Obit: Cheryl Holdridge

OBITUARY

Cheryl Holdridge dies at 64; former Mouseketeer

 

 Cheryl Holdridge

 

After “The Mickey Mouse Club,” the actress played Julie Foster on “Leave it to Beaver” and appeared on “The Rifleman,” “Bachelor Father,” “My Three Sons,” “Bewitched” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

 

By Dennis McLellan
Los Angeles Times
January 8, 2009

 

Cheryl Holdridge, the beautiful blond actress who first gained fame as a Mouseketeer on TV’s “The Mickey Mouse Club” in the 1950s, has died. She was 64.    (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)

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Holdridge died Tuesday at her home in Santa Monica after a two-year battle with lung cancer, said Doreen Tracey, a former Mouseketeer.

 

“What’s amazing is that Cheryl and I have gone through so many things together, I’m glad I could have been there in the end too,” Tracey said.

 

Holdridge was 11 in the spring of 1956 when she auditioned and was hired for “The Mickey Mouse Club,” which had debuted Oct. 3, 1955, with 24 talented youngsters who sang and danced and yet came across as the kids next door.

 

Holdridge joined the Mouseketeers in the second season of the show, which ran until 1959.

 

She quickly became part of the core group that appeared on the famous Mouseketeer roll call at the start of each show, along with Tracey, Annette Funicello, Tommy Cole, Cubby O’Brien, Sharon Baird, Bobby Burgess, Karen Pendleton, Lonnie Burr and Darlene Gillespie.

 

“She was a good technical dancer, but I think she was picked mostly because she had this angelic look and a great smile. She’s known for her smile,” Tracey said. With a laugh, she added: “We used to try to keep her quiet when she started singing because she sang off-key.”

 

The other reason Holdridge was included in the core group was that “her fan mail was quite high, and they need those ratings,” Tracey said. “We were trying to win over the American public, which we did.”

 

“Annette had the highest rating, but Cheryl came pretty close,” she said.

 

During her Mouseketeer days, Holdridge appeared in several of the show’s episodic serials, including “Boys of the Western Sea” and the “Annette” series.

 

Unlike some of the other Mouseketeers, Holdridge didn’t have trouble finding work as a young actress after hanging up her Mouse ears.

 

She went on to play Wally Cleaver’s girlfriend, Julie Foster, for two seasons on “Leave it to Beaver.” And she had guest roles on shows such as “The Rifleman,” “Bachelor Father,” “My Three Sons,” “Bewitched” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

 

“Our reputations as Disney players opened doors,” Holdridge told the Chicago Tribune in 2001 during a Mouseketeer autograph session at a Disney memorabilia show in Bloomingdale, Ill., that drew a crowd of more than 1,000.

 

“Directors knew we understood how to move on camera, how to hit our marks and say lines. Doreen and I went up for many of the same parts. We both did ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ and ‘Bachelor Father,’ and I made the pilot for ‘Archie.’ I played Betty, but we never went into production.”

 

Holdridge left the business in 1964 when she married Lance Reventlow, the son of Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, “because that’s what you did then. You married and stayed home.”

 

Reventlow died in a plane crash in 1972.

 

In 1994, Holdridge married Manning Post, a prominent West Coast Democratic Party fund-raiser and advisor, who died in 2000.

 

dennis.mclellan@latimes.com

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