“The Mickey Mouse Club” first premiered in October 1955 under the leadership of the one and only Walt Disney. The long-lasting variety show served as incubator for more than a few major future stars throughout its run, and during its second iteration in the 1990s, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera all shared airtime as Mousketeers. Here’s a look back at the biggest stars who made appearances on the show.
Funicello joined the Mousketeers in 1955 at the age of 12 after being personally discovered at a ballet performance by none other than Walt Disney. She quickly became one of the show’s most popular performers, receiving 6,000 fan letters a week, along with wristwatches and a few engagement rings. Funicello went on to star in several Disney-produced serials and movies, including “The Shaggy Dog” and “Babes in Toyland,” and then switched gears to costar in a number of popular “Beach Party” movies alongside Frankie Avalon. With minor exceptions, including commercials for Skippy Peanut Butter, Funicello largely retired from acting when she married at 22. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1993 and died from complications of the disease in 2013.
Grady got his start as a Mouseketeer and later scored a starring role on “My Three Sons” from 1960-1971, playing Robbie for more than 300 episodes. He also appeared in “Mr. Novak” and “The Rifleman.”
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