Margene told an interviewer in 1977 that she was born in El Centro, in California's Imperial Valley near the Mexican border, to a truck driver father and a housewife mom. Disney press releases from 1956, however, give her hometown as Orange, California. El Centro didn't receive ABC television in those days, and Margene says she had never seen the Mickey Mouse Club before auditioning. (The show had only been on the air for five months). Her dance instructor was Linda Starr, who brought Margene and another student to the auditions for second season replacements in the spring of 1956. Besides dancing, Margene could also play the piano and guitar.
Margene was no shy sweet Mousekegirl; she was a lively extrovert, who could dance up a storm. Like Darlene Gillespie, Margene was good at physical comedy. She had a different appearance from the usual slender female dancers, having a fuller figure and sensual face, accentuated by her slightly sleepy eyelids. One former mouse described her as zaftig, while many Mouseketeers agreed later that she was very lively. During a slumber party at her parent's house, she led the other female mice into a rowdy midnight swimming excursion, causing the neighbors to threaten calling the police.
Margene was used extensively in production numbers during the second season, though unfortunately none of them are available on Disney videos or DVDs. She was given many solo bits during group numbers, and was occasionally the lead female dancer. For someone with such energy, Margene had a soft singing voice, and it may be that like Annette Funicello
, this was one performing area where she lacked confidence.
Despite being such a prominent performer, Margene wasn't part of the Red Team. The Mouseketeer Roll Call and Alma Mater segments were only filmed once for each of the five weekdays; if you weren't on the Red Team when filming started, that was it for the season. It was clear that director Sidney Miller
came to appreciate her talents, giving her more camera time than some of the Red Team girls. But when the second season production finished, Margene, like the other replacement Mouseketeers, found herself out of a job.
Margene was fourteen when she and the other second season replacements were let go at the end of September in 1956. She and her parents returned to El Centro, where she completed high school, junior college, then beauty college. She first married at age eighteen and had a son, followed by a daughter three years later. Around 1969 she moved to Salinas, California, where she would work for six years as a hair stylist. In all, she was married three times, divorced twice, and had one annulment, by the mid-seventies.
Margene attended the 20th Anniversary Mouseketeer reunion at Disneyland in 1975, by which time she had traded occupations from beautician to auto sales. A year later she trained to become a corrections officer for male prisoners at California's maximum-security Soledad prison, and was interviewed on the job by People magazine. In 1980 she performed with other Mouseketeers in the televised 25th Anniversary show.