One of the 1950s' most darling television icons passed away today. Annette Funicello, an original member of The Mickey Mouse Club, died Monday at the age of 70, reports The Los Angeles Times. Funicello was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1987.
Funicello was the most recognizable Mouseketeer from the afternoon children's variety show that launched in 1956, and she remained one of Disney's most popular actresses after leaving the program. She would go on to star in the Disney movies The Shaggy Dog and Babes in Toyland, among others. Funicello also found success as a singer, with the singles "Tall Paul," "Pineapple Princess," and "First Name Initial."
In the '60s, Funicello, along with frequent co-star Frankie Avalon, helped create a movie genre with the popular beach party movies Beach Party, Beach Blanket Bingo, and Bikini Beach. Showing a sense of humor for the genre, she and Avalon teamed up in 1987 for a parody of their work, the comedy Back to the Beach.
I'm a little too young to remember her early work, but Back to the Beach remains a fond childhood memory of mine, and I can sing along to this song with the best of them. We'll miss you, Annette.