Mouseketeer Sharon Baird was born on August 16, 1943, in Seattle, Washington. Sharon’s parents were Eldon Baird, who was an aerospace worker, and Nikki Marcus, who was a talent agent (she became one after Sharon was born). Sharon has a younger brother named Jimmy, who was also a child actor.
Sharon began taking dance lessons when she was only three years old. She won the Little Miss Washington contest when she was five years old. After winning this competition, Sharon’s mom took her to California to compete in the national Little Miss competition (where she won second place), and she fell in love with the climate there. Because of the desires of Sharon’s mom, the whole family moved to California, where they settled in Los Angeles. There, Sharon kept up with her dance lessons, studying under a variety of well-known and renowned teachers, such as Louis da Pron.
Louis da Pron recommended Sharon audition for a part in an upcoming skit on The Colgate Comedy Hour. While she did not get the part, the host of the show, Eddie Cantor, thought that Sharon showed so much promise as a performer that he put her under a personal contract. Whenever Eddie hosted the show, Sharon was in it.
Sharon tried out for more performing parts, and eventually got a part in a film called Bloodhounds of Broadway in 1952. Unfortunately, Eddie passed away that year (of a heart attack), and without his support, Sharon’s burgeoning career slowed down considerably. She did get a few more parts as guest roles on TV shows, but nothing more than that for a while.
She continued to sing under a Capitol Records recording contract and was at a recording session there when Jimmie Dodd spotted her. Dodd was one of the co-hosts of the upcoming TV show The Mickey Mouse Club. Jimmie encouraged Sharon to audition for the show, which she did, and she was cast in it. Because she had a lot more singing and dancing experience than most of the other Mouseketeers, she was featured in almost every episode during the show’s first season. Sharon also performed in live shows with the Mouseketeers at Disneyland while working on the first season of the show, and did some touring with her fellow Mouseketeers.
The Disney Company gave the impression to the public that the performers on The Mickey Mouse Club were inexperienced performers, but this was not strictly true, as many of them did have some experience, and Sharon had more than most of the cast. Sharon’s experience got her a spot on the show’s “Red Team,” which was the first unit of performers on the show, who got most of the featured parts in the individual episodes. Sharon’s specialty on the show was tap dancing, but she also did other types of dancing, as well as singing and acting while she was on the show.
During the show’s third and final season, though, things began to change on the show for Sharon. She was not used in featured performances as much as she used to be. In many of the episodes of the third season, she was merely a background performer After the show ended, Sharon performed live at Disneyland and other events that the former Mouseketeers attended together. She even went on the Australian tour with them in 1959.
After her time with the Mouseketeers, Sharon did some performances with other, older performers in Las Vegas, and made ends meet by teaching dancing. She finished high school at Hollywood Professional School and attended Los Angeles Valley College (where she was on the National Honor Society). She also enrolled in math as well as secretarial courses there as an additional form of income.
Sharon married a singer named Dalton Lee Thomas in 1963 after graduating from college. They separated in 1966 and finalized their divorce in 1972. They had no children together.
During her marriage to Dalton, the two of them, plus a male friend of his, assembled a nightclub act they called Two Cats and a Mouse. The act faded away to nothing like the marriage between Sharon and Dalton did the same.
After her separation, while she was working on her divorce, Sharon became employed by the legendary children’s programming geniuses of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Sid and Marty Croft. She worked for them as a “live puppet” of sorts on several of their popular and fondly remembered Saturday morning kids’ shows, such as H.R. Pufnstuf, New Zoo Revue, Sigmund, and the Sea Monsters, The Bugaloos, and Land of the Lost.
She appeared in the Twentieth Anniversary Celebration of The Mickey Mouse Club at Disneyland in 1975. She was also the physical model for the character of Frodo in the 1978 movie version of The Lord of the Rings but was uncredited. She celebrated another Mouseketeer reunion in 1980. In 1986, Sharon performed in a movie unlike anything she’d ever done before (or since), using the pseudonym S.L. Baird. In this movie, called Ratboy, Sharon played a teenage boy with a physical deformity and accompanying behavior that lead to him being called Ratboy. The film was a flop, and Sharon went back to performing in children’s programming, including a direct-to-video project called The Mother Goose Video Treasury in 1987.
Sharon has continued to appear in Mouseketeer reunion events over the years, even today as a semi-retired person. She was close friends with fellow Mouseketeer Annette Funicello for the rest of Annette’s life. During the 1990s, Sharon gradually began reducing the number of her professional engagements and activities. At that same time, she moved from southern California, where she had lived for much of her life, to Reno, Nevada. She still lives there today in semi-retirement. Yet, whenever the remaining Mouseketeers get together for another reunion show, project, or personal appearance, Sharon is usually and reliably there. It was a special part of her life that she still appreciates, and enjoys getting to celebrate.