Angela Cartwright celebrates her 60th birthday on Sept. 9. The English-American actress won many a young boy’s heart playing Brigitta Von Trapp in the film “The Sound of Music” and Penny Robinson in the TV series “Lost in Space.” This week, the List takes a second look at Miss Cartwright and wishes her a happy birthday.
- Born — Yes, she’s a Brit. Miss Cartwright was born in Altrincham, Cheshire, England. Other famous people from the town include the Victorian artist Helen Allingham, and Ian Brown and John Squire of the alternative rock band The Stone Roses.
- Blue eyes — Her first film role was playing Paul Newman’s daughter in “Somebody Up There Likes Me” (1956) when she was 3 years old.
- Before “The Sound of Music” — At the age of 4, Miss Cartwright played Danny Thomas‘ daughter for seven years on the popular TV series “The Danny Thomas Show” (known as “Make Room For Daddy” in its early years). Rusty Hamer, who was her brother in the show, had a tragic life and committed suicide at 42. Miss Cartwright always remained a good friend of Danny Thomas, whose real name was Amos Muzyad Yakhoob Kairouz.
- Audition — To win the role of Brigitta on “The Sound of Music,” she sang “Do-Re-Mi,” danced and did a screen test wearing a blond wig.
- “The Sound of Music” — She first appears in the film reading a book and arriving a little late to a family meeting. She gets a friendly swat on the backside with the book by her father, Capt. von Trapp.
- What book was it? — The book she was reading in the film was “John Dale,” a romantic fiction written by Ejnar Mikkelsen, a renowned Danish explorer of the Arctic, and published in 1921.
- Loves the movie — Miss Cartwright told the Ventura County Star in California that she never tires of watching “The Sound of Music” and has watched it “hundreds of times, and if I’m changing channels, and it’s on TV, I get suckered into it every time.”
- Tough lines — Julie Andrews taught her how to say “supercalifragilisticexpialadocious” backward.
- “Lost in Space” — At the time of the release of “The Sound of Music,” Miss Cartwright was famous already for her role as Penny Robinson in the TV show “Lost in Space,” in which she starred from 1965-68.
- Not a wild teenager — “I wasn’t wild and crazy and doing Hollywood parties and all of that stuff,” she told Bill O’Reilly.
- Why didn’t she do all that stuff that so many other childhood stars do? “My parents were just great supporters. And it was just nothing — I was happy,” she said.
- “Lost in Space,” the movie — Miss Cartwright had a small role in the 1998 film “Lost in Space,” as a news reporter.
- Movie bomb — Miss Cartwright had a role in “Beyond the Poseidon Adventure” (1979) directed by Irwin Allen, who had directed the TV series “Lost in Space.” The film, starring Michael Caine, bombed, and Miss Cartwright disliked it. It made just $14 million in 2012 inflated dollars.
- Sister — Her older sister is veteran actress Veronica A. Cartwright, best known for her role in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978) and as Navigator Lambert and the only other female along with Sigourney Weaver on the spaceship Nostromo in “Alien” (1979).
- Married — She’s been hitched to Steve Gullion for 36 years and has two children, daughter Becca, 31, a producer, and son Jesse, 27, a screenwriter.
- Photographer and artist — Miss Cartwright is an accomplished artist and photographer. She runs a photography studio in Studio City, Calif. “Photography has been a passion of mine since I was 15,” she said. She also had a boutique in Toluca Lake, Calif., called Rubber Boots for 20 years.
- Website — Miss Cartwright was an early convert to the Internet and developed a sophisticated website at angela-cartwright.com where she has posted detailed scrapbooks of her life. She also sells “The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook,” which is signed by all seven children in the cast.
- 45th anniversary — “When you have someone come up to you and say they put “The Sound of Music” in when they’re feeling down just to lift their spirits, I mean, what could be better than that, being in a movie that does that to people?” she told NBC on the 45th anniversary of the release of the film.
- Quote — “I was never one to seek out the spotlight. I am kind of a private person, so I don’t miss that part of show business at all.”
Source: Ventura County Star (Califoria), Charleston Gazette (West Virginia), angela-cartwright.com, Los Angeles Times and cogerson.hubpages.com.
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