It’s no secret that some former child stars have a pretty rough time handling the dwindling success that often goes hand-in-hand with aging in Hollywood. But even the stars who manage to cling to their A-list status throughout their lives – like Britney Spears – still face turbulence in Tinseltown. Disney stars are no exception to this scenario, and some of the biggest names in the business today got their start in The Mickey Mouse Club. So, what happened to the original Mouseketeers, or those that appeared on its latest rendition? Hint: things turned out incredibly well for some, but not so well for others…
The Original Cast All Grown Up
The Mickey Mouse Club was a fun-filled variety show that made its debut on ABC in 1955. Cast members included mainly children and young teens, appearing alongside of Disney favorites, like Mickey Mouse. The show originally ran through 1959, alternating some of the cast members over the years. But the club was a long-standing phenomenon, with versions of it airing off and on until 1996.
Jimmie Dodd was the show’s host and “Head Mouseketeer,” and would guide the teens both while the cameras were rolling, and behind the lens. Dodd was beloved by the other Mouseketeers and audience alike, leading children at home to make smart decisions. For children that grew up in the 50’s, The Mickey Mouse Club was a household name and staple.
Keep Calm and Put Your Ears On!
The large mouse ears were made famous on the show after Disney artist Roy Williams brought the idea to producers. Female cast members wore a big pair of plastic Minnie ears, while boys wore Mickey’s. The Mickey Mouse Club consisted of different comedic sketches that usually had underlying messages of using good morals. Of course, cast members delivered these messages using fun songs and silly voices, and children all across America tuned in.
The show consisted of what was essentially an A team and a B team, which staffers referred to as the red and blue teams, respectively. Cast members who were involved in most of the episodes made the red team, and ended up with the most air time, while blue-teamers were mostly on standby in case they needed extra team members for the show. The original Mouseketeer red team was made up of 9 children, including Sharon Baird, Tommy Cole and Annette Funicello.
Annette’s Debut on the Show
Annette Funicello was scouted out by none other than Walt Disney, himself. Walt found Annette when he watched her performance as the Swan Queen in a recital of Swan Lake, at a bowling alley in California. At 12 years old, she quickly began her rise to fame, racking up over 5,000 fan mail letters every month – more than any of the other cast members. In fact, Funicello can be described as the single most famous of Walt Disney’s Mouseketeers. Over the span of her 7-year contract with Disney, she appeared on several of the show’s episodes, along with some of her own specials.
Along with specials like her stint on Walt Disney Presents: Annette Funicello, she made her way into some other shows during her years with Disney, such as Zorro. Disney loved working with Annette so much that he cast her as Mary Contrary in his 1961 musical film, Babes in Toyland. A few years into her contract, she found herself in the ranks of teen idols, and became one of the most famous actresses of her generation. Unfortunately, Annette Funicello’s life would take a turn for the worse…
Annette’s Fatal Diagnosis
In 1987, Funicello starred in the last of her 7-film Beach Party series with costar Frankie Avalon. The final film was dubbed Back to the Beach. But when she and Avalon reunited for the film’s promotion, she seemed to be suffering from some type of illness. In fact, some people initially attributed the strange signs to alcoholism, but it turned out to be something much worse. In 1992, she ended up going public with the news that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
In the spring of 2013, the beloved Disney star lost her life to the disease. But fans weren’t willing to let her go so easily. Aside from Annette leaving her own legacy, in the form of the Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Disorders, she also has a restaurant named for her in Disneyland Paris and will forever reign as a Legend of Disney.
The Life of Bobby Burgess
Burgess was another one of the original red team Mouseketeers that was handpicked by Walt Disney. While he was enjoying his newfound success, he wound up making appearances on other shows, such as The Lawrence Welk Show, and The Donna Reed Show. But after his contract with Disney was over, he decided to pursue his degree from Long Beach State University, where he pledged Sigma Pi and began dancing with his longtime friend, Barbara Boylan.
