The actress who made her name as Liesl in the film musical died from complications caused by dementia.

She’s best known for her role in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music where she famously sang that she was Sixteen Going On Seventeen (when in fact she was 21 at the time), but it was announced over the weekend that the actress Charmian Carr had died aged 73 from complications caused by a rare form of dementia.

Carr starred in the Oscar-winning 1965 film as Liesl von Trapp, a member of the family that was based on the real-life story of the Von Trapp family from Austria. However, it was to be the main role that she became famous for, moving away from films and setting up an interior design firm in California.

However, she always held a special place in her heart for the film musical, often appearing at reunion events alongside her other ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ from the film. She also later wrote two books on her experience - Forever Liesl and Letters to Liesl.

She recognised the joy that the film brought to many people’s lives, telling the Associated Press before a 2005 appearance:

‘I tell people that they should consider sing-a-long Sound Of Music like going to a therapist. It’s just a kind of therapy. They can move around. They can dance and talk back to the screen. They can skip their appointment with the shrink that week.’

Her co-star, Kim Karath, who played Gretl in the film (the youngest von Trapp child) wrote on Twitter:

‘It is with infinite sadness that I share the tragic news that the precious & exquisite Charmian Carr, beautiful Liesl, has passed away.’

Ted Chapin, president of the Rodgers and Hammerstein organisation, said in a statement:

‘It’s always sad when a member of the family passes away and in the case of the ‘family’ of the movie The Sound of Music, it’s especially sad when it is the first of the group to go.

‘Charmian Carr played the oldest von Trapp child, and in some ways she maintained that role in real life guiding, cheering, supporting and generally being there for the rest of her ‘sisters’ and ‘brothers’.’

It is not known what type of dementia Charmian had.

Source: theguardian.com and bbc.co.uk