Annette was one of the role models of my generation (in my opinion), representing the innocent times of the 1950's and ushered us into the changing times of the 1960's as the queen of the beach party movies, accompanied by Frankie Avalon who was the king.
I'm so very sad for the children of the following generations who have barely had wholesome role models to look up to. The one thing I am grateful for growing up in the times I did was the fact that we could actually be children . . . most of us were innocent to awful realities of life that are now prominently depicted on television.
She began her professional career at the age of twelve, rising to prominence as one of the most popular "Mouseketeers" on the original Mickey Mouse Club.
On April 8, 2013, Annette Funicello died at the age of 70, from complications due to multiple sclerosis.
Since her death, I have wanted to write this post, but at the time I did not have the words to convey my sadness at her passing. What really made me sad is that at the end of 2013, when you hear of those famous people who passed on during that year, Annette was barely mentioned. Perhaps my generation is being forgotten as new generations arise and so will our role models, as it appears Annette has.
Commenting on her death, Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said,
"Annette was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word Mouseketeer, and a true Disney Legend. She will forever hold a place in our hearts as one of Walt Disney's brightest stars, delighting an entire generation of baby boomers with her jubilant personality and endless talent. Annette was well known for being as beautiful inside as she was on the outside, and she faced her physical challenges with dignity, bravery and grace. All of us at Disney join with family, friends, and fans around the world in celebrating her extraordinary life."
"Annette took dancing and music lessons as a child in order 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". 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." Source: Wikipedia
Take a walk down memory lane with these awesome videos and celebrate Annette's life along with me.