The Fresno Bee - - Front Page - BY THAD­DEUS MILLER [email protected]­ Thad­deus Miller: 559-441-6015, @thad­deusmiller

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.”

Karen Pendle­ton

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