Who did he play in The Sound of Music?
Daniel Truhitte played the part of Rolf Gruber, the telegram boy in the film, who falls in love with Liesl. As the movie unfolds, Rolf changes from being the innocent messenger boy with his bike, into a more cold and detached member of the Hitler Youth movement.
“They couldn’t find somebody to sing, dance and play a Nazi” - Daniel Truhitte on why he was chosen.
Truhitte remembers walking in to the 20th Century Fox studios at the age of twenty, to audition for the part, and seeing five hundred blond guys all waiting and hoping to be chosen to play Rolf. Daniel was not blond, so he had his hair dyed to make him look more Austrian. He got the part after a second audition, even though the filming of the movie had already started.
“I’ve been amazed at the following I’ve had from being Rolf. If I could have played only one role in my life, I’ve done it. I feel so blessed to have been Rolf.” - Daniel Truhitte
Rolf and Liesl’s love story runs parallel to The Captain’s and Maria’s romance. Initially Liesl has a teenage crush on Rolf and is keen to meet up with him when he delivers the telegrams to the house. Later on, they not only declare their love for each other in the famous gazebo scene, but also capture our hearts when they sing ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen”.
“The gazebo scene is permanently in my heart and in my mind……our dance in the gazebo will be here long after we’re both gone. I’ll be forever grateful for that.” - Daniel Truhitte
According to Truhitte, the goal of the gazebo scene was to make it look like the couple were having fun, and not just a choreographed dance routine. They certainly achieved this with Liesl and Rolf dancing in the gazebo at night, with thunder, lightning and rain lashing down outside. It ends in a single kiss, a very powerful moment between the two of them.
Rolf then joins the Nazi party and becomes cold towards Liesl, as he knows The Captain has no respect for Adolf Hitler. Rolf is one of the Nazi soldiers involved in the chase scene at the end of the movie. He raised the alarm by alerting the other German soldiers that he has found the von Trapp family hiding in the cemetery. This is the final betrayal where he chooses to be loyal to his political party rather than to his girlfriend and her family, knowing that he could be sending them all to their deaths.
“Nobody knows more than I do what a rat I was!” - Daniel Truhitte
This was, however, one of the scenes that saved the movie from being too sugary sweet.
Before The Sound of Music
Daniel Truhitte was born on September 10th 1943 in Sacramento County California. At the age of six years old he started tap lessons, gymnastics and ballet and began singing at the age of ten. Daniel wanted to be another Gene Kelly, and at seventeen won a scholarship to the Pasadena Playhouse. This set him off on his acting career.
After The Sound of Music
Daniel met his first wife, Gabriele during the filming of The Sound of Music. She was Charmian Carr’s German stand-in and that day was helping to check the lighting for the filming of the wedding scene. They dated the whole time Daniel was in Austria, then stayed constantly in touch for two years after that. They later married and coincidentally, Gabriele’s parents names were Rolf and Liesl!
When the filming of The Sound of Music had finished, Truhitte joined the US Marine Corps, where his collegues called him "Private Hollywood”.
After The Marine Corps, Truhitte continued to perform on stage, appeared in movies, theatre and television. This included:
No No Nanette
On a Clear Day
Once Upon a Mattress
Bells are Ringing
Little Mary Sunshine
Unsinkable Molly Brown
“Historically after a war, people get more into a romanticism than a realism.” -Daniel Truhitte
Truhitte, has three sons and is now married to his third wife Tarealia Hanney (TJ) who has three daughters.They call themselves the Brady Bunch and one of Daniel’s sons is called Thomas Rolf Truhitte who is a famous opera singer. His middle name is a tribute to Daniel’s role as Rolf in The Sound of Music. They met when Daniel was teaching singing lessons to TJ’s daughter Aleia, and presently live in Concord, North Carolina. Now Daniel is working in real estate but still teaches. His knowledge in this area has made him a very popular teacher with his students.
He also regularly sings on the historic ship The Queen Mary at Long Beach, California, for Big Band Live and has performed at The Hollywood Bowl, The Hollywood Palladium and at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. He also played the lead singer in MGM’s ‘Hallelujah Hollywood’ show in Las Vegas. He has produced a CD called ‘Gazebo Love’ and has made an ‘audio telegram’ for The Sound of Music Five Star Collection DVD on Disc 2 of the special edition content. Here he shares personal stories about his part as Rolf Gruber which lasts for about thirteen minutes long. Daniel has also featured on a CD by Sarah Morgann called 'Cantatrice'.
Truhitte can also be heard singing ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’ as a part of a Hyundai TV commercial. Daniel has achieved fame from Hollywood to Europe for his talented acting, singing, dancing and teaching. It is very true what Daniel has said about this song and his being in the film………
“The Sound of Music has made my work immortal.” Daniel Truhitte
He can on occasions be found taking tours of people around all those famous sights in Salzburg. I’m sure he makes a point of stopping off to revisit the gazebo whilst he is there!
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