Duane Chase

Who did he play in The Sound of Music?

KurtDuane Chase played Kurt, the youngest son, the middle child, or as he describes himself the ‘incorrigible one,’ in The Sound of Music.

The part of Kurt was based on Werner von Trapp, the second son of Georg von Trapp and his wife Agathe.

At the audition, which Duane thought did not go very well, he was asked to go back for a second time. There, Director Robert Wise went up to Duane, and personally invited him to become a member of the cast, saying “How would you like to go to Austria?”

Kurt JulieDuane was thirteen years old when he performed in The Sound of Music. His biggest scene was when he sang ‘So Long Farewell’. The high note at the very end of his solo part was actually sung by Darleen Carr, (Charmian Carr’s sister), as the note was beyond Duane’s range.

The authentic Austrian costume that Duane wears when singing this song at the party, is called a Tracht and the jacket is called a Loden.

During filming, Duane has said that he did suffer periods of ‘ill behaviour’. During the thunderstorm scene, he was to run into Maria’s bedroom smiling, which he refused to do. Consequently, they had to retake that scene over and over again!

Before The Sound of Music

Duane was born on 12th December 1950 in Los Angeles, California. He was born on the same day as Darleen Carr!

By the age of eleven he had been in TV commercials, one for IHOP the pancake house, and had also carried out some modelling. He had also played Danny Matthews in ‘The Big Valley” for one episode.

After The Sound of MusicFollow Me Boys Duane

Duane made one more movie in 1966 and starred as Joe in the Disney film ‘Follow Me Boys'. This film is about a musician who decides to start a local scout group. A local troublemaker joins the group and changes into an honest citizen.

Duane saved every penny he made from acting to put towards his college expenses. Then at the age of eighteen he gave up acting.

“I became too old for young parts and too young for old parts”
- Duane Chase

Duane SchoolkidWhen he left High School he took a summer job working for the forestry service. This helped him decide on geology as a career and went to study at UC Santa Barbara, gaining a geology degree in 1976. He then went on to complete his Masters degree at the University of Alabama.

Now Duane looks upon The Sound of Music in a different way:

“I still enjoy the movie particularly the beautiful countryside. There is a problem though: I see the mountains in terms of geology and I would like to be able to look at them only for their aesthetic beauty”. - Duane Chase

In 1987 Duane married Petra who was a trained nurse. Strangely, Petra’s Mum is Austrian and Petra originally came to America as a nanny! If that is not weird enough, Petra’s middle name is Maria!

Duane has always loved the mountains and the ocean, so he is very happy living in Seattle, Washington, working as a computer software designer for oil and mining companies.

Duane ElisabethOn 11th October 2007 at the age of ninety-one, Werner von Trapp died of a stroke when Duane was on his way to see him. To honor him, the real von Trapp family asked Duane and the other movie siblings to plant an apple tree on the grounds of their von Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont. Duane said a few words in memory of the man who had made him famous. The photo on the right shows Duane with Elisabeth von Trapp, Werner's daughter.

Duane Head A television documentary was filmed about the screen von Trapp children returning to Austria. For some of them it was their first trip back since filming The Sound of Music thirty-six years ago. It was a very moving and powerful journey, bringing back so many wonderful memories of their time in Salzburg.

“Over the years, we’ve always been brought back together, the kids from the movie, mostly for fifth year reunions, tenth year, etcetera, but in between these we’ve always stayed in touch” - Duane Chase

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