Sound of Music actress Heather Menzies-Urich dies aged 68

More than 50 years after her star turn in "The Sound of Music," actress Heather Menzies Urich has died of brain cancer.

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Sound of Music actress Heather Menzies-Urich dies aged 68

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Sound of Music actress Heather Menzies-Urich, who became famous after playing Louisa von Trapp, has died aged 68.

The Canadian-born actress was diagnosed with brain cancer a month ago and died on Christmas Eve surrounded by her family, her son Ryan confirmed.

Menzies-Urich was just 14 years old and had no acting experience when she landed the role of the third-oldest von Trapp child in 1964 movie starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.

The movie is based on the story of the singing von Trapp family who fled Nazi rule.

Her character Louisa was mischievous and put a spider on the governess who preceded the former nun played by Andrews.

The film went on to win five Oscars, including best picture, and became a perennial favourite on Christmas day television schedules.  

Among those to pay tribute were Kym Karath, who played Gretl in the film.

The songs Menzies-Urich performed in the film include So Long Farewell and the Lonely Goatherd.

After her debut in The Sound of Music she appeared in many television films and programmes, including the TV series of Logan’s Run, TJ Hooker and The Bob Newhart Show.

But her later television and film appearances did not hit the same heights.

At 23, she posed nude for Playboy magazine under the headline The Tender Trapp, a decision she said horrified her Presbyterian parents, who were originally from Scotland.

She married actor Robert Urich in 1975 and the couple had three children. He died in 2002.

After her husband's death in 2002, Menzies Urich founded the Robert Urich Foundation, which raises funds for cancer research.

Her death comes a little over a year after that of Charmian Carr – who played the eldest von Trapp daughter Liesl.

Menzies Urich is survived by three children and eight grandchildren.