Mickey Mouse Club Pioneer Annette Funicello Dies at 70

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.



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(In tune to the ending song of the Mickey Mouse Club, "Time to Say Goodbye".) Now it’s time to say goodbye to one of our family. Mic… See, time is to short… Key… Why? Because we love you, Annette. Rest in Peace. Mouse.
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Annette was a true TV icon, one of the first really. I was very sad to learn of her passing, I remember reruns they'd play of The Mickey Mouse Club on the Disney Channel and she'd really stand out as a great personality. Then when she did Back to the Beach it was so much fun and she just carried a lot of that type of energy, from there she was doing Disney public appearances again and it was so nice to come back after 30 years to that same smile and energy. Not long after, the reveal of her MS was heartbreaking news, but she kept being that public personality as long as she could. I'll miss knowing someone as sweet, genuine and lovely a personality was out there.
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She will always be a part of our youth.
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The MMC was a little before my time, but I remember seeing the beach movies on TV, and especially the Jif commercials. "Choosy moms choose Jif." Annette was multi-talented and seemed like a very kind person. She will be missed.
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She could have shown LiLo a thing or two. RIP Annette.
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lol I watched "Back to the Beach" all the time when I was a kid. Good times.
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A legend with grace.
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This is some "humunga cowabunga from down unda" bad news! My sisters and I loved watching Back to the Beach when we were younger. RIP Mrs. Funicello.
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She will be missed. This, Ms. Spears, is how a Mouseketeer should carry herself.
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