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Annette Funicello Was Unable to Eat, Drink And Talk during Her Last Years — Her Husband Never Gave up Hope.

Annette Funicello, a Disney celebrity, captivated the hearts of many when she became a Mouseketeer on the first “Mickey Mouse Club” at the age of 12.

The New York-born actress and dancer had begun dancing and music training to help her conquer shyness, yet she had no idea that it would lead to nearly instant recognition.

But, as quickly as she soared to popularity, she vanished from our screens in the late 1980s, hiding an illness that ended her profession and that she kept hidden from friends and family for many years.

Born to Italian-American parents in Utica, New York when Funicello was four years old, her family relocated to Southern California. To combat her timidity, she attended dancing and music classes there.

Walt Disney spotted Funicello at a dance recital and she made her on-screen debut as a Mouseketeer on the inaugural Disney TV show “The Mickey Mouse Club.”

As per her Disney Legends biography, Funicello signed a seven-year deal with Disney and by the conclusion of the first season, she was receiving 6,000 fan letters per month – more than any other Mouseketeer.

Her grin enchanted all with her pleasant and cheerful demeanor, and she stood out from the rest of her co-stars on the program – with more than a nose.

She was every teenage boy’s fantasy and their first crush at the moment. During a time when even the most famous adult entertainers were not named by their first names, everybody understood who one meant when one mentioned “Annette.”

Several girls relate with her since she was a beautiful woman who was also a talented actress and singer, as well as a terrific example to young individuals.

The young actress was also given her own 19-episode series, “Annette,” in which she portrayed an orphan child from the country who moves to the city to live with her uncle and aunt.

Following her Disney career, she became a teen idol, appearing in a series of Beach Party movies alongside Frankie Avalon, which was so popular that she was offered a new seven-year deal with American International Pictures.

Funicello dated Canadian-American singermusician Paul Anka, who described her as as charming and talented as she was on the big screen.

There was never anything unpleasant spoken about her, he stated.

All of a sudden, you had this cute-looking, charming individual with a tremendous spirit who arose and stood out from all, he continued. Individuals were drawn to her endearing nature and honesty.

They split up five years later, and Funicello wed Anka’s agent Jack Gilardi, with whom she had 3 kids: Gina, Jack, and Jason.

They divorced 18 years later, and Funicello married thoroughbred trainer Glen Holt, who was 12 years her senior, like Gilardi.

Funicello reconnected with Frankie Avalon for a series of promotional performances to publicize their film Back to the Beach when she was 45 years old. She had dizziness, migraines, and balance problems and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She kept her illness a secret from her family and friends for the next five years.

To dispel allegations that she had a drinking problem, she openly publicized her MS diagnosis in 1992, and the following year she established the Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Disorders at the California Community Foundation.

Funicello appeared in a Disney TV program commemorating the 40th anniversary of “The Mickey Mouse Club” in 1995, but she remained out of the public spotlight for the following 15 years as her disease caused her to lose her ability to walk and speak; she even needed a feeding tube.

Holt, who has been with his wife since her diagnosis, asserted that when she was diagnosed he assured her, he would look after her and do whatever he can.

Her husband tried all he could, spending the next 25 years researching and testing every option that might assist his wife, from surgery to implanting electrodes in her brain to an interventional radiologist, all while hoping that his wife’s health would improve.

He remarked that he noticed differences. When one can see some improvements, as they usually say, where there is smoke, there is fire, he sees something really constructive that has to be investigated further.

However, on April 8, 2013, the star died at the age of 70.

Annette was and always will be a treasured part of the Disney family, associated with the phrase Mouseketeer, and a real Disney legend, said Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger in a statement announcing her death.

She will always be remembered as one of Walt Disney’s greatest stars, enthralling an entire generation of baby boomers with her exuberant attitude and boundless skill.

Annette was recognized for being as stunning on the inside as she was on the outside, and she confronted her physical problems with respect, courage, and elegance.

Annette Funicello was adored by everybody! She was stunning and provided a wonderful example for other youngsters. I like her work on Mickey Mouse Clubb and in films with Frankie Avalon. It was heartbreaking that she had MS and had endured so much!

Such a lovely person who ought not to have been subjected to such a horrible position for so long. Let’s pray she has found peace. Please share this with your loved ones.

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