Annette Funicello, who first gained fame as a 12-year-old Mousekeeter on Disney’s “The Mickey Mouse Club” in the 1950s and then starred opposite Frankie Avalon in a series of musical beach party films of the early 1960s, has died. She was 70.
Funicello was taken off life support on Monday morning at a hospital in Bakersfield, Calif. She’d battled multiple sclerosis since 1987, first going public with the diagnosis in 1992.
“Annette was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word Mousketeer, and a true Disney Legend,” said Disney chairman-ceo Robert Iger. “She will forever hold a place in our hearts as one of Walt Disney’s brightest stars, delighting an entire generation of baby boomers with her jubilant personality and endless talent. Annette was well known for being as beautiful inside as she was on the outside, and she faced her physical challenges with dignity, »
- Carmel Dagan
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