"You're very sweet and
I'll try not to keep your husband for too long."
Randall on Bewitched: The Girl Reporter (1964)
Cheryl Holdridges' last
name comes from Herbert
Holdridge, who adopted Cheryl in 1953 after marrying her mother,
broadway dancer Julie Phelps.
Lynn Holdridge (June 20th, 1944 January 6th, 2009) was an
American actress, best known as an original cast member of The Mickey
Holdridge was born Cheryl
Lynn Phelps in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her mother, Julie A. Phelps
(October 19th, 1908 October 24th, 2003), was a dancer who
performed on Broadway with her partner, Dick Mason. Cheryl's
biological father is unidentified. Shortly after Cheryl was born,
Julie moved with her new daughter to Burbank, California and in 1950
married Herbert Charles Holdridge, a retired Brigadier General and
something of a political visionary, too utopian for practical
politics, too flamboyant for academia. Cheryl's step-father often ran
for President (unsuccessfully for the Democratic Party and the
American Vegetarian Party), and because of his military background,
was known for his pacifistic philosophy. Despite having failed to
secure a presidential nomination from even minor national parties in
three different elections over a dozen years, Holdridge would always
claim to have been nominated by the Vegetarians and the
Prohibitionists, an achievement of such ephemeral value that no
reporter ever questioned it. After 1956 he never again sought a
nomination from established political parties. Instead, he devoted
his efforts to nascent movements designed to empower American
Indians, and to anti-Catholic propaganda against the 1960
presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy. Holdridge founded the
"Minute Men for the Constitution" in 1957, which published
two newsletters but did little else. In 1960 he established the
"Constitutional Provisional Government of the United
States", which claimed the Hopi Indians were still a sovereign
nation, since they had never signed a peace treaty with the United
States. Holdridge apparently appointed himself to represent the Hopi
in this matter, without actually attracting any members of that tribe
to his organization. His political activities and incessant writing
of public letters to newspapers and elected officials would prove a
minor embarrassment to his stepdaughter's acting career. Meanwhile,
his son, John H. Holdridge (Cheryl's step brother, who was twenty
years older than her), pursued a diplomatic career in the American
foreign service, and was best known for having taken part in, and
later recounted, Henry A. Kissinger's secret 1971 initiative to
restore United States diplomatic relations with the People's Republic
of China. John Holdridge also served as U.S. Ambassador to Singapore
(19751978) and Indonesia (19821986).
Holdridge grew up in Sherman Oaks. She started dance lessons at an
early age with Joyce Cole in North Hollywood, from whom she learned
ballet and tap. From her tutelage Cheryl was able to perform with the
NYC Ballet's LA productions of The Nutcracker. She also started doing
television commercials at age ten, and her first screen appearance
was as an uncredited extra in the 1956 film production of Carousel.
Holdridge auditioned for
Walt Disney's The Mickey Mouse Club in the spring of 1956, was hired
for the club's "Red Team", the most visible and popular of
the Mouseketeers. She had arranged to audition by calling the casting
director herself, without telling her mother or her agent. Though a
good dancer, her weak singing voice kept her in the background of
most musical numbers performed by the Mouseketeers. A competent
actress with a pleasant speaking voice, she was employed for two of
the show's episodic serials: Boys of the Western Sea and Annette.
Cheryl had the prettiest
smile of any Mouseketeer. A small and slight twelve-year old in the
second season, by the third she started to bloom. She always had a
perfect first take in close-ups, had a flair for reaction shots, and
could handle with ease the simple dance numbers choreographer Tom
Mahoney devised for the shows later seasons. At the end of the second
season Cheryl was dropped along with all the other replacement
Mouseketeers. Two months later, she received a call offering her a
new one-year contract, at the old pay scale. This is the way the
studio avoided paying increases that would have been due under the
In the third season Cheryl
was again used for group dance numbers but was the only Red Team
member left out of the singing and dancing in the Disneyland "4th
Anniversary Show" episode promoting the Rainbow Road to Oz.
filming for the show ended, Cheryl attended first Van Nuys High
School, then Grant High School and graduated. Some ex-Mouseketeers
had trouble fitting back into regular high school life, not Cheryl.
She was accepted readily and was popular with her classmates, who
gave her the nickname "Surfboard" until she started to fill
out. Cheryl was a bit of a tomboy, working on car engines with the
neighborhood boys, and strong academically, graduating at sixteen in 1961.
In May 1960, Holdridge went
on a live tour to Australia with other former Mouseketeers organized
by the show's original host Jimmie Dodd. While there, she became
involved with Lucky Starr, an Australian singer and was later linked
in fan magazines and gossip columns with many other celebrities,
including Elvis Presley and Fabian.
Holdridge had an uncredited
bit part in the film A Summer Place (1959), while her television
career resumed with an appearance in a 1959 episode of Bachelor
Father and a recurring part on Leave It to Beaver as 'Gloria Cusick';
she later played an occasional, recurring role as Wally Cleaver's
girlfriend, Julie Foster (above). Holdridge did an episode of The
Rifleman with Johnny Crawford in 1960. Holdridge made guest
appearances on over twenty different shows, including The Rifleman,
My Three Sons, Bewitched, Bringing Up Buddy The Dick Van Dyke Show
and Bachelor Father. She also had a prominent recurring role in an
unsold pilot called Archie, in which she played Betty and Mikki
Jamison played Veronica (below top right) to
John Simpson's Archie Andrews.
Cheryl Hoildridge above
left in The Rifleman. Above right and below left in Leave It To
Beaver. Below right in the Dick van Dyke Show and bottom row in Bewitched.
On November 7th, 1964,
Cheryl married Woolworth heir Lance Reventlow, also picking up the
title of Countess since Lance's father was a Danish nobleman.
Cheryl's happiness was muted by a visit to Jimmie Dodd's sick bed in
a Honolulu Hospital. He was sleeping when she and Lance visited while
on their honeymoon, and died the next day. Because his death was kept
secret on the islands for a month, Cheryl didn't even know he passed
away until she returned to the mainland.
decided to give up show business, despite Lance's encouragement to
keep acting. After a few years of marriage the couple's lives seemed
to drift in different directions, with Cheryl living in California
while Lance spent his time at their home in Aspen, Colorado. Lance
died in a small plane crash near Aspen in 1972. Her inheritance from
Lance's estate was probably more than $10 million, but not as much as
it might have been. Lance's mother Barbara Hutton was still alive,
and the bulk of the Woolworth wealth was in her hands. Newspapers at
the time reported that Hutton bought back the jewelry Lance had given
Cheryl for over a million dollars.
Cheryl married Albert James
Skarda in a civil ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada in October 1974. A
few months later she appeared on the Tomorrow show with Lonnie Burr,
Tommy Cole, Darlene Gillespie, and Cubby O'Brien. In 1980, Cheryl
took part in the Mouseketeer 25th Reunion Show, and in 1995, appeared
in the TV special on the Mickey Mouse Club. Her second married ended
in divorce in 1988.
In 1994 Holdridge married
Manning J. Post, a California car dealership tycoon, who like her,
was involved in liberal causes and state Democratic politics. Manning
Post died in 1999 at age 82, while serving on the California State
Transportation Board. All three of her marriages were childless.
The following year Cheryl
appeared in the film The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas and made
personal appearances with other Mouseketeers in 2005 at Disneyland,
for the 50th Anniversary of the Mickey Mouse Club and the park.
In her later years
Holdridge suffered from lung cancer. Weak from the chemotherapy she
found the strength to attend a charity fund-raiser in Beverly Hills
in October 2008, but finally succumbed on January 6th, 2009.