Today, Burgess lives in the Hollywood Hills with his wife of many years, Kristie Floren, with whom he had four children. The couple actually got introduced while working together on Lawrence Welk and hit it off right away. Burgess still loves to dance, and does so while teaching at his own studio, or touring with partner Elaine Balden.
Lonnie Burr’s Rise of Fame
Lonnie Burr was a member of the original cast of The Mickey Mouse Club. But being on the show wasn’t Burr’s first experience with life in the entertainment industry. In fact, he grew up in it, with Vaudeville star parents, “Dot and Dash,” showing him the ropes. When he was just five years old, he got his first paid job in the business.
He slowly but surely began to rack up more and more experience on all sorts of radio and television shows. His smooth dance moves combined with his husky voice earned him the nickname of “Velvet Smog,” and also played a hand in him dating costar Annette Funicello. After his teenage years, he went back to school and earned a master’s degree from UCLA.
What Lonnie Burr is Up to Now
After Burr pursued his degree in Theatre Arts, he returned to his career in the entertainment industry. He continued to act throughout his adult life, appearing on an array of television shows and in some films. Burr appeared in Newsies in 1992 and Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, in 1994. He also played a guest role in an episode of Murder She Wrote. Over his years in acting, Burr appeared in more the 25 movies alone.
Aside from his roles in film and television, he also maintained a pretty stable career on Broadway. When Lonnie wasn’t on the stage or on set, he was spending his time writing. He published a few fairly successful books, along with writing multiple articles for different publications, like The LA Times.
The Launch of Johnny Crawford’s Career
Johnny Crawford’s time on The Mickey Mouse Club was fairly short lived, as he remained on the show only throughout its first season. But even after he broke away from The Mouseketeers, he continued his acting career. In fact, Crawford found himself nominated for an Emmy at 13 years old for his role as Mark McCain in The Rifleman. Over his two and a half years as a freelancer in TV, he made more than 60 appearances on various shows.
Some of the credits Crawford racked up include the starring role in Little Boy Lost, and a guest role in the hit series, The Lone Ranger. Crawford also made an appearance on The Donna Reed Show, like his fellow Mouseketeer, Bobby Burgess. Crawford enlisted in the Army for a couple of years, and later ended up playing a soldier on Hawaii-Five-O, in 1968.
Johnny Crawford Today
Johnny Crawford quickly found himself on posters on the walls of every teenage girl in America, during his years of fame. During his years as a freelance TV star, he appeared in more than 60 shows and movies. He, like many other children in Hollywood, grew up in a family of entertainers. When his roles on set started to dwindle down, he started to perform more on stage at nightclubs, mainly around New York and Los Angeles.
In 1970, Crawford starred in a live-action short film called The Resurrection of Broncho Billy, that was directed by film student James Rokos at the University of Southern California. In 1990, he launched his own orchestra in LA that he dubbed Johnny Crawford’s Orchestra. The orchestra has been wildly successful, earning a bid for 15 Art Directors and Guild Awards shows in a row. But Crawford would soon leave behind his golden boy image and pursue some more…mature ventures.
Johnny Crawford: Playboy Model
Johnny shocked his fan base in the 70’s when he took it all off and did a nude photoshoot for Playboy Magazine. Keep in mind, doing that sort of thing wasn’t nearly as common in that era as it is today, so it was a pretty risqué move on his part. Unfortunately, the feedback he got for the shoot wasn’t exactly the kind-hearted support he was hoping for. Quotes about the small size of his…member…began to fly around.
But Johnny didn’t take the criticism to heart. In fact, he bared it all once again for his work in the 1973 film, The Naked Ape. The film, despite masquerading as an educational film about human evolution, was pretty shocking for its time. It was after all, produced by Hugh Hefner. All of this nudity and sexuality must have been a lot for his Disney fans and costars to take in!
Darlene Gillepsie’s Teen Stardom
Darlene Gillepsie quickly rose to fame during her young years as an actress. She appeared on numerous shows, aside from all four years of the original Mickey Mouse Club, including the spinoff, which Disney dubbed Corky and the White Shadow. She even played the title character in their live action production of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. Darlene was a fan favorite Mouseketeer, second only to Annette Funicello.
