(RxWiki News) Famed "Mouseketeer" and beach-bound movie star, Annette Funicello, has died. She was 70 years old.
Funicello was best known as one of the early cast members of Disney's "The Mickey Mouse Club" and for her roles in many beach-themed movies of the 1960s.
After her 1987 diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, the actress and pop culture icon became a strong advocate for treatment of the debilitating disease.
In a statement, Bob Iger, Disney's chairman and chief executive, said, "Annette was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word 'Mouseketeer,' 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 word in celebrating her extraordinary life."
When Funicello was just 12 years old, Walt Disney saw her perform the lead role in "Swan Lake" at her Burbank, California dance school. Soon after, she joined "The Mickey Mouse Club."
Funicello became one of the prized Mouseketeers, as members of the show were called. Her popularity even gave rise to her own serial television show called "Annette."
Like many Mouseketeers who followed, Funicello's career skyrocketed. She appeared in a number of Disney feature films, including "The Shaggy Dog," "Babes in Toyland," "The Misadventures of Merlin Jones" and "The Monkey's Uncle."
She later went on to star in the 1963 low budget comedy "Beach Party" and then "Muscle Beach Party," "Bikini Beach" and "Beach Blanket Bingo."