Monday, April 08, 2013

In Memoriam: Annette Funicello, 1942-2013



"She's the perfect girl next door, she doesn't have a bad bone in her body. She's the sweetest girl I know, and nothing's ever changed."
—Frankie Avalon

"Even sitting in a wheelchair, life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful."
—Annette Funicello


The Siren isn't much for 1960s beach movies, but she always feels a pang when a truly sweet soul has passed on.

(Both quotes from Swingin' Chicks of the 60s.)

13 comments:

Carrie Rickey said...

None sweeter. My ideal big sister.

Muscato said...

A star with a huge following in her day and a real sense of humor about herself - not the commonest of combos. Who can forget her on Pee Wee's Christmas Special, dutifully making potato-stamp cards?

Juanita's Journal said...

I saw her in person twice - at Disneyland, during the last decade. She was using a cane at the time. But it was a real thrill to see her in person. I used to watch the MICKEY MOUSE CLUB and her beach movies with Frankie Avalon when I was a kid.

DavidEhrenstein said...

A sweet soul indeed.

She gave joy to the world -- unlike Margaret Thatcher.

Dave Enkosky said...

Man, that's a bummer.

The Siren said...

I remember the news stories about her MS in the 90s but I had no idea she'd become so ill. A bummer indeed.

Lemora said...

I was devoted to the Original Mousketeers. In the fall of 1955, just after Disneyland opened "out in the country" in Anaheim, my parents and I went to a circus there, featuring the Mousketeers, Jimmy Dodd, and Big Roy. Annette and Darlene Gillespie were on a trapeze overhead, in ballerina costumes. I've never heard this referenced anywhere, but we were there. I was seven years old. Annette The Performer was not a favorite with me, and I've wondered why she was so popular. My friends and I were Karen Pendleton fans. The Funicello Mystique has always escaped me. But, I've always heard what a nice person she was, and MS is a terrible fate. RIP Annette.

Peter Nellhaus said...

I devotedly watched The Mickey Mouse Club back in the Fifties. And if you haven't seen it, Back to the Beach is fun, especially for the musical number by Annette with Fishbone.

mas82730 said...

She surfed and sang and her beehive never got wet. What a gal!

rcocean said...

I was too young for the Mickey Mouse Club and only saw her "Beach Movies" 20 years after they were made. I found them charming and I always liked Annette. She reminded me in a weird of way of Ruby Keeler. She wasn't the most talented performer but she had something, charm? Likability? Class?

But anyway, RIP.

The Siren said...

Mickey Mouse Club was before my time too and when I tried to watch re-runs I was bored to death. But I agree, Annette had something, probably all three of those things. It's unusual, though, to find any performer anywhere where absolutely NO ONE has anything bad to say. Not even Richard Burton. And she seems to embody some kind of fun, wholesome side of the 1960s, once that got swamped by the second half of the decade.

And as Mas points out, her beehive never got wet! Also, am I the only one fascinated by that manicure in the picture? Hard to catch a beach ball with those.

Vanwall said...

Disney wanted immutable, wholesome things to represent his vision. his will for a long-range imprint on society - one that certainly didn't represent his own private life - and he damned well knew how much influence media has - cartoons preserved on film; live-action movies that can be seen for many generations and generally have the same effects over time; Disneylands with an emphasis on constancy, to the point of animatronics displacing the real and mutable, even though his parks have evolved in relatively minor ways despite the settings in stone.

Annette was one such wholesome, and over time and memories, a rather immutable part of all that, and perhaps his most fortunate discovery - she was the real goods. My favorite thing about her when I was a kid, was that she wasn't blonde. I wasn't a beach movie fan, though, but few other stars had the same immediacy in just about every still photo, that she also had onscreen, and evidently in real life. Oh well, another part of childhood ends.

McMullen said...

My first childhood crush, and I'm sure most guys in my age group felt the same way. From all accounts a lovely human being and certainly not one who deserved her terribly sad end.