See the update at the end of page 3 about a local blogger's pictorial tribute to Annette and funnymen busting out tweets.
ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 8, 1:51 P.M.: Annette Funicello today "died peacefully from complications due to multiple
sclerosis, a disease she battled for over 25 years," according to a statement from Disney. She was 70. Her rise to national prominence, which began with TV's The Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950s and continued with her Beach Blanket Bingo movies with Frankie Avalon in the 1960s, coincided with the opening of Anaheim's Disneyland, which is where she made one of her last public appearances.
Let's look back at the visits to the park over the years by the girl/woman described as "America's Sweetheart," the best-known Mouseketeer and Walt Disney's muse.
In 1961, she joins some fellows on Main Street USA to promote Win a Date With Annette, a Disney-proposed TV show. The park's grand opening was six years before:
In 1962, Funicello appeared with the Golden Horseshoe Revue:
A "Disneyland After Dark" segment featuring Funicello was part of the April 15, 1962, TV broadcast of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. Here's a promo card:
In 1958, Funicello (center) hung out at the park with Princess Sophia of Greece–and a chaperone (@corrected to reflect year given by Disneyland blog, which has posted even more photos of Annette at the park: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2013/04/remembering-annette-funicello-at-disneyland-park/):
In the late 1960s/early '70s, Funicello shot a TV commercial as the "Disney Princess" with model/actress Sandra Sullin, who shared laughs in the teacups. Sullin is now a Venice, CA artist:
Funicello and another Disney princess, Minnie Mouse, shared a hug during a 1986 visit to the park:
During her final years, Funicello was confined to a wheelchair. Here she shares a ride in a 1996 Disneyland parade with her Beach Blanket co-star Frankie Avalon. It was one of her final public appearances:
Here is video of her dancing in Tomorrowland with fellow Mouseketeer Bobby Burgess, probably from that "Disneyland After Dark" segment:
Here she is with actors John Forsythe and wee Drew Barrymore in Disneyland's 30th Anniversary Celebration, which aired Feb. 18, 1985, on NBC, was directed by John Landis and was nominated for two Emmys:
UPDATE, APRIL 9, 9:15 A.M.: Balboa Island author Ken Edwards has created a cool pictorial tribute to Annette Funicello on his 4d5 rpm blog (hat tip to Greg Topper!).
"America watched her grow up right before our eyes . . .," Edwards writes to introduce a series of photos that begin with this record cover:
The profile she strikes helps explain tweets from funnymen who came of age at that time . . .
Michael McKean @MJMcKean: I don't think I know any guys my age who were not at some time, on some level, in love with Annette Funicello. RIP.
Albert Brooks @AlbertBrooks: Annette did not get her due today because of Margaret. I don't need to tell you who was more important to a 12 year old boy.
. . . as well as one younger buck who really puts his, uh, finger on her appeal:
Jonah Ray @jonahray: RIP Annette Funicello: May the "A" and "E" on your sweater forever bend around the sides.