Doreen Tracey, Original 'The Mickey Mouse Club' Mouseketeer, Dies At 74
Disney is mourning the passing of one of the original Mouseketeers from the hit children's variety show The Mickey Mouse Club.
Doreen Tracey, a former child star who appeared on the show's mid-1950s run, passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 10, at the age of 74. The cause of death was pneumonia following her two-year battle with cancer.
Howard Green, a publicist for The Walt Disney Company, confirmed the news to the press.
The Mickey Mouse Club and a few other shows was created by Walt Disney himself in order to help finance Disneyland. It aired intermittently on television from 1955 to 1996. A rebooted series called Club Mickey Mouse currently airs on social media websites.
The 1990s version of the children's variety show launched the careers of several stars such as Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling, and Keri Russell.
According to Time, the original Mickey Mouse Club on ABC was insanely popular to kids who rushed home from school in order to watch the one-hour-long episodes. Tracey, who joined the show when she was 12 years old, and her equally talented costars all wore the now-iconic black hats with mouse ears in front of the camera. Mickey Mouse, voiced by Disney, made frequent appearances.
Life After Mickey Mouse
Tracey stayed on the variety show for four years. She kept ties with Disney throughout her life. She appeared in the movie Westward Ho the Wagons with Fess Parker in 1956 and went on tour with fellow Mouseketeers.
In the 1960s, the former child star, who always described herself as the black sheep, formed a rock group called Doreen and the Invaders. She and her band toured Vietnam in 1968 shortly after the Tet Offensive, one of the largest and the most aggressive military campaigns during the Vietnam War.
She also posed for the magazine Gallery wearing nothing but her signature Mickey Mouse ears. She later regretted the risqué photos because it tainted her relationship with Disney.
"You get caught up in your own ego, not paying attention, not seeing the full repercussions," she said.
She eventually reconciled with the company and has been a regular in Mouseketeers reunions and conventions.
Tracey also served as a publicist to avant-garde composer and musician Frank Zappa.
Tracey and the Mouseketeers lasting impact on the children who grew up watching The Mickey Mouse Club is still apparent up to this day. Upon hearing the news of the beloved Mouseketeer's death, fans took to social media to remember the former child star.
Bob Iger, chairman and the chief executive of The Walt Disney Company, sent his condolences on Twitter.
Rest in peace Doreen Tracey....A true original and an original member of the Mouseketeers. Your Disney family will miss you. pic.twitter.com/l3N3bDQ0H0
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) January 12, 2018
— Laura G (@LaurasMiscMovie) January 11, 2018
— AnnetteConnection.com (@AnnetteConnect) January 12, 2018
Tracey is survived by her son, Bradley, and her two grandchildren, Gavin and Autumn.