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2012 Tommy Cole
Mouseketeer Tommy Cole appeared in the entire run of The Mickey Mouse Club, the beginning of a successful show business career as a performer and make-up artist.
As a young teen, Tommy started as a musician, playing the accordion in a western swing band. The band played in amateur contests and small clubs, and appeared on Ray Bolger's mid-1950s television show, Where’s Raymond? Besides playing the accordion, he was also the band’s singer. When the ensemble auditioned together for The Mickey Mouse Club in spring 1955, Tommy was the only one chosen to join the cast of Mouseketeers.
Tommy was initially assigned to the Blue Team. But the directors soon found he was a fast study, cooperative, naturally relaxed on-camera, and more important, was the only male who could match Darlene Gillespie in singing. Starting as rivals, they eventually made some recordings together, though they weren't quite the romantic couple studio publicity suggested. By the time the show debuted on television in October 1955, Tommy had made the Red Team. During the second season he was in Roll Call, which now featured singing and acting as much as dancing. Studio publicity focused on his growing skill as a dancer, and the club magazine even featured an article showing him learning steps from some of the girls. Tommy gained even more exposure in the third season as one of only three males in the opening and closing segments of each day. He also served as host and narrator for some two dozen newsreel specials. He had a bit part in the Annette serial, and took part in the Disneyland fourth anniversary episode. During the Mickey Mouse Club run, Tommy also played a small part in the Disney feature film, Westward Ho, The Wagons!
While acting in an episode of My Three Sons in 1963, Tommy started learning make-up technique from one of the show's regular artists. He soon joined the craft as an apprentice, working first for ABC, then later in the 1960s for NBC. He began freelancing as a make-up artist in the early seventies, gathering Emmy nominations in 1975 for Masquerade Party and 1978 for Once Upon a Brothers Grimm, before winning, along with Mark Bussan and Ron Walters, in 1979 for Backstairs at the White House. Cole has since been nominated for Emmy awards for the miniseries Right to Die (1988), the television series Wings (1996), and most recently for the TV special Gepetto (2000), for which he shared in winning the Hollywood Makeup Artists and Hairstylist Guild Award.
Tommy joined his fellow Mouseketeers for the 1980 reunion show and has subsequently appeared with them at special events and celebrations.