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Mouseketeer Annette Funicello Dead at 70 [VIDEO]

For those of us familiar with the Mickey Mouse Club of the 1950s, and the beach party rage movies of the early 1960s, will be sad to hear that Annette Funicello has died.

The mostly widely recognized Mouseketeer by far, receiving over 5,000 fan mail letters each month, Funicello, only twelve years old at the time, was the last cast member to be selected in 1955, and one of the very few (lucky) picked by Walt Disney himself.

After the Mickey Mouse Club, she made television appearances in Zorro, Elfego Baca, and The Horsemasters, as well as co-starring in the movie The Shaggy Dog.

Although Funicello eventually broke away Disney, she continued her wholesome image in beach party flicks with Frankie Avalon between 1963 and 1965.  This new found stardom catapulted her into the “teen idol” category, and barely caused a stir when, unlike Barbara Eden in “I Dream of Jeannie”, she ignored Disney’s pleas to cover her navel.

Many of us remember Funicello pitching Skippy Peanut Butter in 1979.

She began suffering from dizzy spells in 1987, then five years later, she made the announcement that she was suffering from multiple sclerosis, largely due to rumors that her introverted life was fueled by alcohol.

Funicello lost her ability to walk in 2004, and her ability to speak five years later, thus requiring 24 hour care.

Annette appears at the 51 second market of this video:

The official cause of death has been attributed to complications brought on by multiple sclerosis.  Annette Funicello was 70 years old.

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