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Toronto-born Sound of Music actress Heather Menzies-Urich dies at 68

Heather Menzies-Urich, the actress perhaps best known for portraying Louisa von Trapp in the 1965 film The Sound of Music, has died at age 68.

Menzies-Urich, the widow of actor Robert Urich, was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, according to their son Ryan Urich. 

Ryan Urich told Variety that his mother died late Sunday in Frankford, Ont., surrounded by her children and family members. Her death was reported Christmas Day.

"She was an actress, a ballerina and loved living her life to the fullest," Urich said. "She was not in any pain but, nearly four weeks after her diagnosis of terminal brain cancer, she had enough and took her last breath on this earth at 7:22 pm." 


Menzies-Urich, left, with fellow cast members Kym Karath, centre, and Debbie Turner pose during 50th anniversary screening of The Sound of Music at the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival in Los Angeles. (Kevork Djansezian/Reuters)

Born in Toronto, Menzies-Urich's first screen credit came in the TV series The Farmer's Daughter in 1964. She was 15 when she was cast as the second-eldest daughter and third eldest of the seven von Trapp children in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music, a box office smash that won several Academy Awards, including for Best Picture and Best Actress (Julie Andrews).

Rodgers and Hammerstein acknowledged her passing on its website Monday.

"Heather was part of 'the family.' There is really no other way to describe the members of the cast of the movie of The Sound of Music. And of 'the kids,'" the statement says. "Heather was a cheerful and positive member of the group, always hoping for the next gathering. We are all lucky to have known her, and she will happily live on in that beautiful movie. We will miss her."

We Mourn the Loss of Heather Menzies-Urich... https://t.co/dpuHJBoBWD pic.twitter.com/V3YqfNSCO3

— @SoundofMusic

Menzies-Urich's other feature film credits included The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Piranha and Endangered Species.

Her TV credits included Dragnet, Bonanza, Marcus Welby M.D., The Bob Newhart Show and a starring role as Jessica 6 in the series Logan's Run.

Variety reports that Menzies-Urich is survived by two other children, several grandchildren and a great grandchild. Her husband died in 2002.

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