Annette Funicello – Original Mouseketeer – Biography

Annette Funicello 

Biography

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Annette Joanne Funicello (October 22, 1942 – April 8, 2013) was an Italian-American actress and singer. Annette Funicello began her professional career as a child performer at the age of twelve. She rose to prominence as one of the most popular Mouseketeers on the original Mickey Mouse Club.

Annette Funicello Mouseketeer

As a teenager, she transitioned to a successful career as a singer with the pop singles “O Dio Mio”, “Tall Paul” and “Pineapple Princess“, as well as establishing herself as a film actress, popularizing the successful “Beach Party” genre alongside co-star Frankie Avalon during the mid-1960s.

Annette Funicello & Frankie Avalon

In 1992, Annette Funicello announced that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She died of complications from the disease on April 8, 2013.

Annette around the time that she was diagnosed with MS

Annette Joanne Funicello was born in Utica, New York, to Italian Americans Virginia Jeanne (née Albano; 1921 – 2007) and Joseph Edward Funicello (1916 – 2009). Her family moved to Southern California when she was four years old.

Annette Joanne Funicello was born in Utica, New York, to Italian Americans Virginia Jeanne (née Albano; 1921 – 2007) and Joseph Edward Funicello (1916 – 2009). Her family moved to Southern California when she was four years old.

Annette took dancing and music lessons as a child to overcome shyness. In 1955, the 12-year-old was discovered by Walt Disney when she performed as the Swan Queen in Swan Lake at a dance recital at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank, California. Disney cast her as one of the original Mouseketeers.

Annette with the Mouseketeer Gang

She was the last to be selected, and one of the few cast-members to be personally selected by Walt Disney himself. She proved to be very popular and by the end of the first season of The Mickey Mouse Club, she was receiving 6,000 letters a month, according to her Disney Legends biography.

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