Unfortunately, Gillepsie never quite found herself rising through the ranks to that which costar Annette Funicello reached, and instead decided to move away from acting into a career in music. She gave herself the stage name “Darlene Valentine,” and recorded a few albums, including 1950’s rock album, Darlene of the Teens. But as she started to fizzle away in the world of entertainment, she found herself treading some very troubled waters.
Disney’s Original Bad Girl
In 1990, Gillepsie launched a lawsuit against Disney, in which she attacked the entertainment giant for “promising her super stardom,” which never quite happened for her. She also claimed that she wasn’t being paid her fair share for reruns being played of the show. The case wound up being settled outside of the courtroom. But things were just starting to heat up for Gillepsie, who met and fell in love with a man named Jerry Fraschilla.
Things were going wonderfully for the love birds, and they decided to tie the knot. Unfortunately, the pair would find themselves traveling down a dark path, and eventually…the marriage, and the rest of the child stars life, would fall apart. In 1998, Gillepsie was tried for petty theft for assisting her ex in shoplifting some clothing. At 56 years old, she received a few days in jail along with three years of probation for the crime.
Darlene’s Criminal Record
Jerry Fraschilla took Darlene Gillepsie’s hand in marriage – and walked her down a path of criminal activity and eventually jail time. He talked her into participating in all types of criminal schemes, like check fraud. You would think that her celebrity status may have helped her out, but it only made things were for her. In 1998, she and Jerry were arrested on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and securities and mail fraud. Gillepsie faced a judge in a federal courtroom and wound up being sentenced to a couple of years behind bars.
Luckily for her, she was released just three months into her 2-year sentence. Years later, she found herself tangled up in another mess including Fraschilla and claims of fraud, but the charges against her were dropped. After her short time in prison, she devoted her energy to spending more time with her family, especially her twin grandchildren.
Sharon Baird: Mouseketeer Sweetheart
Sharon Baird began performing when she was just 3 years old, when she began taking her first dance lessons. She won the title of “Little Miss Washington,” in her hometown at age five, before her parents decided it was time to move out to Los Angeles. When she got to Tinsel Town, she quickly got an agent and started doing some television work, making appearances on shows like The Colgate Comedy Hour. She snagged her first role in film in 1950, when she hit the screen on Bloodhounds of Broadway. In 1955, Baird was slotted to fill one of roles as an original Mouseketeer on The Mickey Mouse Club.
Sharon went on to work on the show for the first three consecutive seasons and was beloved for her unique talents in tap dancing, among many other things. Since it’s pretty hard for the young actors to go to school and act on the show simultaneously, she held off until her contract was up. When filming wrapped, she earned her high school diploma and went on to earn a university degree in math and secretarial science.
Where is Sharon Baird Today?
Even after obtaining her mathematics degree from Los Angeles Valley College, Baird’s heart was still in acting and entertaining. In the 70’s, she voiced several puppet characters in different children’s shows, and in 1984, she played a role in the live comedy show, Gallagher: Over Your Head. Alongside of her love for acting, she found love elsewhere – in vocalist Dalton Lee.
Baird played several roles, both on stage and television, throughout her adult years. But in the 90’s, the gaps between her appearances grew larger and larger until eventually, she basically retired entirely from television. Today she enjoys semi-retirement from her home in Reno, Nevada.
Sharon Baird Stars as Ratboy
In what is arguably the strangest role that Sharon Baird has ever really played, she portrayed the title character, a young rat-like boy, in the 1986 film “Ratboy.” But not just anyone would know that is was Sharon behind this odd little fellow on screen. When the credits rolled, hers simply appeared with the name: S.L Baird. Unfortunately, no one in America really understood the film, especially critics, who essentially gave it a big thumbs down. Critics over in Europe spun a different tale, however, and actually seemed to like it.
