It is with sad hearts, we have to report that original Mouseketeer on The Mickey Mouse Club, Karen Pendleton has passed away at the age of 73.
Pendleton starred on the ABC television show from 1955-1958. She was one of only nine Mouseketeers who were on the show during its entire original run. Karen toured Australia in 1959 and 1960 with a number of other Mouseketeers and Jimmie Dodd. She was often coupled with Carl “Cubby” O’Brien in the television series and in live performances as they were the youngest members of the cast. She also starred in the Walt Disney classic western, Westward Ho, the Wagons!
After the show’s run, she left show business and finished school. She got married in 1970, had a daughter in 1973, but divorced in 1985. Following an automobile accident in 1983, in which she was paralyzed from the waist down, she returned to college and earned a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. She worked at a shelter for battered women and served on the Board for the California Association of the Physically Handicapped.
Pendleton also co-starred in many Mickey Mouse Club reunion shows and parades at Disneyland and at fan shows and conventions.
“My mom loved her Mouseketeer family,” her daughter, Staci, said in a statement. “Getting together with [her co-stars] was always a high point. It gave her the opportunity to relive great memories and to meet so many Mickey Mouse Club fans that watched the show as kids and loved her. Many told her that they named their daughters Karen in her honor.”
Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family of Karen Pendleton.