Few people watching Nicholas Hammond ’71 perform in the Triangle Club’s 1968–69 show A Different Kick probably recognized him as the youthful Friedrich von Trapp in the 1965 megahit film The Sound of Music. But Hammond, who was bitten by the acting bug at age 6 and landed a small role in the movie Lord of the Flies at 10, never was bothered by his lack of star power on campus.
“There were so many remarkable, high-achieving fellow classmates that I never felt in any way distinctive,” he says. “Although I had been in the most famous film musical in history, I can say with certainty that I was the worst singer and dancer in Triangle.”
Despite his modest performance credentials at Princeton, Hammond transitioned to leading-man roles after earning a degree in English. He acted in daytime soaps, starred in The Amazing Spider-Man TV series from 1977–79, and made guest appearances on TV shows, including The Brady Bunch.
Hammond’s repertoire expanded in the 1980s with his move to Australia, where he has appeared in numerous television series and found success as a screenwriter and director. He is especially proud of A Difficult Woman, a critically acclaimed and award-winning mini-series he wrote, and the TV movie Secret Men’s Business, which stands as the highest-rated TV show ever aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
The Sound of Music remains a defining event for Hammond, who lives in Sydney and is working on projects with director Bruce Beresford. He and the other actors who played the von Trapp siblings have stayed close. Charmian Carr (Liesl) “caused a sensation” at Princeton, Hammond says, when she visited him wearing “a mink coat for lunch in freshman Commons.”