Actress Heather Menzies-Urich died on Sunday in Frankfort, Ontario, several weeks after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Menzies-Urich is best known for her role as Louisa Von Trapp in The Sound of Music.
Variety reports that Menzies-Urich was born in Toronto, and moved with her family to Los Angeles as a child. She was first cast in TV show The Farmer’s Daughter, before landing her role as Louisa, the third oldest Von Trapp child. The president and chief creative officer of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, Ted Chapin, told Variety that Menzies-Urich’s work on behalf of the film’s legacy will be missed:
“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,’ Heather was a cheerful and positive member of the group, always hoping for the next gathering,” Chapin said. “We are all lucky to have known her, and she will happily live on in that beautiful movie. We will miss her.”
Her co-star Kym Karath, who played little Gretl, tweeted a goodbye, as did Nicholas Hammond, who played Friedrich von Trapp:
Menzies-Urich’s husband, Robert Urich, also died from a rare form of cancer in 2002. She then founded the the Robert Urich Foundation, which raised money for cancer research and support for patients, CNN reports:
“After my husband lost his battle on April 16th, 2002, I vowed that I would make it my life’s mission to continue to fight for his dream and vision: a world where the word ‘cancer’ is simply a memory of war we have won,” Menzies-Urich wrote on the foundation’s website.
Menzies-Urich had three children and eight grandchildren. Her son, Ryan Urich, said in a statement, “She was an actress, a ballerina and loved living her life to the fullest.”