Then: At age 9, Sherry Alberoni (she’s the tiny thing in the bottom right-hand corner of this group photo, next to Cubby) went from being a devoted Mouse Club fan to a second-season addition to the Mouseketeers. “I had the little plastic ears and I sat in front of the TV,” she says. “All kids dreamed, literally dreamed, that we could be Mouseketeers. Every kid in America thought they could because the Mouseketeers were normal.” She won the gig (after which she switched to a stage name, Sherry Allen) with her unusual set of talents — she played the trumpet while tap-dancing. Her adorable lisp also upped her cuteness factor. She had only the smallest bit of modeling and performing experience, which she’d gained at the insistence of her former-vaudeville-performer aunt. “It sounded exciting, like, ‘Wow, Hollywood, I’ve always wanted to see Hollywood,’” Sherry says. “It wasn’t a thing where it was like, ‘If you don’t get this job, you don’t eat tonight.’ My dad brought the bacon home, my mom cooked it. [Auditioning] was just like a plaything, going and getting in costumes. I loved to dance, loved to sing, loved to show off.”
Now: After being cut just before the third season began, Sherry changed her last name back to the original Alberoni and went on to greater fame in other roles. “I left The Mickey Mouse Club on a Friday and went to work for Lou Costello on a Monday morning, so I never had any sense of loss,” she says. “Lou Costello’s little girl, Carole, used to watch The Mickey Mouse Club with her dad, and I was her favorite. He liked my lisp, so he hired me to play his adopted daughter in the last film that him and Bud Abbott made together called Dance With Me, Henry.” She appeared in guest spots on several television shows throughout the ’60s, including My Three Sons, The Monkees, and The Donna Reed Show, before landing a long-running part as Cissy’s friend Sharon James on Family Affair. She’s since lent her lisp to voice work on Josie and the Pussycats, Superfriends, and The Mighty Orbots.
For more on the Mouseketeers’ lives on The Mickey Mouse Club and beyond, check out my book Why? Because We Still Like You.