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Doreen Tracey Dies

Original Mouseketeer turned rocker was 74


Back in the 1950s, Doreen Tracey was a member of the club that every kid wanted to join, "the club that's made for you and me": "The Mickey Mouse Club."

Tracey, who died of pneumonia Wednesday at 74, was 12 when she was cast as one of 29 original Mouseketeers on the ABC after-school variety show that debuted in 1955.

Donning Mickey Mouse ears and a short-sleeved white top with her first name emblazoned across the chest, Tracey was among the six Mouseketeers who appeared in all four seasons of the show's first incarnation. The others: Bobby Burgess, Darlene Gillespie, Cubby O'Brien, Karen Pendleton and perhaps the most famous cast member, Annette Funicello, who died in 2013 at 70.

Tracey liked to refer to herself as the "black sheep" of "The Mickey Mouse Club," probably because of the colorful career that followed. She fronted a rock band dubbed Doreen and the Invaders in the 1960s, posed nude for Gallery magazine in 1976 and worked as a publicist for Frank Zappa.

But nothing Tracey ever worked on topped the thrill of her days as a chipper Mouseketeer.

"Walt Disney said to me, 'This will probably be the greatest thing you'll ever do in your entire life,'" she told the Los Angeles Times in 1995. "That was pretty heavy stuff for a 12-year-old. But he was right."