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April 08, 2013

Annette Funicello, Mousketeer and Much More

After achieveing fame as an adolescent on The Mickey Mouse Club, Funicello remained a familiar face in films and on television for the rest of life.

Annette Funicello, who achieved stardom in the 1950s as a Mouseketeer on TV's The Mickey Mouse Club and went on to become a teen icon in a string of surf-and-sand movies, often alongside Frankie Avalon, with names like Beach Blanket Bingo and Bikini Beach, died April 8, 2013, in Bakersfield, California. She was 70.

According to news reports, the cause was complications from multiple sclerosis. Funicello had revealed that she has the disease in 1992.

Born Oct. 22, 1942, in Utica, New York, Funicello moved to Los Angeles with her family when she was 4. She began taking dance lessons at 5, won a beauty contest at 9 and was discovered by Disney talent scouts when she was 13.

On The Mickey Mouse Club, which aired from 1955 to 1959, she was considered the most famous of the young stars known as the Mouseketeers.

After the show ended, she remained under contract with the Walt Disney Company, and appeared in several Disney movies, including Johnny Tremain, The Shaggy Dog, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones and The Monkey’s Uncle.

Funicello then went on to star in several beach comedies produced by American International Pictures, often with Avalon. She also became a recording star whose hit singles included “Tall Paul” and “Pineapple Princess.”

After the beach films ran their course, she appeared mainly on television until the late 1980s.

Her TV credits included such series as Hondo, Easy Does It... Starring Frankie Avalon, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat and Growing Pains.

In 1995 Funicello and Avalon appeared as themselves in the made-for-tlevision movie A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: The Annette Funicello Story, based on the memoir she co-wrote with Patricia Romanowski.

She also appeared in television commercials for products such as Skippy peanut butter.

Read more about her life and career at:

Variety

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