Annette Funicello, the former child star whose squeaky-clean screen image made her a fan favorite on both the original Mickey Mouse Club and in a slew of “Beach Party” movies opposite Frankie Avalon, died Monday from complications of multiple sclerosis. According to Extra, Funicello — who went public with her MS diagnosis over two decades ago — had been in an MS coma for years. She was taken off life support earlier today.
Funicello was only 12 years old when she was hand-selected by Walt Disney to join The Mickey Mouse Club in 1955. Though she later joked that her vocal range is ”about three notes,” her screen presence made her the original show’s most popular cast member by far. Despite her self-perceived musical limitations, Funicello released a number of hit records as a teenager, including “Tall Paul” and “Pineapple Princess.” She went on to star in a series of six iconic “Beach Party” films released between 1963 and 1965.