Charmian Carr

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Charmian Carr
Evening Primrose Anthony Perkins Charmian Carr 1966 redone.jpg
Carr with Anthony Perkins in Evening Primrose (1966)
Born Charmian Farnon
(1942-12-27) December 27, 1942 (age 73)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation Actress, businesswoman
Years active 1965–present
Spouse(s) Jay Brent (m. 1967; div. 1991)
Children 2

Charmian Carr (born December 27, 1942) is an American actress and singer best known for her role as Liesl, the eldest Von Trapp daughter in the film version of The Sound of Music.

Early years[edit]

Carr was born Charmian Farnon in Chicago, Illinois, the second child of vaudeville actress Rita Oehman and musician Brian Farnon.[1][2] The two divorced in 1957.[3] She has two sisters, both actresses (Shannon Farnon and Darleen Carr).

Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was 10.[4]

While a student at San Fernando High School, Carr was a cheerleader and played basketball and volleyball. "She had never had a singing lesson and had never tried to act" before she was signed to be in The Sound of Music.[3]

The Sound of Music[edit]

Carr was attending San Fernando Valley State College, studying speech therapy and philosophy,[5] and working for a doctor,[3] when her mother arranged for her to audition for a role in The Sound of Music. Rita Farnon hadn't asked Charmian if she wanted to audition for the part, but Charmian was sure her mother would consider getting a part in a film more important than earning a college diploma.

In a newspaper article published November 9, 1964, Carr related the story behind the tryout as follows:

I was going to college and getting extra spending money by modeling in fashion shows in one of the stores. One of the girls who modeled with me knew that Robert Wise, producer-director of The Sound of Music had been conducting a four-month search for someone to play the part of 16-year-old Liesel. My friend, without my knowing it, sent in my picture and explained in a note that I sang and danced. I received a call from Mr. Wise to come for a tryout. It took me completely by surprise.[4]

Director Robert Wise thought Farnon was too long a surname paired with Charmian. After he had given her a list of single syllable surnames, she chose Carr. She won the role of Liesl over Geraldine Chaplin, Patty Duke, Mia Farrow, Lesley Ann Warren and Sharon Tate.[6]

The film was on the whole a very happy experience for her. However, during the filming of her dance scene with Rolf in the gazebo, the costumers had forgotten to put no-slip pads on her shoes, she slid through a window of the gazebo, and she "had to complete the scene in agony".[7]

Carr appeared in Evening Primrose, a one-hour musical written by Stephen Sondheim, which aired on ABC Stage 67 in 1966. The male lead was Anthony Perkins.


She owns and operates an interior design firm, Charmian Carr Designs, in Encino, California. Her clients included Ernest Lehman, screenwriter for The Sound of Music; Michael Jackson, who hired her because he was a fan of the film; and other cast members from the film.[6] On December 12, 2007, Carr made a rare television appearance as a guest on British TV talk show Loose Women, wherein she shared some of her memories of making The Sound of Music with the hosts.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Carr married a dentist, Jay Brent, and left show business. They had two daughters, Jenny and Emily.[8]


Carr worked with Van Johnson on a pilot for a television program, Take Her, She's Mine.[3]

She has written two books, Forever Liesl and Letters to Liesl.

She reunited with many of her co-stars from The Sound of Music on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October 2010 to celebrate the film's 45th anniversary.[9]

In 2014, Carr recorded "Edelweiss" with the great-grandchildren of the von Trapps on the album "Dream a Little Dream" by the Von Trapps and Pink Martini.[10]


  1. ^ Carr, Charmian. Forever Liesl: A Memoir of The Sound of Music. April 3, 2001, p. 205; ISBN 0-14-029840-1.
  2. ^ William Shakespeare's tragedy Antony and Cleopatra features Charmian, the servant to Cleopatra.
  3. ^ a b c d Hopper, Hedda (March 7, 1965). "In Hollywood". Texas, Harlingen. Valley Morning Star. p. 7. Retrieved November 26, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  4. ^ a b "Real-Life Cinderella Story Makes Actress Of Therapist". Ohio, Zanesville. The Times Recorder. November 9, 1964. p. 6. Retrieved November 26, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  5. ^ Hopper, Hedda (March 20, 1964). "Looking At Hollywood". Colorado, Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph. p. 20. Retrieved November 26, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  6. ^ a b IMDb bio profile
  7. ^ December 2007 interview
  8. ^ Shearer, Lloyd (June 3, 1973). "Intelligence Report". California, Oakland. Oakland Tribune. p. 189. Retrieved November 26, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  9. ^ Oprah to reunite The Sound of Music cast for the first time in 45 years
  10. ^ "Dream A Little Dream - Pink Martini". 

External links[edit]