Annette Funicello: From Mousketeer to Beach Blanket Bingo

Annette Funicello as she appeared as an original Mousketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club after being discovered by Walt Disney and would later star in movies with Frankie Avalon.

While looking at the birthdays next week saw where Joanie of Happy Days will be 50 next week and that Jeanie C. Riley of Harper Valley PTA fame will reach retirement age of 65 next week. Pam Dawber who portrayed Mindy on Mork and Mindy will be 60 next week.

The name that really jumped out at me though was Annette Funicello who will be 68 next week.

Annette was discovered by Walt Disney at a dance recital in Burbank, California and was chosen to be on the original Mousketeers on the Mickey Mouse Club which made its debut in 1955.

Annette Funicello singing her hit Tall Paul which topped out at No.7 on the record charts.

Annette and Frankie Avalon sing a medley of songs in this 1965 video.

Annette singing I’ll Never Change Him in Beach Blanket Bingo in 1965.

Annette announced in 1992 that she had multiple sclerosis. She had kept it a secret since 1985 but when some people think her inability to walk was caused by alcoholism she revealed her illness to the world.

In addition to combating her illness she lost her mother Virginia Funicello at the age 86 in 2007 and her father Joe Funicello at the age of 93 in 2009.

Her last featured movie appearance was Back to the Beach with Frankie Avalon in 1987. She did make a cameo appearance in Troop Beverly Hills in 1989 which was her last movie appearance.

Annette and Frankie Avalon appeared in a Full House episode in 1991.

Annette dancing on a Mickey Mouse Club episode demonstrating her ballet skills which caused her to be discovered by Walt Disney.

We may never see Annette again in a television show or on a movies due to her multiple sclerosis but we have memories in the videos and movies she left behind.

Happy 68th birthday Annette!!


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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