Doreen Tracey, an original Disney Mouseketeer

Saturday, 13 Jan, 2018

Disney is mourning the passing of one of the original Mouseketeers from the hit children's variety show The Mickey Mouse Club.

After The Mickey Mouse Club ended, Tracey appeared as a guest star in American TV shows before becoming a publicist for musician Frank Zappa. Photo via YouTubeTracey, who would describe herself as the "black sheep" of the 1950s children's show, died Wednesday while being treated for pneumonia at a hospital in Thousand Oaks, the Los Angeles Times reported. Tracey was cast on the original series at the age of 12 after auditioning with "Cross Over The Bridge" by Patti Page and while she was a cast member, she worked on other Disney productions including "Westword Ho the Wagons" in 1956 and appeared on "The Donna Reed Show".

Howard Green, a publicist for The Walt Disney Company, confirmed the news to the press. It aired intermittently on television from 1955 to 1996. Millions of kids raced home from school to watch in wonder as the bouncy Mouseketeers announced themselves at the top of the show. A rebooted series called Club Mickey Mouse now airs on social media websites. 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. "That was pretty heavy stuff for a 12-year-old". Mickey Mouse, voiced by Disney, made frequent appearances. She kept ties with Disney throughout her life. And while Tracey's career took many different paths, she always remained close to her Disney roots maintaining long-time friendships with her fellow Mouseketeers.

She was also well known for posing nude twice for the men's magazine Gallery in 1976 and again three years later.

She later admitted she regretted her decision. After returning to the United States, she shifted gears to working behind-the-scenes and held positions that included publicist to musician and composer Frank Zappa as well as enjoying a multi-decade career in administration at Warner Bros. In an interview with The Times she said: 'You get caught up in your own ego, not paying attention, not seeing the full repercussions'.

Tracey and the Mouseketeers lasting impact on the children who grew up watching The Mickey Mouse Club is still apparent up to this day.

Survivors include her son, Bradley, and grandchildren Gavin and Autumn.