Mickey Mouse has always been the most famous Disney character. Recently, one of the original Disney Mouseketeers, Doreen Tracey, died after a battle with cancer. She was 74 years old.
She passed away on Wednesday after developing a pneumonia, a Disney publicist confirmed.
Tracey, born in London on April 3, 1943, described herself as the "black sheep" of "The Mickey Mouse Show." She died at a hospice in Thousand Oaks, California, after having been diagnosed with cancer two years earlier.
After Tracey arrived in the U.S. at the age of 4, she started learning how to sing and dance at her father’s studio, which he had opened shortly after their arrival in Hollywood.
Doreen started her career at the age of only 12 as one of the child stars in the "Mickey Mouse Club House." This was the first of Mickey Mouse series to be aired and was shown on TV between 1955 and 1959. It was the mastermind of company founder Walt Disney during the most prosperous years for the company in the mid-1950s.
The show was mainly designed to help finance the Disney Park. Walt Disney had agreed to supply ABC with TV shows, which were mostly designed for children to watch before family dinnertime. After the shows debut on October 3, 1955, the show proved to be a sensation and turned in startling profits.
The show ran for years, many of which Tracey was a part of. It was revived in the 1990s and then, "The Mickey Mouse Club House" launched several stars, including musician Justin Timberlake, singer Britney Spears, actor Ryan Gosling, actress Keri Russell and singer Christina Aguilera.
Tracey was famous for a controversy she caused after posing nude, wearing only a pair of Mickey Mouse ears for Gallery magazine, which led to her being banished by Disney officials in 1976.
She was, due to this shoot, forced to leave the show and end her affiliation with Disney. In an interview with The Times, she admitted that she regretted her decision and added: “You get caught up in your own ego, not paying attention, not seeing the full repercussions.”
Tracey, for as long as she could, maintained her ties with the brand name Disney and showbusiness throughout her lifetime. She appeared in the movie, "Westward Ho the Wagons!" and also toured with the Mousketeers. Later in life, she worked with musician Frank Zappa as a publicist and also worked with the Warner Bros. studios for quite a while.
Lorraine Santoli who is a former Disney executive and also wrote "The Official Mickey Mouse Club Book," said that Doreen always remained close to her Disney roots and maintained long-term friendships with her fellow Mouseketeers and peers.
Even so, she still showed her presence at Mickey Mouse Club reunion shows at Disneyland and various other Disney conventions. Her last appearance was at the show’s 60th anniversary in 2015.
Doreen Tracey is survived by her son, Bradley, and he two grandchildren Gavin who is 9, and Autumn who is 12.