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Image: Former Mouseketeer Cheryl Holdridge
Getty Images  /  Getty Images file
Cheryl Holdridge of "The Mickey Mouse Club" attends the Hollywood Collectors & Celebrities Show on June 23, 2001 in North Hollywood, Calif.
updated 1/9/2009 10:41:41 AM ET 2009-01-09T15:41:41

Cheryl Holdridge, a popular Mouseketeer on “The Mickey Mouse Club” TV show in the 1950s, has died. She was 64.

Holdridge died Tuesday at her Santa Monica home after a two-year battle with lung cancer, Doreen Tracey, another former Mouseketeer, told the Los Angeles Times.

Born Cheryl Lynn Phelps on June 20, 1944, in New Orleans, Holdridge moved to Los Angeles when she was 2. She became a Mouseketeer in 1956 at the start of the second season of “The Mickey Mouse Club,” which featured 24 young singers and dancers.

“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. “We used to try to keep her quiet when she started singing because she sang off-key.”

Tracey said Holdridge received large amounts of fan mail.

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

Holdridge played Wally Cleaver’s girlfriend for two seasons in “Leave It to Beaver,” and had guest roles on shows such as “Bewitched” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

She left television in 1964 when she married Lance Reventlow, the son of Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton. Reventlow was killed in a plane crash in 1972.

Holdridge married Manning Post, a prominent West Coast Democratic Party fundraiser and adviser, in 1994. He died in 2000.

“She certainly was a very pretty blonde and just had a very winning personality,” said Lorraine Santoli, author of “The Official Mickey Mouse Club Book” and a former Disney publicist.

“Cheryl was the most joyous person, is the best way I can put it,” Santoli said. “She saw the positive side of everything.”

Tommy Cole, another former Mouseketeer, said Holdridge was “one of the prettiest girls on the set,” and he “always considered her Miss Sunshine.”

“She’d walk into the room and this ray of sunshine would happen every time she smiled,” he said.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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