Karen Pendleton, one of the original Mouseketeers on “The Mickey Mouse Club,” passed away Sunday after suffering from a heart attack. She was 73 years old.
Pendleton was one of the nine children who appeared during the show’s entire original run from 1955 to 1959.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the child actress was born on Aug. 1, 1946, in Glendale, California.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) October 7, 2019
Pendleton was recruited to appear on the beloved show after producers visited dance schools around Los Angeles searching for the perfect candidates for “The Mickey Mouse Club.”
After appearing on the show, the young girl left show business. Instead, she finished high school, got married and had a daughter, Staci, in 1973.
Pendleton later divorced in 1981 and two years later was involved in a car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down.
She didn’t let her wheelchair slow her down, however. She went back to school to obtain her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Pendleton also worked at a shelter for abused women.
She later became an advocate for others with disabilities as a board member for the California Association of the Physically Handicapped.
Even though she left Hollywood after appearing on “The Mickey Mouse Club,” she always enjoyed returning for reunion shows and parades at Disneyland.
She also appeared at several fan shows and conventions.
“My mom loved her Mouseketeer family,” her daughter said in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Getting together with [her co-stars] was always a high point.
“It gave her the opportunity to relive great memories and to me 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.”
Pendleton is survived by her daughter and two grandchildren.
Our thoughts and prayers go out for Pendleton’s family and friends as they grieve.
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