With just a few days left in 2017, another beloved performer has left us as the Hollywood community is in mourning once again. The Sound of Music star Heather Menzies-Urich passed away. Her son, Ryan Urich, confirmed that his mother died from brain cancer, and that the actress was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme last month, with her health rapidly deteriorating since then. Here’s what Ryan Urich had to say about his late mother.
“The most important thing was my mom was an actress, talented dancer (and) really avid in arts and theater. She had this unbelievable network of friends.”
Ryan Urich also confirmed his mother passed away on Sunday, at a family home in Canada, surrounded by loved ones. Heather was born December 3, 1949 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, although she moved to the United States with her family at the age of 11. The late actress graduated from Hollywood High School and then attended Falcon Studio’s University of the Arts in Hollywood. After making her acting debut on an episode of My Three Sons, Heather Menzies made her big screen debut as a teenager, with the iconic role of Louisa von Trapp, one of the seven von Trapp children in the musical classic The Sound of Music in 1965. During her time on the set, she even managed to trick Julie Andrews into believing she was actually a different sibling, Brigitta.
The Sound of Music lead to roles in Hawaii, How Sweet It Is and various roles on Dragnet 1967. While establishing herself as a charming ingenue in the 1960s, she re-branded herself with a much more sexy look in the 1970s, doing a nude photo spread for Playboy in 1973, which lead to roles in Strother Martin’s bizarre 1973 sci-fi feature Sssssss, the sci-fi TV series Logan’s Run and her role as Maggie McKeown in the 1978 classic Piranha. In 1975, she married actor Robert Urich, and subsequently changed her name to Heather Menzies-Urich. She was married to the actor until his death in 2002, after which, she founded the Robert Urich Foundation, which raises funds for cancer research in honor of the late actor.
She also appeared in a Captain America TV movie as Dr. Wendy Day plus episodes of The Love Boat in 1979, but by the time the 1980s rolled around, she didn’t seem to work quite as much. She played Susan in the 1982 movie Endangered Species and had guest starring roles on Galivan, T.J. Hooker and her husband Robert Urich’s series Spencer For Hire, with her final role coming in 1990, a guest-starring spot on American Dreamer. She was also a survivor of ovarian cancer and worked for the Urich Fund for Sarcoma Research at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The actress is survived by her three children with Robert Urich, Ryan, Emily and Allison, and her eight grandchildren. No details have been given regarding public or private services for the late actress. CNN first broke the news of the actress’ death earlier today.