Ratboy tells the sad story of a young rat-like kid who lives behind a dumpster, hiding out of shame for being different. The underlying moral behind the narrative is that society has a tendency to be very shallow, when it comes to appearances, and ostracizes those that don’t fit the script of what is deemed to be “normal.” Baird lives happily in semi-retirement, in Nevada, and occasionally makes appearances with her fellow Mouseketeers.
Enter Doreen Tracey
Doreen Tracey spent the first few years of her life living in her hometown of London, with her Vaudeville star mom and dad. But at age 4, her family moved to Hollywood, where her parents opened their own dance studio. Doreen loved to sing and dance at mom and dad’s studio, and eventually, she followed in their footsteps and started booking professional gigs of her own. When she was twelve, she was hired into The Mickey Mouse Club.
After her three consecutive seasons on the show, she continued her career in acting. Like many of her fellow Musketeers, she appeared on The Donna Reed Show. Tracey put a smile on the faces of many men and women overseas when she went on an international tour to perform for the troops. But this kind-hearted patriotic sweetheart would soon find herself making some pretty shocking career moves…
Tracey Gets Racy
In 1976, Tracey gave her Disney fans quite a shock when she bared it all for the cameras of Gallery, an adult men’s magazine – twice – yes, twice that year. But it wasn’t just the fact that she appeared in the magazine that made her fans drop their jaws. It was that she posed nude wearing her Mickey ears that shocked them the most. In fact, Disney actually banned her from the rest of the Mouseketeer reunions – and all other “official” Disney events – for the next several years afterwards.
But posing in Gallery triggered something in Tracey, something that seemed to set her free – all of her, apparently. Not too long after the shoot, she snagged the role of lead vocalist in a rock band that she dubbed, Doreen and the Invaders. A few years, after she ended her singing career, she took on the role of Frank Zappa’s publicist and started bodybuilding on the side.
Red Teamer Tommy Cole
Tommy Cole knew from a young age that he was interested in the performing arts. His parents, an editor and child caretaker, weren’t so sure about the path he’d chosen. But in 1956, Cole signed on to the red team of The Mickey Mouse Club, and there was no denying that he’d found a piece of success. Cole initially made it into the front lines of the club due to his incredible talent for singing. In fact, he’d been singing in a country western band before his time as a Mouseketeer.
After working on the show for its final two years, he made appearances on a variety of others, such as an episode of Leave It to Beaver in 1959. He also made a few appearances at Mouseketeer reunions throughout the years.
Tommy Cole: Life After the Mouseketeers
Aside from his television appearances, Cole continued to make his mark in the entertainment world through other mediums as well, like through his current venture – makeup artistry. Cole had done a bit of soul searching after his semi-retirement from the set. He went to school, both at the Hollywood Professional School and Pasadena City College and spent awhile in the United States Air Force. But through it all, he came back around to find his passions really lie in makeup.
After working as an apprentice for a couple of different networks, his work started to speak for itself, earning him several Emmy nominations, including those for the work he did in Wings and Masquerade Party. In 1979, he and the two other makeup artists on his team won the Emmy for their work in Backstairs at the White House.
Cubby O’Brien’s Debut as a Mouseketeer
Cubby O’Brien is perhaps most well-known for being one of the first Mouseketeers, appearing on the show for all three of its original seasons. His father, “Hack” O’Brien, had shown him the ropes of the entertainment world through his own work as a drummer in several big band groups. Like costar Annette Funicello, Cubby was chosen by Walt Disney as a member of The Mickey Mouse Club.
Unlike Funicello, Walt didn’t witness Cubby’s performance first-hand, but was intrigued when he got a phone call from one of his staff members, who told him that they’d seen Cubby on stage at a charity event and thought he’d make a great fit for the cast. He was signed on to the red team when he was just 8 years old.
