The eldest daughter of Austrian naval Captain Georg Ritter von Trapp has died. Agathe von Trapp, whose famous family became known as the Trapp Family Singers, passed away at the age of 97 after a month-long battle with congestive heart failure. “The Sound of Music” was based upon her family’s life as they tried to escape Nazi influence in Austria. USA Today reports von Trapp will be buried near the family’s home in Stowe, Vt., at the Trapp Family Lodge. The lodge is where the family resided when they lived in the United States in the 1940s.
Agathe von Trapp is just one of many real-life people upon whose life movies have been created. Aside from “The Sound of Music,” another Academy Award-winning film was produced upon someone’s life.
John Nash Jr.
In 2001, Russell Crowe portrayed brilliant mathematician John Nash Jr. in the film “A Beautiful Mind.” Based loosely upon Nash’s biography, “A Beautiful Mind” was a movie about the Nobel Prize-winning economist who suffered from schizophrenia.
Nash’s Nobel autobiography states he became delusional in early 1959 when his wife Alicia was pregnant. It was at that time his life began to fall apart. Nash resigned his faculty post at M.I.T. and for the next 25 years battled the mental disorder. His son Johnny also has been diagnosed with the disease and currently lives with his parents in a modest New Jersey home, according to CBS News. Nash is currently a mathematician at Princeton University.
Since the movie came out, Nash published an autobiography of his mathematical works titled “The Essential John Nash.” His schizophrenia is currently in remission and as recently as 2009 Nash and his wife advocated for better mental health care in New Jersey.
Nash was portrayed as being much different in the movie than in real life, according to his wife and son. Like Nash, von Trapp’s character was portrayed differently in the movie. The character of Liesl in “The Sound of Music” was very outgoing, but Agathe von Trapp was in reality shy and reserved, according to her youngest brother Johannes. There are still four surviving members of the Trapp Family Singers, the youngest being 71. Agathe helped run a kindergarten in Maryland until 1993.
Whether both real life people were portrayed accurately in movies probably doesn’t matter. Both von Trapp and Nash have led extraordinary lives and deserve to be recognized for their own merits regardless of how Hollywood portrays them.
Dishneau, David, “Agathe von Trapp of ‘Sound of Music’ family dies,”USA Today.
Kohn, David, “Nash: Film No Whitewash,” CBS News.
Nobel Prize, “John F. Nash, Jr. Autobiography.”