Bonita-Fields-Obituary

Bonita Lynn Fields

Obituary

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Former Mouseketeer Bonita Lynn Fields Elder, an agile dancer who showcased those skills on the 1950s children's show "The Mickey Mouse Club" and later performed on Broadway, has died in Indiana at age 68.

Her cousin Robbin Myers said Tuesday that Fields died Saturday at a Richmond hospital following a two-year battle with throat cancer. Fields had smoked for decades but quit after her diagnosis, Myers said.

Fields had been living in Winchester after moving back to eastern Indiana a few years ago to care for her ailing, now-deceased mother.

She was 12 in 1957, when her dancing abilities helped her win a slot on the third season of "The Mickey Mouse Club." She auditioned in California, where her family had moved from Indiana when she was 9.

Fields always went by the name Lynn, but she adopted the stage name "Bonnie" - a shortened version of her real first name - at the suggestion of the show's producers because there was already a cast member, a boy, with the first name Lynn, her cousin said.

Myers, who now lives in DeBary, Fla., said she and Fields were a year apart and grew up together in Richmond until Fields' family moved to Granada, Calif. It was exciting when Fields was cast in the nationally broadcast show only a few years later, she said.

After the original "Mickey Mouse Club" show ended, Fields continued performing at California's Disneyland. Myers said that as teenagers, she and her sister Diana visited Fields at Disneyland. They were chatting with her after one show when they heard someone behind them calling out "Bonnie!" "We turned around, and it was Walt Disney, so we got to meet Mr. Disney!" she said.

According to Fields' obituary posted online by Doan & Mills Funeral Home in Richmond, she landed bit parts in several 1960s movies, including "Kissin' Cousins" with Elvis Presley and "Bye Bye Birdie" with Ann-Margret. She later appeared as a dancer on television shows and on Broadway before opening a dance studio in Santa Monica, Calif.

According to the website of The Original Mickey Mouse Club Show, Fields appeared in 1980 on a televised program marking the 25th anniversary of "The Mickey Mouse Club." From 1981 to 1985, she took part in live Mouseketeer reunion shows at Disneyland.

Fields was born in Walterboro, S.C., but her family moved to Richmond when she was 3 months old. She was divorced and had no children, her cousin said.

A visitation and memorial service is scheduled for Monday at Doan & Mills Funeral Home, followed by burial at Webster Cemetery.

RICK CALLAHAN
Associated Press

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Guest Book

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Bonnie
The best dancer of the Mouseketeers and now Annette has followed her, they can tap together in heaven. Two truly great and loving people. Mad God Bless them

I remember Bonie on the MMC. I loved the show and her smile birghtened my screen. May God grant her peace in Heaven. I send my prayers to her family.
NLB

What fun I had working with Bonnie on the live Mouseketeer shows at Disneyland. An incredible dancer and genuinely good person. I know she's already tapping up a storm in heaven.

"Mouseketeer" Bonnie Lynn Fields

With appreciation for decades of dancing and song... and for mentoring several generations of dancers. Our prayers go out to her family and friends.

Yesterday I attended the memorial service in Richmond, Ind. It was a small, intimate gathering to honor a talented, spirited dancer who went on to make several movies and run her own dance studio. One of her students, Emily Tillman, studied under Lynn and opened her own studio -- she came all the way from California to honor her mentor. I wore a Mickey Mouse Club pin and spoke a few words. A very uplifting experience.

My condolences to the family. May "the God of all comfort"... be with you during your time of sorrow. 2 Cor.1:3

R.I.P. Bonnie...I am also 68 years old and grew up on a farm in NE Ohio...We watched the Mouseketeers after school. It was a wonderful show that we all loved!!...Thank you so much for being a part of our lives and giving us so much joy!!

My condolences to her family and friends. I remembered that she was one of my mother's favorite Mouseketeers.

You will always live in our hearts and prayers.