Former Mouseketeer Darlene Gillespie sued Walt Disney Productions Thursday, alleging Disney took advantage of her youth in 1955 and deprived her of profits when it signed her to perform on the original Mickey Mouse Club television show.
The Superior Court lawsuit seeks unspecified general and punitive damages, 10 percent interest on compensation allegedly due Gillespie since 1955, and copyrights, licenses and "other intellectual property" belonging to her.Disney promised Gillespie "she would become a well known artist," the lawsuit said. However, Gillespie's performing career never blossomed like that of Annette Funicello, the best-known Mouseketeer from the Disney television show, who became a recording and motion picture star.
Rick Clair, one of Disney's lawyers, said Disney has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation. "To my knowledge, this would be the first suit against the company by a former Mouseketeer," he said.