Mickey Mouse turns 87 this month. Born in Walt Disney’s imagination in 1928, the lovable big-eared mouse became not just a symbol of innocent childhood and wholesome fun for generations — but also a symbol of American cultural dominance. For better or worse, Mickey Mouse represents the “Disneyfication” of the world — and he remains one of America’s best known global icons.
The Academy Award-winning Mickey has appeared in more than 130 films in his long career, not to mention his thriving TV career. Mickey Mouse’s cultural reach — even as Disney is more associated with princesses these days — continues. The Mickey Mouse Club TV show first served as a launching pad for old-time celebs like Mickey Rooney and Annette Funicello. But later revivals of the Mickey Mouse Club gave a start to stars who still rule the pop culture landscape. Movie star Ryan Gosling, singer-actor-comedian Justin Timberlake and pop diva Britney Spears are all graduates of Mickey’s exclusive club. At 87, the Mouse continues to roar.