Bonita (Bonnie) Lynn Fields Elder, a former Mouseketeer, died this week at the age of 68.
The LA Times reports that Fields passed away from throat cancer at a Richmond hospital in Indiana. She has no immediate survivors.
Fields won a coveted spot in The Mickey Mouse Club a the age of 12 in 1957. Fields started as one of the background dancers but eventually became a standout because of her agile dancing.
Lonnie Burr, one of the lead Mouseketeer’s during the early years of the show, said:
“Bonnie had a ballet line through everything she did. She was a lithe ballerina type. And she was light.”
Lorraine Santoli, a former Disney publicist, added:
“She was a very sweet, good person. Dancing was her life.”
After her stint as a Mousketeer, Fields went on to do live shows at Disneyland. She also appeared in the TV serial The New Adventures of Spin and Marty and Broadway productions like Kelly,Half a Sixpence and Bye Bye Birdie.
She returned to the Mickey Mouse Club in the 1980s for a series of reunion shows and took part in the televised 25th reunion show.
Here’s a tribute video to one of the first Mousketeers, Bonita Lynn Fields.
The Mickey Mouse Club began in the 1950s and has been revived several times over the years. Modern musicians like Christina Aguilera, Brittany Spears, JC Chasez and Justin Timberlake all got their start as Mouseketeers.