A few of the most successful pop stars, actors, and celebrities of this generation have sprouted from the seed that is The Mickey Mouse Club, an entertainment institution quite a bit before the time of many of our readers.
Once upon a time, the show was a platform that was almost a guaranteed launch pad to stardom, something like the Disney Channel TV shows of the present day. Just as Disney favourites like High School Musical, Hannah Montana and Camp Rock have propelled stars like Zac Efron, Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato to stardom in recent years, many of the old(er) hat musicians like Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Christina Aguilera kickstarted their careers on The Mickey Mouse Club.
All of these celebrities owe a debt of gratitude to the millions of youngsters who watched and loved the show; without it, these twenty stars would almost certainly not have become the successes we know today. Some of these Mouseketeers are well-remembered and documented, but some others are more surprising alumni: These are twenty well-loved celebrities who were once Mouseketeers.
20. Dale Godboldo
Dale Godboldo began his career as a teenage actor on The All-New Mickey Mouse Club, the revival of the original Mickey Mouse Club. He starred in seasons 4 through 7 (1991 to 1996). Since then he’s stayed busy, making his film debut in the 1999 movie Dirt Merchant, and starred in another film, Cold Hearts, as well as three different TV shows that year (ER, Caroline in the City, and Promised Land). Godboldo appeared in the 2002 film The Sum of All Fears and the 2008 thriller Lakeview Terrace, which starred Samuel L. Jackson. He has 10 film credits and 18 TV credits.
19. Jennifer McGill
Jennifer McGill became a Mouseketeer at the young age of 10, and has performed with numerous celebrities – including Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, Boys II Men, Justin Timberlake, and more. She continues to sing all around the world on TV, in concerts, on records, and… In church. McGill is a speaker who focuses on her love for Christ. She has appeared in stage productions of “Into the Woods,” “A Chorus Line,” and “Grease,” and in 2011 she toured with a Michael Jackson tribute group called “The Ultimate Thriller.”
18. Ginny Tyler
Ginny Tyler was a well-loved American voice actress who featured in dozens of animated films and cartoons spanning a 35-year career from 1957 to 1992. Notable appearances include Fred Flintstone and Friends (1977), as The Invisible Woman in The New Fantastic Four (1978), Casper the Friendly Ghost (1979), Bambi, The Sword in the Stone, Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, and as Jan in Space Ghost. Ginny was inducted into the Disney Legends program in 2006 and died at the age of 86 in 2012. Ginny was the head mouseketeer in the 1950s.
17. Nikki DeLoach
Nikki DeLoach is an American actress and singer with 18 film credits and 17 TV credits to her name, including roles in hit shows such as Walker: Texas Ranger, CSI: NY, Days of Our Lives, Cold Case, and NCIS. Before her successful career took off, however, she featured in the 1993 to 1995 seasons of The All-New Mickey Mouse Club, alongside a breakout cast.
DeLoach dated former co-star and *NSYNC member JC Chasez, and has been married to Ryan Goodell – a member from a less-successful boy band called Take 5 – since 2009. In 1998 she became a member of the girl group Innosense, managed by Justin Timberlake’s mother, and opened for Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake on a few occasions. The band called it quits in 2001 and DeLoach began to focus on her acting career. She now appears in MTV’s show Awkward.
16. Matt Morris
Matt Morris is a pop artist and songwriter, and the son of country music star Gary Morris. He was a cast member on The All-New Mickey Mouse Club from 1991 to 1996 and met future collaborators Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. Morris collaborated with Aguilera on her 2002 record “Stripped,” co-writing five songs with her, including the hit “Can’t Hold Us Down.” Another of their collaborations, “Miss Independent,” became a number one hit for American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson.
Morris went on to co-write the song “Another Song (All Over Again)” with Justin Timberlake for Timberlake’s second solo album, FutureSex/LoveSounds. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Most recently, Morris co-wrote the song “Woman’s World,” the first single from Cher’s 2013 album Closer to the Truth.
15. Lonnie Burr – $500,000
Lonnie Burr is an actor, dancer, singer, author, and one of the stars of the original Mickey Mouse Club from 1955 to 1959. The 71-year-old Kentucky native signed a seven-year contract with Walt Disney Studios as one of 24 original Mouseketeers, and he was a member of the show’s first string unit. He was generally acknowledged to be one of the show’s top three dancers.
