Who Is Dennis Day? New Details About Ex-Mouseketeer Who Went Missing Last Year

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Who Is Dennis Day? New Details About Ex-Mouseketeer Who Went Missing Last Year

Original Mouseketeer Dennis Day disappeared last year. What happened?

In 1955, Dennis Day was one of the Mouseketeers on the original Mickey Mouse Club. He spent two seasons dancing and acting on the iconic children’s television show, alongside luminaries such as Annette Funniccello and Tommy Cole. Today he is missing and nobody knows what happened.

In July of 2018, Dennis left his house, allegedly on foot and never returned. His husband was in the hospital suffering from various health issues, including dementia so it was weeks before he fully realized that Dennis hadn’t visited and reported the absence. His family in Califonia would not find out that he was gone for six more months.

So who is Dennis Day and what happened to him? Read on for all the details.

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1. He came from a family of performers. 

In the 1950s, Dennis and his older sister Nedla were young performers. Their mother was a fan of musicals and started the kids in dance lessons at a young age. By the time they were 10 and 12 years old respectively, they had been working in television, commercials and had even done the James Cagney film A Lion Is In The Streets.

They were asked to audition for the Mickey Mouse Club and eagerly took the opportunity. They went in to do their dance routine but were held up by mistakes the piano players made. Dennis stopped and spoke with the musician to correct the problem and they started again. While Nedla ultimately wasn’t cast, Dennis was cast on the first season of the show.

2. He spent two seasons as a Mouseketeer.

Dennis spent two seasons on the show. He was an excellent dancer but not a singer. 

“I didn't sing at my audition and it was a shock to them that I couldn't sing, period," he told Rolling StoneHe appeared extensively in dance numbers and, because of his expressive face, was used for a lot of reaction shots.

3. He then moved to New York.

After leaving the show, Dennis moved to New York and worked in live theatre for a few years. He eventually moved back to California where he taught acting and dance, made some commercials, and produced live performances.

In the 1960s, he was the musical director and an entertainer for the California Renaissance Pleasure Faires and the Dickens Christmas Faire. He did a few reunion shows later, such as the show celebrating Mickey Mouse’s 40th birthday.

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4. He is gay. 

Dennis came out to his family when he was still in his teens and moved to San Francisco so he could be a city where he felt his sexuality was celebrated. In 1971, he told Rolling Stone he was bisexual and by 1973 described himself as a “militant gay."

He later met Ernie Caswell and the two fell in love. They worked together running a home for transient actors before moving to Oregon together in the 1980s. The couple got married in 2009.

"We've been together 37 years, so we're from a period where there was no thought of marriage," Dennis told a local paper. "I cry at weddings, but I never thought I would be crying at mine.”

5. His partner had some health issues.

As the couple grew older, Ernie began to suffer from poor health. He was diagnosed with colon cancer and had symptoms of dementia.

Dennis devoted himself to caring for his husband. The pair stopped traveling, with a trip to Ernie’s mother’s funeral in 2017 being the last trip Denni’s family recalls them taking.

6. He's been missing since July. 

Nelda said that her contacts with her brother, while warm, were often sporadic. She didn’t think anything was wrong when she hadn’t heard from Dennis in about six months in 2018. That’s why it came as a shock to her when she turned on a news program in January 2019 and discovered that her brother had been missing since July. 

Apparently Ernie, who had been hospitalized, realized that weeks had gone by without a visit from his normally devoted husband. He asked someone to call the police and they discovered he was gone. Dennis had no information about family other than Ernie so they were never contacted.

Ernie was unable to remembered enough to tell police himself.

7. Police found a roommate living at their home. 

When police went to Ernie and Dennis’ home to investigate, they found an unnamed roommate living there. That person was able to tell investigators that Dennis had allegedly left the house on foot, saying he was going to visit friends.

He left behind his car, which was later found near the Oregon shoreline, occupied by people who Dennis did not know. Since he’s been gone he hasn’t used his credit card or accessed his bank accounts. He has never had social media accounts and only used a prepaid cell phone that cannot be traced.

Police have searched the area, at times using cadaver dogs but so far there is no evidence of a crime having been committed. Ernie has been moved to a long-term care facility and is reported to be doing well.

Police say anyone with information about what happened to Dennis Day should call Lt. Jeff Price of the Phoenix Police Department at 541-535-1113, ext. 309, or the anonymous tip line at 1-888-960-6450.

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.

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