Although Disney is a company whose presence reaches across the globe in the 21st century, there are many people today who have never heard of “The Mickey Mouse Club.”
Debuting in 1955, Disney’s television show ran intermittently through the decades with various iterations and new casts of “Mouseketeers” that would be contextualized to fit that decade’s audience.
While more recent versions of the show featured some of today’s most iconic performers — including Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera — one of the original cast members has stayed out of the public eye for decades until his tragic story emerged from Oregon.
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We’re sad to hear of the death of #DennisDay (1942–2019).⠀ ⠀ The former child star was a member of the first class of #WaltDisney’s #TheMickeyMouseClub in 1955. He was reported missing in 2018, but only just identified. ⠀ ⠀ Our thoughts are with his family.⠀ ⠀ PHOTO: Dennis Day in the first row, lower right.
Dennis Day was one of the original Mouseketeers on “The Mickey Mouse Club,” and was at one point one of the most famous child actors in the United States, according to USA Today.
While he never achieved quite the level of stardom that he had attained in his youth, Day stayed involved in the arts as an adult. Day’s sister Nelda Adkins told USA Today that Day worked for producers of the Renaissance Pleasure Fairs and Dickens Christmas Fairs from the late 1960s into the 1980s.
He also had a side business selling their own wine jellies.
He also left behind his pets, which was highly unusual for Day.
When police were notified two weeks after Day’s disappearance, they searched his rural home and property but found no evidence of Day or his whereabouts.
Two-hundred miles away on the Oregon Coast, two people were found with Day’s car and said that Day had lent it to them.
Jeff Price, a member of the Phoenix, Oregon, police department, told USA Today that the car had been impounded and searched, but there had been no evidence of foul play.
Day’s family and friends didn’t give up hope, however. They created a Facebook group called “Help Us Find Dennis Day,” and talked about his disappearance with local news sources and even on a podcast called “The Vanishing.”
“The way it looks now, unless we find a body, we’re not going to find him,” Adkins said.
Sadly, that is exactly what was found.
On Thursday, April 4th, human remains were found inside Day’s home.
“The Medford Assault and Death Investigation Unit (MADIU) was contacted by the Phoenix Police Department after human remains were discovered at 510 Pine Street in Phoenix, Oregon,” a police statement read.
While Day’s friends and family held their breath, the body was confirmed to be Day’s on June 6. Their Facebook group relayed the police’s findings in a June 7 post.
“On June 6, 2019, the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s office identified the body found in the residence listed in previous release by investigation, evidence, and other information as that of missing person, Dennis Day,” the post read. “Despite their efforts, investigators were unable to utilize dental records or DNA due to the condition of the remains.
“The investigation remains ongoing by the Oregon State Police.”
Despite the lack of evidence of foul play, there are still far more questions than answers at this point.
Day’s family said they wouldn’t be making any comments at this time because the cause of death is still under investigation, according to a Facebook post.
“Our family is truly thankful to the Oregon State Police for helping to bring closure to our family so that we can finally lay Dennis to rest,” Day’s niece Janel Showers wrote. “We love you Brother & Uncle Dennis!”
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