Burr has 25 film credits, including roles in Hook, Mr. Saturday Night, and Police Academy: Mission to Moscow. He also has over 60 TV credits with roles on The Beverly Hillbillies, Murder She Wrote, L.A. Heat, and many more. He boasts 49 stage roles (many on Broadway), has over 100 radio performances, and even appeared on two game shows.
14. Countess Vaughn – $900,000
Countess Vaughn was one of the members of the revival of the Mickey Mouse Club, but she is perhaps best known for her starring role as Alexandra DeWitt on the NBC sitcom 227, and as Kimberly Ann Parker on the UPN sitcom Moesha (for which she won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for in 1998).
She currently stars as one of the five members on TV One’s reality show, Hollywood Divas. Her 17 TV credits include an 11-episode stint on MADtv, as well as the VH1 reality show Celebrity Fit Club, and the MTV reality show Celebrity Rap Superstar.
13. Johnny Crawford – $1 million
Johnny Crawford rose to fame as a 12-year-old when he played Mark McCain, the son of Lucas McCain, on the popular ABC western series, The Rifleman. The show aired from 1958 to 1963. Before that fame, however, Crawford first performed in front of a national audience as one of the original Mouseketeers. Although he was one of the 24 original Mouseketeers, at the end of the first season the Disney studio reduced the number to 12, and Crawford was released from his contract.
Don’t feel too bad for Mr. Crawford, though: he was nominated for an Emmy Award at the age of 13 for his role in The Rifleman. Crawford was also a sergeant in the US Army from 1965 to 1967. One more interesting factoid: Johnny Crawford became the first man to be shown in full-frontal nudity in Playboy after he starred in the 1973 film The Naked Ape, which was produced by Hugh Hefner.
12. Lisa Whelchel – $3 million
Lisa Whelchel is an American actress, singer, author, and public speaker. She rose to fame as a Mouseketeer on the 1977 revival of The New Mickey Mouse Club. She also had a nine-year role as the wealthy and preppy Blair Warner on American TV show, The Facts of Life.
Besides acting, Whelchel was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Inspirational Performance for her 1984 Christian album, All Because of You. She has been a speaker with the Women of Faith Christian conferences for five years, and in 2012 she was a contestant in Survivor: Philippines, the 25th season of the show. On the show she reached the finale and tied for second place.
11. Rhona Bennett – $4 million
Rhona Bennett, also known as Miss R&B, is an American actress, model, and singer. She garnered attention with The All-New Mickey Mouse Club, and from there she had a recurring role on The Jamie Foxx Show. In 2003 she joined the R&B group En Vogue, which lasted until 2008, and then she started a solo singing career.
She started out by doing voice-overs, and then she moved into professional theater and TV. She has two singles and an album to her name, and she also helps raise funds for a charity for the homeless.
10. Keri Russell – $8 million
Keri Russell rose to fame with her portrayal of Felicity Porter in the TV series Felicity – which had a four year run from 1998 to 2002 – and she currently stars in the FX show The Americans. She’s appeared in several successful films, including Mission: Impossible III (2006), Extraordinary Measures (2010), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), and more. Before all of that, though, Russell earned her spot on The All-New Mickey Mouse Club at the age of 15. She was on the show from 1991 to 1994, and co-starred with future actor Ryan Gosling and future pop stars Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera.
9. Candace Cameron Bure – $10 million
Many people of this generation might not even know who Candace Cameron Bure is, but from 1987 to 1995 she played the role of D.J. Tanner on the very successful TV show Full House. She grew up on the show, from the age of 10 to the age of 18. She also finished third place on the 18th season of Dancing with the Stars in 2014. Though she only starred in a single episode of The All-New Mickey Mouse Club (after her start in Full House), there’s no doubt that it helped her career along. She has 32 film and TV credits, and had roles in shows such as Growing Pains, Boy Meets World, and Make It or Break It.
8. Annette Funicello – $15 million
Although her earnings might not compare to the seven celebrities listed above her, Annette Funicello’s popularity and stardom might outweigh all the others on this list. At the age of 12, Funicello rose to prominence as the most popular Mouseketeer in the original Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950s and became somewhat of a romantic favourite for prepubescent boys.
She successfully transitioned into acting with her “Beach Party” series of movies, and worked as a singer. She was a teen idol after being a Mouseketeer, and received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1993. Sadly, she died from complications of multiple sclerosis in 2013, at the age of 70.
