Annette Funicello, from Mouseketeer to pop culture icon

Apr 8, 2013
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Obit Funicello

In this Jan. 3, 1978 file photo, actress Annette Funicello recalls moments when she played a “Mouseketeer” on ABC’s first successful daytime television show,”The Mickey Mouse Club” in Los Angeles, while she was taping an ABC Silver Anniversary Celebration special.; Credit: Lennox McLendon/AP

Original Disney Mouseketeer Annette Funicello died today at the age of 70 from complications of multiple sclerosis.  Funicello was discovered by Walt Disney while dancing in a school production of “Swan Lake” at age 12. She went on to star in “The Mickey Mouse Club” and her own Disney series, “Annette,” before becoming an icon of the emerging youth culture with a series of drive-in-bound “beach” movies such as “Muscle Beach Party” and “Beach Blanket Bingo.”

After a long career acting and singing, she was diagnosed with MS in 1987, and later became an advocate, raising money for research for neurological disease.

Susan King, Los Angeles Times entertainment reporter, writes the Classic Hollywood column

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