FRESNO’S KAREN PENDLETON DIES
The youngest Mouseketeer from the original “Mickey Mouse Club” died in Fresno on Sunday.
The youngest Mouseketeer from the original “Mickey Mouse Club” died in Fresno on Sunday, according to Variety.
Karen Pendleton was 73 when she died from a heart attack, Variety reported.
Appearing in Disney’s black-and-white children’s TV show from 1955 to 1959, Pendleton was known for the long blonde curls that hung down from her Mousekteer hat.
She was born Aug. 1, 1946, in Glendale. Recruiters picked her out at a dance school to audition for the show, Variety reported. She left show business at age 12 before entering public school, she told The Fresno Bee in 2016. Pendleton would go on to study sociology at California State University, Northridge, and became a high school counselor, including time at Hoover High School in Fresno.
Pendleton used a wheelchair after a car accident in 1983 left her paralyzed.
The Mouseketeers remained close for many years. Pendleton talked to The Bee at Tower’s Sequoia Brewing Company during a reunion with club members Johnny Crawford and Sharon Baird.
“It’s like a big family reunion. When we get together, it’s like we have never been apart,” Pendleton said in 2016.
Her daughter, Staci Bletscher, released a statement to Variety.
“My mom loved her Mouseketeer family,” Bletscher said. “Getting together with them 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.”