Doreen Tracey, an original Disney Mouseketeer, dies at 74

This undated photo released by Disney, shows Disney Mouseketeer Doreen Tracey. Tracey, a former child star who played one of the original cute-as-a-button Mouseketeers on "The Mickey Mouse Club" in the 1950s, died from pneumonia on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, at a hospital in Thousand Oaks, Calif., following a two-year battle with cancer, according to Disney publicist Howard Green. She was 74. (Disney via AP)
This undated photo released by Disney, shows Disney Mouseketeer Doreen Tracey. Tracey, a former child star who played one of the original cute-as-a-button Mouseketeers on "The Mickey Mouse Club" in the 1950s, died from pneumonia on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, at a hospital in Thousand Oaks, Calif., following a two-year battle with cancer, according to Disney publicist Howard Green. She was 74. (Disney via AP)

NEW YORK — Doreen Tracey, a former child star who played one of the original cute-as-a-button Mouseketeers on "The Mickey Mouse Club" in the 1950s, has died, according to Disney publicist Howard Green. She was 74.

Tracey died from pneumonia Wednesday at a hospital in Thousand Oaks, California, following a two-year battle with cancer.

Tracey maintained ties to Disney and show business throughout her life, appearing in the film "Westward Ho the Wagons!" and touring with the Mouseketeers. She later served as a publicist to musician Frank Zappa and worked at Warner Bros.

It was the pig-tailed Tracey and her talented co-stars — including Annette Funicello — who appeared on television in black hats with ears following the anthem "M-I-C, K-E-Y, M-O-U-S-E ..." on ABC's "The Mickey Mouse Club." Millions of kids raced home from school to watch in wonder as the bouncy Mouseketeers announced themselves at the top of the show.

"The Mickey Mouse Club" was the brainchild of Walt Disney during the flowering of his company's fortunes in the mid-1950s. To help finance the Disneyland park, he agreed to supply ABC with TV shows. One was designed for children in the pre-dinner hour.

The hour-long show proved a sensation with its Oct. 3, 1955, debut. It flourished for two seasons, then was reduced to a half-hour for two more. Tracey stayed for its four-year run.

The black-and-white series was syndicated in 1962-65. The 1990s version of "The Mickey Mouse Club" launched the careers of singers Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, and actors Keri Russell and Ryan Gosling.

Born in London on April 3, 1943, to parents who worked in vaudeville, Tracey arrived in the United States when she was 4 and learned to sing and dance. She nabbed a spot on "The Mickey Mouse Club" when she was 12.

Lorraine Santoli, a former executive at Disney who wrote "The Official Mickey Mouse Club Book," said Tracey remained close to her Disney roots, maintaining long-time friendships with her fellow Mouseketeers.

Tracey strained her relationship with Disney by posing for a men's magazine in 1976 with nothing on except her mouse ears and later wearing nothing but an open trench coat in front of Disney Studios. Still, she often appeared at Mickey Mouse Club reunion shows at Disneyland and at Disney conventions, last celebrating the show's 60th anniversary in 2015.

Tracey is survived by her son, Bradley, and two grandchildren, Gavin, 9, and Autumn, 12.

You may also interested in

Box Office Top 20: 'Sausage Party' scarfs up $34.3 million

Aug 15, 2016

It was a feast for the raunchy animated comedy "Sausage Party" at the box office this weekend

'Wire' actor Wendell Pierce loses Baton Rouge home

Aug 16, 2016

"The Wire" and "Treme" actor Wendell Pierce's home was destroyed by flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 11 years after his childhood home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina

Justin Bieber axes Instagram amid war with Selena Gomez fans

Aug 16, 2016

Justin Bieber has gone nuclear in his war with fans of ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez by deleting his Instagram account

People also read these

Stellan Skarsgard proud of his sons for being 'good humans'

Aug 15, 2016

Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard feels that his sons are talented actors, but it's more important to him that they're "nice people."

Larry Wilmore-hosted 'Nightly Show' axed by Comedy Central

Aug 15, 2016

Comedy Central's "The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore" is coming to an end

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard settle divorce case

Aug 16, 2016

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard say they have settled their contentious divorce on Tuesday and the actress withdrew her allegations that the actor had been physically abusive toward her one day before a restraining order hearing was scheduled to begin

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH