Annette Funicello

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Annette Joanne Funicello was born October 22, 1942 in Utica, NY. Her family moved to California when she was four years old, where she was later discovered at age 12 by Walt Disney as she performed in Swan Lake at a dance recital. Mr. Disney cast her for his new show, "The Mickey Mouse Club". Annette was a popular cast member and soon transitioned into music and film, quickly becoming a household name. Annette recorded her first song, "How Will I Know My Love" in 1958, after first singing it in a scene on The Mickey Mouse Club. Thousands of people called the studio wanting to buy the record after the episode aired. It was soon followed by "Tall Paul", "First Name Initial" and "Pineapple Princess", along with many others. During these early recordings, musician & producer Tutti Camarata developed the famous "Annette Sound", a method of double tracking her vocals for a richer, fuller sound, a process still widely used today. It was in 1959 that she made her big screen debut in Walt Disney’s "The Shaggy Dog", her first of several Disney films. In 1963 Annette starred in her first non Disney movie alongside Frankie Avalon in "Beach Party", the first of many in the iconic Beach Party series. She appeared in The Monkees' 1968 film, Head, and later, 1987's "Back To The Beach", which would ultimately be her last role. Annette's then recent diagnosis with multiple sclerosis and the symptoms of the disease would prove too difficult for her to continue acting. She hid the diagnosis until 1992, going public to correct rumors that her impairments were a result of alcoholism. In 1993, she opened the Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Disorders, to help find a cure for MS. She made her last public appearance in 1996 on an episode of “Biography”, about her life. After 15 years outside of the public eye, and nearly 25 years of battling the disease, Annette Funicello died on April 8, 2013 from complications of MS. Read more on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.