If you’re like us, we didn’t really know who Annette Funicello was prior to a couple of months ago what it was announced that she’d passed away. The various news outlets exploded with stories about her passing and the more and more we read about who she was and what role she played for The Walt Disney Company, the more and more we realized just how much magic she contributed to an already magical company.
At the heart of it all, Annette was an American actress and singer who got her start as a child performer whom Walt Disney himself discovered and eventually put in a variety show called the “Mickey Mouse Club” which started on TV back in 1955. As one of the original “Mouseketeers” on the show, Annette skyrocketed to fame for that generation and ultimately went on to bigger things as a performer that made her mark in every role she took. But she never forgot her roots with Disney.
In 1992, she was recognized for her contributions to the Company by being named a Disney Legend, one of the highest honors the Company can bestow. She continued to perform strong into the late 1990s and early 2000s until her passing just two months ago on April 8.
Earlier this week, The Walt Disney Company made sure that her legacy and contributions would not be forgotten by renaming one of their iconic soundstages after her on The Walt Disney Studios lot. On hand to celebrate the renaming this past Monday was Disney CEO Bob Iger (who had a crush on Annette!), the surviving members of the Funicello family, and some of the original Mouseketeers that joined Annette at the beginning of her career.
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Goodbye, Annette – See ya real soon!