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Original Mickey Mouse Mouseketeer Annette Funicello Has Died

Annette Funicello starred on the Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950’s (zerk64@Flickr)

Annette Funicello, one of the original Mickey Mouse Mouseketeers has died in Los Angeles.  One of the best-known members of the original Mickey Mouse Club of the 1950’s and later a star of the 1960s beach party films with Frankie Avalon, Funicello died of complications of Multiple Sclerosis, an illness that she battled for 25 years.  She was 70.

Funicello was only 13 when she auditioned in front of Walt Disney.  She was a talented dancer, but when she was asked to sing she said she couldn’t.  But she eventually did and as an adult she recorded a number of albums and had a handful of Top 40 hits.

Funicello was a native of Utica, NY and was only 4 when she moved with her family to Los Angeles.  Walt Disney spotted her in the lead of a children’s play in Burbank and asked her to try out for his new TV show.  She was hired on the spot.

Funicello was diagnosed with MS in 1987 and five years later she established the Annette Funicello Research Fund For Neurological Diseases.  The charity supports research, treatment and an eventual cure to Multiple Sclerosis and similar diseases.

A Tweet from Picturamadojo said it best:

Now it’s time to say goodbye

To all our company

M-I-C, See you real soon

K-E-Y, Why?

Because we like you


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