Annette Funicello (October 22, 1942-April 8, 2013) first gained popularity while starring on Disney's peppy variety show The Mickey Mouse Club in 1955, at the age of 12. She stayed on the show until it ended in 1959, when she moved to Danny Thomas' sitcom Make Room For Daddy for a single season. From then until approximately the end of the 1960s, she starred in a variety of movies, most of them of the "beach party" genre, and most of them alongside Frankie Avalon. She's starred in only a handful of movies since 1968's Head, most notably in a parody of beach movies, 1987's Back to the Beach.

Annette has been out of the entertainment industry since the late 1980s, due to the fact that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1987. In the years between then and now, she's been having various surgeries to correct it (including brain surgery in late 1999), and running her own charity, the Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Disorders, as well as running a collectable stuffed bear business, and her own line of perfumes.

She was a household name in the 1950s and 1960s, due largely to her ubiquity on the movie screen, and is still quite well known by members of the baby-boomer generation. She's been married twice, first to Jack Gilardi (1965 to 1981) and currently to Glen Holt (1986-present). She has three children, one of whom is Jason Gilardi, the drummer for Caroline's Spine, whom you may recall for their many opening slots on tours with bands like KISS and Aerosmith.

Apart from a cameo appearance in 1988's Troop Beverly Hills, she hasn't been in a movie since appearing briefly in her own made-for-TV biography in 1995, where she was portrayed by Eva LaRue Callahan and Andrea Nemeth.


Annette Funicello died of complications from multiple sclerosis on April 8, 2013, aged 70.

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