Monday, April 8, 2013

Annette Funicello dead at 70: America’s most beloved Mouseketeer dies following long battle with multiple sclerosis

Funicello battled the debilitating disease for two years, losing the ability to speak in 2009. She became a Mouseketeer at age 12 and propelled to stardom in a series of beach blanket movies with teen idol Frankie Avalon in the 60’s.
File photo taken 4/10/90 of Annette Funicello at her home in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bob Riha Jr/WireImage)

Bob Riha Jr/WireImage

Annette Funicello spent more than two decades in a battle against crippling multiple sclerosis, and reportedly had been in a coma for several years.

Annette Funicello, the most beloved of the early Walt Disney Mouseketeers and a pioneer in one-name adolescent stardom, died Monday at a hospital in Bakersfield, Calif. She was 70.
She spent more than two decades in a brave battle against crippling multiple sclerosis, and reportedly had been in a coma for several years. She lost her ability to speak in 2009.
Funicello said in a 1993 interview that while she didn’t think of these charmingly clean-cut movies as great art, she felt they were good fun.

FPG/Getty Images

Funicello said in a 1993 interview that while she didn’t think of these charmingly clean-cut movies as great art, she felt they were good fun.

Personally selected by Disney to join the original “Mickey Mouse Club” in 1955, Funicello became one of the show’s first breakout stars — in part, she admitted with some amusement 40 years later, because she was more developed than many of her female colleagues.
She was 12 when she became a Mouseketeer, and she had some ballet training — which she had taken to overcome childhood shyness. Disney reportedly spotted her when she was performing in a school production of “Swan Lake.”
RELATED: WHY WAS FRANKIE AVALON ON 'AMERICAN IDOL?'
Along with Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello became an iconic fixture of the 60's.

ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

Along with Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello became an iconic fixture of the 60's.

She came across on camera as perky and cute, yet almost an actual teenager. While all the Mouseketeers were spotlighted on the show as individual personalities — with their names emblazoned on the front of their white sweaters, she emerged as a fan favorite.
At the peak of the show’s popularity she reportedly received 6,000 fan letters a month, reflecting her status as the first heartthrob for thousands of baby boomer boys.
Although she had limited vocal range, Disney saw her crossover marketing potential and made her a pop star with bouncy tunes like “Pineapple Princess,” “First Name Initial,” “Tall Paul” and “O Dio Mio.”
 Annette Funicello

NBC/NBC via Getty Images

 Annette Funicello

Disney also had her star in several serials, including “Spin and Marty,” and in 1963 she signed with American International Pictures for the first of what would be a string of low-budget, but surprisingly memorable “beach movies” with fellow teen idol Frankie Avalon.
The string started with “Beach Party,” and continued with “Muscle Beach Party,” “Bikini Beach,” “Pajama Party” and “Beach Blanket Bingo” before wrapping up in 1965 with the immortally titled “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.”
RELATED: DISNEY'S NEW POP MOUSEKETEERS
Annette Funicello appearing on The Dick Clark Beechnut Show in 1960. 

ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

Annette Funicello appearing on The Dick Clark Beechnut Show in 1960. 

Funicello said in a 1993 interview that while she didn’t think of these charmingly clean-cut movies as great art, she felt they were good fun. She admitted she was mildly surprised they had become pop culture cinema icons.
“I think they were a way to hold onto some innocence as we went into a more complex era,” she said.
She and Avalon, who had become good friends, did some singing tours together after the movies ended, and reunited in 1987 for the semi-spoof film “Back to the Beach.”
Many will long remember Funicello as their most beloved Mouseketeer.

Everett Collection / Everett Col

Many will long remember Funicello as their most beloved Mouseketeer.

She pulled back from her career after she married Jack Gilardi in 1965, re-emerging in 1979 as a spokeswoman for Skippy Peanut Butter.
She was diagnosed with MS in the 1980s, but didn’t publicly reveal it until 1992. She said she felt it was necessary to counter rumors that she walked unsteadily because of a drinking problem.
RELATED: WHY? BECAUSE WE LIKED HER
After her announcement, she became a spokeswoman for MS awareness. When her 1994 autobiography “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” was made into a TV movie in 1995, she appeared herself at the end, in her wheelchair, to speak with children about pursuing their dreams.
She said in the early 1990s that she kept a positive attitude and felt she had had a “blessed life.”
She later developed lines of teddy bears and fragrances. She also maintained close friendships with many of the people from her Hollywood years, including Avalon, Shelley Fabares and fellow Mouseketeers Cheryl, Sharon and Doreen.
She was divorced from Gilardi in 1981 and in 1986 married Glen Holt.
She is survived by Holt and three children from her first marriage.



( From Theusdaily )

Previous Post
Next Post

2 comments:

  1. Hi, this weekend is pleasant in support of me, since this point in time i am reading this fantastic informative article here
    at my residence.

    Here is my homepage seo service london

    ReplyDelete
  2. For latest news you have to visit internet and on world-wide-web I found this web
    page as a most excellent web page for latest updates.


    my weblog ... Wholesale Jerseys

    ReplyDelete

Hello World Visit My News Website,