ANNETTE FUNICELLO BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
This famous actress and singer was born on October 22, 1942 in Utica, New York. She and her family moved to Southern California when she was only four, which helped her gain the opportunity to achieve stardom. She is best known as the 'sweetheart' of TV’s “The Mickey Mouse Club”, but also appeared in numerous fun beach movies, television shows, and films. She created multiple singing albums, too, for she had an excellent voice.
When Funicello was just thirteen, she was seen performing as the lead in a small production of “Swan Lake” in Burbank, California. Walt Disney just so happened to be watching and he decided to have her audition to be a part of his new show. She was cast to be one of the original Mouseketeers in “The Mickey Mouse Club” (1955-58) and was far more successful than any of the other actors on the show. She remained under contract with Disney for quite a time, acting in TV shows such as “Zorro” (1957), “The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca” (1958). Her feature film debut was in Disney’s “The Shaggy Dog” (1959), and she also starred in Disney’s “Babes in Toyland” (1961), “The Misadventures of Merlin Jones” (1964), and “The Monkey’s Uncle” (1965).
She additionally took up singing, having a number of pop record hits in the late 1950's. In all, she produced twelve albums up until the year 1965. Annette Funicello then became a 'teen idol', performing in “Pajama Party” (1964) and a series of “Beach Party” movies alongside Frankie Avalon for American International Pictures. She was still under contract with Disney, though, when she starred in “Beach Party” (1963), “Muscle Beach Party” (1964), “Bikini Beach” (1964), “Beach Blanket Bingo” (1965), and “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini” (1965). For “Muscle Beach Party”, Funicello received a Golden Laurel nomination for her musical performance. Disney requested that she remain modest in the beach films, however her navel did show.
In 1965, Funicello informed Disney that she wanted to retire from acting to focus on family, and he gave her his approval. She still ended up appearing in a few more roles. She performed in the sporty, race-car movies “Fireball 500” (1966) and “Thunder Alley” (1967). She as well acted in the comedic “Head” (1968), portraying the role of Davy Jones’ sweetheart. Also, she was seen in some television commercials and Dick Clark specials in the 1970's. Funicello acted in the made for TV movie “Lots of Luck” in 1985, but her very last film was “Back to the Beach” (1987), where she yet again had the lead with Frankie Avalon in the nostalgic musical.
In 1992, Funicello unfortunately declared to the public that she has had Multiple Sclerosis since 1987. In the same year, she was welcomed as a Disney Legend. In 1993, she founded a research fund for neurological diseases. She also helped write her autobiography, A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes, in 1994, which shows her high spirits and positivity. Annette Funicello passed away at age 70 on April 8, 2013 from complications of MS and she will be remembered by the entire entertainment world and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Southern California for her involvement in motion pictures.
1987 Back to the Beach
1985 Lots of Luck
1978 Frankie and Annette: The Second Time Around
1967 Thunder Alley
1966 Fireball 500
1965 Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine
1965 How to Stuff a Wild Bikini
1965 Ski Party
1965 The Monkey's Uncle
1965 Beach Blanket Bingo
1964 Pajama Party
1964 Bikini Beach
1964 Muscle Beach Party
1964 The Misadventures of Merlin Jones
1963 Beach Party
1962 Elfego Baca: Six Gun Law
1962 The Golden Horseshoe Revue
1962 Escapade in Florence
1961 Babes in Toyland
1961 The Horsemasters
1953 Make Room for Daddy
1959 The Shaggy Dog
1958 The New Adventures of Spin and Marty
1958 The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca
1957 The Further Adventures of Spin and Marty
1957 Disneyland: The Fourth Anniversary Show
1955 The Mickey Mouse Club