related to frontotemporal dementia at the age of 73.[13]


  1. Carr, Charmian. Forever Liesl: A Memoir of The Sound of Music. April 3, 2001, p. 205; ISBN 0-14-029840-1.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Hopper, Hedda (March 7, 1965). "In Hollywood". Texas, Harlingen. Valley Morning Star. p. 7. Retrieved November 26, 2015 – via open access publication – free to read
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Real-Life Cinderella Story Makes Actress Of Therapist". Ohio, Zanesville. The Times Recorder. November 9, 1964. p. 6. Retrieved November 26, 2015 – via open access publication – free to read
  4. Hopper, Hedda (March 20, 1964). "Looking At Hollywood". Colorado, Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph. p. 20. Retrieved November 26, 2015 – via open access publication – free to read
  5. Idato, Michael (September 19, 2016). "Sound of Music's 'Liesl' dies". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  6. Carr, Charmian; Strauss, Jean A. S. (2006). Forever Liesl : my the sound of music story. London: Pan Books. p. 24. ISBN 9780330451000.
  7. "Liesl at 64 going on 70". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  8. "Piepenburg, Erik. "'60s Sondheim TV Show Is Now on (Legal) DVD," ''The New York Times'', Monday, October 25, 2010". October 25, 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  9. Shearer, Lloyd (June 3, 1973). "Intelligence Report". California, Oakland. Oakland Tribune. p. 189. Retrieved November 26, 2015 – via open access publication – free to read
  10. "Sound of Music 'Liesl' actress Charmian Carr dies". BBC News. September 18, 2016. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  11. Pilkington, Ed (October 28, 2010). "The Sound of Music cast reunite". The Guardian. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  12. "Dream A Little Dream - Pink Martini".
  13. "Charmian Carr, Liesl von Trapp in 'The Sound of Music' Film, Dies at 73". The New York Times. Associated Press. September 18, 2016.

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