Mickey Mouse Club Star, Annette Funicello, Dies At The Age Of 70

20130408-141621.jpgWe lost a treasured Disney princess today named Annette Funicello. Look at that picture – a beautiful lady inside and out!

I remember growing up to listening to her music and watching her movies. If you are a member of the baby-boomer era, how could you not resist the wholesome entertainment provided by Ms. Funicello and friends as they whisked you on their fun-loving, happy-go-lucky escapades?

This was a treasured time in my life and the Mickey Mouse Club peaked my interest in the Magic Of Disney – a world where everyone sang and danced and basically lived problem-free. Or, at the very least, could escape their problems.

Annette Funicello was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1987 and, while fighting this disease of the Central Nervous System, became a strong advocate and spokesperson for the treatment and increased awareness of this debilitating disease.

In an excerpt from the Los Angeles Times, Bob Iger, Disney’s chairman and chief executive, had this to say:

“Annette was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word ‘Mousketeer,’ and a true Disney legend. She will forever hold a place in our hearts as one of Walt Disney’s brightest stars, delighting an entire generation of baby boomers with her jubilant personality and endless talent. Annette was well known for being as beautiful inside as she was on the outside, and she faced her physical challenges with dignity, bravery and grace. All of us at Disney join with family, friends, and fans around the world in celebrating her extraordinary life.”

We will miss your radiant and carefree smile, Annette. Thank you the memories and for bringing so much joy and light into our lives. You were an inspiration until the very end.

The MCL community wish to extend their sincere condolences to Ms. Funicello’s family. May she Rest In Peace.

Source: The Los Angeles Times

About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

11 Responses to “Mickey Mouse Club Star, Annette Funicello, Dies At The Age Of 70”

  1. Oh My, Thanks Rosanne !

    I think she was my first TV crush when I was around 6 or 7. So Sad to hear. Thanks


  2. Aw so sweet BK! I loved her so much. Just a gem!!


  3. I was saddened to hear the news about the passing of Annette Funicello. It brought back happy memories of my childhood watching the Mickey Mouse Club on tv. I will always be grateful for those moments.

    Annette Funicello accepted her disease with grace and courage. She was brave and strong and worked tirelessly to educate people about multiple sclerosis. I read on Huffington Post that in 2004 she lost the ability to walk and in 2009 lost the ability to speak. Her husband and family were there to take care of her right to the end. She accepted her fate with a positive and inspiring attitude.

    I feel as though a piece of my childhood is now gone with the passing of this lovely lady. I am relieved to know that her suffering is now at an end and she can finally rest in peace.


  4. Mindy – so sad! It almost sounds like her illness progressed similar to ALS. She really suffered with this disease. I hope she is reading all the tributes to her from her special place in Heaven! She was a courageous and inspiring role model and, as you said, a piece of our childhood has left us.


  5. Now it’s time to say goodbye to all our family


    See ya real soon



    Because we love you


    Thanks for the memories Annette.

    Rest in Peace with the Lord.


  6. That does sound like the progression of ALS, doesn’t it?

    I think there are some similarities and overlaps with the neurological disorders. I’ve known a few people with ALS and one of them progressed more like Alzheimer’s than ALS.

    I admire her, as well as her family as I know this type of illness is very difficult for both patient and loved ones.


  7. Gene – so sweet. The memories. I loved the Mousketeers! And particularly, Annette!!


  8. That is strange for Alzheimer’s to rear it’s ugly head in an ALS patient. How awful would that be. Lord, help me! I lost a dear friend to ALS and I hope I never ever see anyone close to me stricken with this disease again. It was beyond horrible.


  9. I share so many memories of my childhood which coincide with the Mickey Mouse Club and later “Spin and Marty”. Annette was such a beautiful young lady and matured into a caring individual. I remember when she shared her MS secret because some reporter had inquired if she had been drinking. She opened up a door that had been quietly closed with different specials over the years showing the consequences of MS. I believe the recent one was in 2010 where she couldn’t walk or talk and had gone blind. May she now rest in peace. We won’t forget what she brought to our lives. Indeed, we have lost one of America’s Sweethearts.

    My sister-in-law died of ALS and was also so brave. Those of us that can walk, talk, see, hear, and communicate are to be considered luck as we age. Although, having seen what Alzheimers can do to family members, it does scare me. With budget cuts, I am afraid research for neurological disorders will be curtailed.

    Thank you Rosanne for the video of “Annette’s Voice” elsewhere on your blog.


  10. She really suffered. I just saw a video of her, her husband taking care of her during her final months. It seems very similar to ALS. Broke my heart. I am so glad that she is now at peace.

    And I am so sorry that your sister suffered from ALS. It must have been a heart wrenching experience for all of you. I can’t imagine anything worse. My sincerest condolences.


  11. It was my sister-in-law, but thank you for the kind thoughts. Her final communications were with blinking her eyes for yes or no. Indeed, it was heart wrenching.


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