Annette Funicello Dead at 70
The original Mouseketeer is no longer with us. Annette Funicello, one of the original and most beloved young stars of The Mickey Mouse Club, has died at age 70, her family told Extra. Battling multiple sclerosis for over 20 years, the former Disney star recently slipped into a coma, and passed away in a Bakersfield, Calif. hospital surrounded by family, Extra reports.
After becoming a kid TV star at age 12 on The Mickey Mouse Club, Funicello soon became a bonafide teen sensation as well. She became a successful pop singer in the 50s and 60s, with hits like "Tall Pall" and "Pineapple Princess." With fellow teen star Frankie Avalon at her side, she helped popular the "beach party" film genre of the same era in flicks like Beach Party, Beach Blanket Bingo and Wild Bikini, among others.
She also starred on the big screen as well in Disney films like The Shaggy Dog, Babes in Toyland, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, and The Monkey's Uncle. She and Avalon reunited in the late 80s to film reunion film Back to the Beach. She announced her multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 1992 at age 50.
The star is survived by second husband Glen Holt plus Gina, Jack, Jr., and Jason, her kids with first husband Jack Gilardi.