Cubby O’Brien After the Mickey Mouse Club
When the show had finished filming its third season, Cubby continued to tour with his fellow Mouseketeers for several live appearances. He also made the decision to continue his work as a drummer, which he’d been doing since a young age, and follow in his dad’s footsteps. Cubby was the man behind the drums in 6 Academy Award shows over the years. He made several appearances on The Carol Burnett Show, and toured Nevada with Spike Jones’ band.
Later, he devoted his time to Broadway, working up to 8 shows per week for just a couple years short of a decade, including the hit show “Annie Get Your Gun.” To this day, Cubby still dabbles in Mouseketeer appearances, but is mainly focusing on his drumming.
Little Karen Pendleton was one of nine of the original Mouseketeers that stayed throughout the entirety of the show’s first run, from 55’-59’. Being that she and Cubby were both adorable and close in age, the two were often paired together for skits. After filming for The Mickey Mouse Club wrapped up, Karen went back to school and decided to pursue a life outside of the entertainment industry. Pendleton settled down and was married in 1970 and three years later, gave birth to her daughter. In 1985, she and her husband of fifteen years ended up getting a divorce.
But two years before the divorce, something else happened that would forever change the course of Karen’s life. She was in a terrible accident that left her paralyzed from her waist down, but she didn’t let the tragedy get the best of her. Pendleton went back to school and obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology. She then got involved with some shelters for battered women and advocated for the disabled in California.
60 Years Later
2015 marked a whopping sixty years since the original Mouseketeers first performed for the world, and Disney was not about to let the occasion pass without properly recognizing it. They reached out to all of the living cast members and put together a reunion. And when they were reunited, what were they to do but perform a song?
Aside from the performance, Disney pulled out all of the possible stops for the once in a lifetime occasion. When cameras were rolling, cast members discussed their time on the show and reminisced over some of the most infamous props used on set. Fans were treated to a truly spectacular gathering that marks the end of an era in entertainment.
The Return of the Mouseketeers
In January of 1977, The Mickey Mouse Club was brought back to life and appeared to have an entirely fresh perspective to present to the world. The new cast members were much more diverse, and in keeping with the times, disco was incorporated into the theme song. Aside from the audio and cast updates, the visuals on the sets were also much more vibrant, filled with bright colors, much unlike the original show’s monochrome artwork.
Unfortunately, the reboot was short-lived and ran for less than a year before its cancellation. Many of the over 30 stations that originally aired the show continued to play the reruns for a couple years following its discontinuation.
New Decade, Fresh Faces
In 1989, The Mickey Mouse Club was once again rebooted with a brand-new cast. Producers wanted to tailor the show to suit the tastes of teens of the era, so they made it into a 90’s-themed compilation of future mega-stars like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. In fact, the show was even given an updated title: The All-New Mickey Mouse Club.
Cast members no longer wore the iconic mouse ears, but instead graced the stage in letterman jackets and other popular 90’s apparel. This time, the remake lasted a lot longer, remaining on the air until 1995. The show may have been discontinued again, but not before launching several of the cast members into super stardom. Who is your favorite star to emerge from The Mickey Mouse Club?
Ryan Gosling was another adorable face in this lineup of young all-stars. Compared to others on the show, however, Gosling didn’t seem to appear in quite so many of the sketches. But he didn’t let this get to him, as he knew that he was in the midst of some other seriously gifted kids.
He was quoted at one point saying that after hearing Britney and Christina perform for the first time, he then knew they were “freakishly” talented. But just because young Ryan wasn’t entirely ready for the big leagues like some of his costars, his time on the show still helped him get to where he is today – one of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Ryan Gosling Today
Gosling used The Mickey Mouse Club as a stepping stone on his way to success in the entertainment industry, much like some of the other biggest stars to come away from the show. When his time as a Mouseketeer was over, he kept on going to bigger and better things. First, he appeared in Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark? In keeping with the creepy theme, he also made an appearance on Goosebumps.
He then made his way onto the silver screen, acting in major films like The Notebook. Other motion pictures Gosling has starred in include 2011’s Drive and La La Land in 2016. His performance in La La Land earned him a Golden Globe for best acting in a musical or comedy. Gosling has snagged himself 5 Golden Globes and several other awards throughout the years.
