Minnesota's 'Marta von Trapp' reflects on 50th anniversary of 'The Sound of Music'


Fifty years ago, one of our collective favorites hit the big screen when "The Sound of Music" premiered in the nation's theaters.

In a lengthy retrospective, Time magazine notes the 1965 film became the most popular attraction in the first half-century of the Hollywood feature film. It earned five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.

One of the seven singing von Trapp kids was Debbie Turner, who was 7 years old when she played Marta, the pigtailed second-to-youngest child.

Now 58, Turner lives in Minnesota with her family and is still in touch with what she calls "my other family" – the performers who played her on-screen siblings.

"We're all still the best of friends," she told BringMeTheNews. "We shared this special experience and have all stayed in close touch."

Her path to Minnesota

Turner returned to her home and education in California after the filming was complete. As a college graduate, she moved to Utah to ski; it was there she met the Minnesota native who became her husband. They moved to Minnesota in 1985 and raised their four daughters here.

Turner must have really liked the idea of raindrops on roses; she went on to become a successful floral designer, opening Debbie Turner Originals in 1989.

"One of my favorite memories of filming in Salzburg was being in the Mirabell Gardens, where we shot a lot of the "Do-Re-Mi" sequence," she said. "The tulips were blooming and there were thousands upon thousands of them. I remember just gazing at them in awe and I think that's what inspired my love of flowers."

Her website, DebbieTurnerOriginals, includes pictures from her childhood and more contemporary photographs of the cinema-siblings as they have appeared in public together in recent years.

The "Sound of Music Seven" maintains a website here, with information about the performers. Their "Sound of Music Scrapbook," published in 2012, includes anecdotes, memorabilia and personal photographs taken during the filming.

(When people order the book, it arrives, yes, in a brown paper package tied up with string.)

A photograph of the seven as they are today appeared in the March issue of Vanity Fair, to accompany a story on the film's anniversary. On Monday, The Independent in the U.K. published a "Where Are They Now?" story that tracks each of the seven and their lives today.

"Being in the movie taught me that good things endure," she said. "The story that was poignant, funny, and mostly true still touches people. 50 years and counting!"

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