Annette Funicello Dead at 70
Famous Mouseketeer and actress had long suffered from MS
By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2013 12:41 PM CDT
In this Oct. 20, 1990 file photo, actress and former Mickey Mouse Club member Annette Funicello arrives for the 15th annual Italian American Foundation dinner.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

(Newser) – Annette Funicello, who shot to fame at age 12 as a Disney Mouseketeer, has died from complications of multiple sclerosis at age 70, her family confirms to Extra. Funicello parlayed her Disney fame into a successful singing and acting career perhaps most noted for her Beach Party movies with Frankie Avalon in the 1960s. "You knew she was very attractive, very pretty and voluptuous, but Annette never flaunted it," Avalon, now 75, told People in 1998. "She underplayed everything. She never tried to be sexy. People said to themselves, 'I could date that girl if I ever met her.' She wasn't untouchable."

Funicello had reportedly been in an MS coma for years, and had just been taken off life support. "She's on her toes dancing in heaven ... no more MS," said daughter Gina Gilardi in a statement. "My brothers and I were there, holding her sweet hands when she left us." Funicello announced her MS in 1992, having hidden the disease for years.

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Showing 3 of 23 comments
Apr 9, 2013 1:50 AM CDT
You were part of who I am. I'll miss ya. Rest in Peace, my favorite Mouseketeer.
Apr 9, 2013 1:39 AM CDT
Annette was a lady who never let her fame and fortune change the kind of person she was. Her friends were the same way, Frankie Avalon, etc., with good families and good values. There was never a breath of scandal about them. We love you, Annette, rest in peace and thank you for all the wonderful entertainment.
Apr 8, 2013 10:24 PM CDT
One by one we go... Those who entertained, and we who were entertained, lo so many years ago...