Justin Timberlake Arrives on the Scene
There is no denying that Justin Timberlake is crazy successful in more than one realm of entertainment. But the truth is, teenage girls have been swooning over him ever since he first appeared on The Mickey Mouse Club in 1993. Multiple female members of the cast would later admit to having a crush on him.
He was the “Golden Boy,” of the club at the time, known for his pitch-perfect singing voice and curly blonde locks. But Timberlake and fellow blondie Ryan Gosling were fast friends, not competitors, and are in fact still good friends today. Being a Mouseketeer was only the beginning of a truly spectacular, star-studded life for Justin Timberlake.
2019’s Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake saw success so large at such an early age that most people couldn’t even dream of attaining. When he was a teenager, he became the lead singer of NSync, one of the most popular boy bands in history. Timberlake was such a hit that he branched out from the band and begun an amazing solo career, one that would take him all the way to the top. Some of his songs, like 2002’s Cry Me a River topped charts and remained there, undefeated, for a long time.
Not only did his music top the charts, but it also earned him several incredible awards, including a Grammy in 2004 for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. But Justin is a man of many talents, and that includes acting. His film career has led him to star in such movies as In Time and The Social Network. His acting has snagged him multiple awards right alongside of his music and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon!
Young Britney Spears
When Britney Spears first hit the set of The Mickey Mouse Club, no one could have possibly expected that they were witnessing the rise of one of the biggest mega-stars of all time. Although costar Christina Aguilera clearly has her beat in the vocals department, Britney has something going for her that no one else can top – she’s an incredible performance artist.
Young Britney once admitted to having a crush on fellow Mouseketeer Justin Timberlake, when they were working together then, which turns out to have been some serious foreshadowing! After all, Justin and Britney would later become one of the world’s most famous celebri-couples. Britney used The Mickey Mouse Club as a launching pad straight to the top of the A-list and grew up to become one of the biggest names in pop music history.
Britney Spears Today
It’s undeniable for anyone that hasn’t been living under a rock for the past few decades that Britney Spears is one of the biggest names in pop – ever. The teen queen topped charts year after year in a row, releasing better songs each and every time. From her beloved, “Hit Me Baby, One More Time,” through her more recent hits, she’s sold over 70 million albums in total. But like many stars who get their foot in the door at a young age, Britney had to navigate her fair share of troubled waters.
From her first meltdown, which some may say happened when she decided to marry backup dancer “K-Fed,” to the second more noticeable one, where she shaved all of her head and smashed a car window with an umbrella, she’s had her issues. But after giving birth to two sons and divorcing the dancer, things started to look up for the superstar. She got herself a sweet deal performing regularly at Planet Hollywood, on the Las Vegas strip. Unfortunately, her father recently fell ill, which sent Britney into a mental-health crisis, for which she checked herself into a psychiatric facility in April of 2019.
Little Christina Aguilera
When Christina Aguilera turned up on the set of The Mickey Mouse Club in 1993, she made some serious waves with both the audience and her costars. Her outstanding vocal chords earned her the title of the “little girl” with the “big voice.” Of course, she still had to completely grow into that voice a bit, but even as a kid it was clear that she was going to become a phenomenon in the music world.
Representatives for the show scouted Christina when she was performing on Star Search, ended up signing her for three years. But this little girl was still destined to do some huge things…
Christina Aguilera Today
Christina Aguilera’s powerhouse vocals caught everyone’s attention early on, but when she hit a nearly impossible note while performing a song in Disney’s Mulan, she really took her career to the next level. These days you will see a lot of Christina sitting in one of the judge’s seats on NBC’s hit show The Voice. The six-time Grammy winning singer is still putting out music and touring the world, her latest rounds being for her new album Liberation.
Aguilera also just signed a deal with Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, where she will begin her own residency show on May 31st, 2019. No word yet on if Christina will be teaming up with former castmate, Britney Spears, for a collaboration.
