Annette Funicello, Mouseketeer and film star, dies

    11:22 AM, Apr 8, 2013   |    comments
    • Annette Funicello (R) kisses Mickey Mouse 14 September 1993 after she received a star on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame in California. The U.S. actress and singer is best known as a famous mouseketeer on the popular 1960's television show, 'The Mickey Mouse Club' as well as the beach movies she made with Frankie Avalon. (Photo credit should read VINCE BUCCI/AFP/Getty Images)
    • Annette Funicello. (Photo: USA Today)
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    NEW YORK (AP) - The Walt Disney Co. says Annette Funicello, who went from Mouseketeer to beach party movie icon, has died at age 70.

    Funicello stunned fans and friends in 1992 with the announcement she was suffering from multiple sclerosis. Yet she was cheerful and upbeat, grappling with the disease with a courage that contrasted with her lightweight teen image of old.

    The pretty, dark-haired Funicello was just 13 when she gained fame on Walt Disney's television kiddie "club," an amalgam of stories, songs and dance routines that ran from 1955 to 1959.

    Cast after Disney saw her at a dance recital, she soon began receiving 8,000 fan letters a month, 10 times more than any of the 23 other young performers.

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