On April 8, 2013, the world lost original Mouseketeer Annette Funicello at the age of 70 to multiple sclerosis.
It was 1955, when a 12 year old Annette won America’s heart on The Mickey Mouse Club. The last of the original 24 Mouseketeers chosen, she quickly was receiving more than 6,000 fan letters each week.
Annette never let the fame of show and her popularity get to her head. She was modest and shy, referring to Walt as Mr. Disney rather than calling him Uncle Walt as he requested. They had a very special relationship, and she always had such a high level of respect for Mr. Disney.
She was once quoted as saying, “Mickey is more than a mouse to me. I am honored to call him a friend.” Annette was always proud of her work with Disney and never ran away from it, as other stars try to do today. So many stars could take a lesson from Annette. She remained true to her Disney roots, and was always grateful for the opportunities that she had.
Annette Funicello was known for her kindness and positive attitude. Her response to learning she had multiple sclerosis, a chronic disease of the central nervous system, was to start a charity to find a cure. She set up the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Disorders and underwent brain surgery in 1999 in an attempt to control tremors caused by her disease. Annette never looked at her illness with self pity, she charged forward and encouraged others who suffered as well, to fight and challenge MS head on.
Annette Funicello, a true Disney Legend, will always be missed. She touched so many lives through her career and the day she passed saddened the entire Disney community, even a year later she is still missed as much as a year ago.
One thought on “We Remember Annette Funicello”
I grew up watching Annette and the rest of the Mouseketeers, IN BLACK AND WHITE! LOL~I must confess, however, that I did not realize she had MS. Her fortitude and her example should be an example to us all. The Mouseketeers taught you integrity, manners and were just plain fun! My Saturday morning always started with the Mickey Mouse Club. I am so glad I got a picture of her “Star” on the Hollywood walk of fame. She will be missed.