The stage at Walt Disney Studios where “The Mickey Mouse Club” was filmed is now officially the Annette Funicello Stage. Disney chief Bob Iger led a ceremony Monday, June 24th, dedicating the soundstage to Funicello, the Mouseketeer and movie star who died in April at age 70.
‘We are remembering and celebrating of the life and legacy of the incomparable Annette Funicello — America’s sweetheart, Disney Legend and extraordinary person both on and off the screen,’ said Bob Iger. ‘Annette first became a member of the Disney family, right here on Stage 1 as part of the ‘Mickey Mouse Club’ as so many of you know. It’s where the world first met her and where we all fell in love with the talented girl with that incredible winning smile. Annette was actually my very first crush and I remember it as love at first sight (at least on my part) and I was faithful and never missed one of her movies. When she was on television, well I was right there at home watching every show. What can I say, she was gorgeous and I was smitten just like every other boy at the time. Annette was Walt’s brightest star and a cherished part of the Disney family who was loved by millions and from this day forward, her place in our hearts and our history will be marked forever right here on this stage where it all began when she put on those famous ears and became a Mousketeer.’
Former Mouseketeers, Funicello’s family and colleagues and Mickey Mouse himself also participated in Monday’s dedication. Frankie Avalon, Richard Sherman and Leonard Maltin were among those honoring the late actress. The world was saddened at the loss of Annette back in April, she was loved by so many. Disney dedicating the stage to her is a lovely tribute. Julie Andrews is the only other entertainer to have a namesake stage at Disney studios. God Bless you Annette, and thanks for all the beautiful Disney memories.