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Mouseketeer Lonnie Burr recalls Disney animator Bill Justice

Lonnie Burr, an original Mouseketeer on TV's "The Mickey Mouse Club," says he was saddened to hear about the death of former Walt Disney Studios animator and Imagineer Bill Justice, who died of natural causes Thursday in a nursing home in Santa Monica at age 97.

In an e-mail to The Times on Friday, Burr wrote:

"Most people do not know that the warm, funny raconteur Bill knew Walt liked to discover things himself, so when there was need for a 'Pencil Song' on the upcoming Mickey Mouse Club in 1955, Bill had his talented actor/singer/song-writing, tennis buddy, Jimmie Dodd, write the song and had him sing it for some execs and Walt in the latter's office.

"Walt said, 'He's our new Mickey Mouse Club host!'

"Bill smiled knowing that he had helped his buddy and helped Walt find him."

The Times' obituary on Bill Justice is here.

--Dennis McLellan 

Photos: Jimmie Dodd, Lonnie Burr and the rest of the Mouseketeers (top) and Disney animator Bill Justice (below). Credit: Walt Disney Co.


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