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Remembering Annette Funicello

Annette Funicello, the Mouseketeer and star of beach movies who became an example of courage to those living with MS, died on April 8, 2013, at the age of 70.

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Rick Bentley, TV/Film Critic for the Fresno Bee and, remembers Annette Funicello (whom he knew for over 20 years) with Bill Leff.


Annette Funicello (Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

Annette Funicello, the dark-haired darling of TV’s “The Mickey Mouse Club” in the 1950s who further cemented her status as a pop-culture icon in the ’60s by teaming with Frankie Avalon in a popular series of “beach” movies, died Monday. She was 70.

Funicello, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1987 and became a spokeswoman for treatment of the chronic, often-debilitating disease of the central nervous system, died at Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield, Walt Disney Co. spokesman Howard Green said.

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Annette Funicello, shown in 1955, was one of the original members of the Mouseketeers. (Walt Disney Co. photo)