Pop Culture Icon Annette Funicello Dead at 70
Annette Funicello, who came to prominence as a teenager as a Mouseketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club before becoming the pre-eminent beach bunny with co-star Frankie Avalon, has passed away at the age of 70.
Funicello had been living with multiple sclerosis since 1992. Her public appearances had been scarce the past 20 years, aside from a few special charity spots. She helped raise money and awareness for those suffering with the disease these past two decades.
Her run of beach movies with Avalon made her a pin-up for men all over the world, and a bikini icon for gals, too. The movies were fun fluff, with just the right amount of double entendre to keep the heads happy.
The duo came back together in 1987 for Back to the Beach, which saw their characters returning to their old stomping grounds with a family in tow.
Funicello, born October 22, 1942, in Utica, New York, moved to the West Coast with her family when she was four years old and became a child actor at the age of 12 after years of beauty contests and advertising spots.