Hello, JC Chasez
Die-hard NSync fans will surely recognize JC Chasez, but since Justin Timberlake basically stole the show, he probably didn’t get all of the attention he fully deserved. After all, JC is a very talented performer in his own right. He grew up in Maryland as Joshua Scott Chasez with his adoptive parents, who had also actually been fosters at one point to his biological mom.
He got his start in the business with The Mickey Mouse Club, auditioning after his adoptive mother saw an ad in the newspaper in their hometown of Maryland, and urged him to give it a shot. After he auditioned with his rendition of Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx, producers knew he’d be a great fit and they cast him right away.
JC Chasez Today
JC Chasez was launched into fame and fortune with the success of the huge turn of the century boy band – NSync. But after years of enjoying tours, performances and awards with his band, Justin Timberlake decided to focus his efforts on a solo career, and NSync was put on the backburner. JC didn’t let the fall of NSync deter him from pursuing his own career in music, and he went on to write and produce music for a ton of hit artists, including David Archuleta and Girls Aloud.
He also kept up with TV appearances by filling one of the judge’s seats on America’s Best Dance Crew. Recently, JC got back together for a Justin Timberlake-less NSync performance, alongside Ariana Grande at Coachella in 2019. At the end of the performance, Chasez turned to the crowd to thank them for the opportunity.
A Young Keri Russell
Keri Russell made her television debut on The Mickey Mouse Club in 1991, beginning what would be a long and successful career in the industry. There was no question that Russell had some serious skills in the acting department, something that was very apparent while watching her variety skits, in which she appeared with costars such as Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. While Russell was signed to a 3-year contract as a Mouseketeer, it was non-exclusive, which left her free to pursue other roles.
She was one busy teenager, appearing in 1993 in the mega-popular Honey I Blew Up the Kids, and the following year in a smaller role on ABC’s hit show Boy Meets World. But these three years would serve only as a stepping stone for Russell’s career, which was about to skyrocket.
Keri Russell Today
In 1998, Keri landed the starring role on the WB’s Felicity. This role would allow her to move away from the more childlike roles and help her grow into her own as a serious actress. In fact, in 1999 her performance on the show earned her a Golden Globe. Unfortunately, the second season didn’t fair quite so well, which some speculated had something to do with Keri chopping off her long, curly locks, and the show was eventually cancelled in 2002. But she didn’t let the show’s cancellation stop her, and she started putting more effort into landing roles in film – which she did.
Russell has graced the screen in several major motion pictures, including Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Mission Impossible III. Russell also snagged a starring role in the FX show The Americans, for which she’s been up for several Emmy’s and Golden Globes.
Tony Lucca’s First Role
Tony Lucca grew up performing in his hometown in Michigan. By age 3, he was already singing and dancing and at 9, began a career in modeling. His mother, one of twelve children in a huge family, was very supportive and encouraged him to attend his auditions – including the one that ended up being his launchpad.
At 14, Lucca thought he was on his way to try out for a role in a Disney production of Newsies. As it turns out, the role he was actually auditioning for was the one that he ended up getting as a Mouseketeer. Lucca stuck around as a member of The Mickey Mouse Club for 4 years.
Tony Lucca Today
Although Tony Lucca hasn’t exactly hit the superstar status that many of his fellow former Mouseketeers have attained, he’s still done quite well for himself in the entertainment industry. After the show was cancelled, he moved to Los Angeles to see what roles he could find as an actor. He and his girlfriend at the time, former castmate Keri Russell, found themselves costarring as the leads in Aaron Spelling’s Malibu Shores.
Lucca appeared in a few films, including Her Last Chance, one of NBC’s films of the week. He then decided to pursue his passions in music and recorded and released over five of his own albums. In 2012, he appeared on the hugely-popular singing contest show The Voice, where he scored in third place. Today, Lucca mainly concentrates on spending time with his family, with whom he lives in Nashville, Tennessee.