7. Tony Lucca – $16 million
Tony Lucca is a singer, songwriter, and actor. He began his career – of course – on the Mickey Mouse Club, and then he had a brief career as an actor in LA. After his less-than-successful acting stint, Lucca became a full-time musician. He has toured with many popular acts, including Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, Marc Anthony, *NSYNC, and more. He was also the second runner-up on the second season of The Voice. Lucca has had a very successful career as a musician, with 10 studio albums, three live albums, and nine EPs under his belt. Lucca also dated fellow Mouseketeer and successful actress Keri Russell on-and-off for eight years.
6. JC Chasez – $30 million
JC Chasez is one of the handful of people who rose to superstardom after appearing on The Mickey Mouse Club. He may not have been such a big deal on the 1990s revival of the show, but he certainly became one after becoming one of the two lead singers of *NSYNC. After the band split up, Chasez started a solo career and then went on to write and produce music for acts such as the Backstreet Boys and David Archuleta. Although his solo career obviously wasn’t as successful as his stay in *NSYNC, he probably isn’t complaining about the $30 million that he’s worth (most of which probably stems from *NSYNC royalties).
5. Ryan Gosling – $36 million
The superstar heartthrob Ryan Gosling got his first push as a Mouseketeer. He was a child star on the show from 1993 to 1995, and then went on to appear in popular shows such as Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Goosebumps, and Young Hercules. Gosling caught the attention of audiences everywhere with his leading role in the 2004 film The Notebook. He was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006 for his role as a drug-addicted teacher in Half Nelson, and starred in a couple more movies before taking a three-year acting hiatus from 2008 to 2011.
2011, was a landmark year for Gosling as he starred in three huge films – the comedy-drama Crazy, Stupid, Love, the political drama Ides of March, and the action thriller Drive. He also has a band, Dead Man’s Bones, which released their self-titled debut album in 2009.
4. John Stamos – $40 million
John Stamos was only in one episode of the Mickey Mouse Club, in 1989. He’s best known for his role as Jesse Katsopolis on the sitcom Full House and has appeared in numerous TV series since Full House’s finale in 1995, most famously as Dr. Tony Gates in the medical drama ER from 2006 to 2009. Since 1985 Stamos, an accomplished musician, has occasionally performed with The Beach Boys, and as a solo musician. He also stars in the 2014 primetime soap opera, Members Only.
3. Christina Aguilera – $130 million
One of the most successful Mouseketeers of all time is undoubtedly Christina Aguilera. She starred in the all-star revival of The All-New Mickey Mouse Club from 1993 to 1995. Her debut self-titled album came in at number one on the 1999 US Billboard 200 and spawned three US Billboard 100 number-one singles. She earned her second number-one record in the US with her fifth studio album, Back to Basics.
In 2010, Aguilera starred in her first film, Burlesque, alongside Cher. She became one of the original coaches on the series The Voice, in 2011, and has since appeared on four of its six seasons. That same year, Aguilera got her fifth number-one single in the US with her Maroon 5 collaboration “Moves Like Jagger.” Aguilera has four Grammys and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and has sold 50 million albums worldwide.
2. Justin Timberlake – $175 million
Justin Timberlake is one of the most famous and arguably most successful stars of The All-New Mickey Mouse Club. As everyone knows, he rose to prominence as the lead singer and youngest member of *NSYNC. What the other members of the band haven’t been able to do, however, Timberlake has done in spades – namely, have a successful solo career. He is one of the most successful singers of the 21st century, with his single “Rock Your Body” from FutureSex/LoveSounds debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200.
He also has a very successful acting career, starring in the films The Social Network, Bad Teacher, In Time, and Friends with Benefits, among others. Timberlake’s fourth album, The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2, became the best-selling record of the year in 2013. He has nine Grammy Awards and four Emmy Awards.
1. Britney Spears – $130 – 220 million
Depending on who you ask, Britney Spears is worth between $130 and $220 million dollars. She is perhaps the most successful Mouseketeer of all time, and was the sex idol of millions of boys in the 1990s and the inspiration of millions worldwide. Her 1999 album …Baby One More Time was an international success and the best-selling album of all time by a teenage solo artist. That album’s title track, as well as the title track from Oops!… I Did It Again, from 2000, broke international sales records.
As everyone knows, her 2007 personal issues sent her career into a hiatus. The Princess of Pop has been credited with influencing the revival of teen pop in the late 1990s, and she is the best-selling teenage artist of all time. All of that success was, at least in part, thanks to her success in The All-New Mickey Mouse Club from 1993 to 1995.