Karen Pendleton was born in Glendale, California in 1946. She was encouraged to audition for the original Mickey Mouse Club when producers saw her taking lessons at a southern Clifornia dance studio. Not only did she pass her audtion, she became one of the 9 core Mousketeers who were with the show from the begnning (1955) to the end (1959). She was almost always paired with Cubby O'Brien, as they were the youngest and smallest Mousketeers.
She left show business after MMC completed production, but was always available for Mousketeer reunions and special events. She married in 1970, had her only daughter in 1973 and was divorced by 1985. Most notably she was involved in a car accident in 1983 that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Nevertheless, following her accident, Karen went back to school obtaining a degree in psychology. She devoted the rest of her life to helping battered women and other accident victims, founding a shelter for abused women and serving on the board of the California Association of the Physically Handicapped.
She suffered a heart attack and passed away on October 4th.