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12/30/13
 
ORDER NOW:  Annette Funicello - A Tribute to Walt Disney CD
 
 
Until today, Annette Funicello: A Tribute to Walt Disney was only available for purchase in the gift shop of the Walt Disney Family Museum - where the two-track CD debuted December 7th following an incredible program hosted by the museum in Annette's honor. Now you can have this never-before-relased treasure shipped conveniently to your home by ordering directly through our website! 
 
All proceeds from the sale of this album benefit the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases.  While the CD is being offered for a minimum donation of $10, we would certainly appreciate you considering one of the other donation levels available when placing your order.
 
Ordering information and product details are available by clicking the link below.  Supplies are limited. Thank you so much for your continued support!
 
 
 
 
12/15/13
 
AUCTION: New Items Added from the Personal Property of Annette Funicello
 
 
Just in time for the holidays, Saturday's Toys has listed some wonderful new treasures from Annette's personal jewelry, wardrobe and ephemera collections. 
 
With opening bids on magazines starting as low as $25 and jewelry and clothing pieces starting as low as $75, there are plenty of affordable options in this batch of offerings - making them perfect for gift-giving.
 
Each piece has been hand-selected by Annette's husband, Glen Holt for the exclusive benefit of The Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases.
 
Keep checking our auction listings for new additions throughout the month of December!
 
Please view current auction listings HERE.
 
 
12/4/13
 
COMING SOON
 
 
 
 STAY TUNED FOR MORE DETAILS ON HOW TO SECURE YOUR COPY!
 
 
 
11/20/13
 
Diane Disney Miller (1933 -2013)
 
 
It is with a heavy heart that all of us at the Annette Funicello Research Fund extend our condolences to the family of Diane Disney Miller.
 
Diane - the eldest daughter of Walt Disney - passed away yesterday from injuries sustained in a fall.  Like so many, the Annette Funicello family and Research Fund have been blessed by her friendship, kindness, generosity and philanthropic efforts.
 
Please visit the Walt Disney Family Museum website for more information on the life and passing of this incredible woman. 
 
 
11/14/13
 
Don't Forget: Shop Amazon.com and Support the AFRF This Holiday Season
Once again, the official start of the holiday shopping season is upon us!  While many will fight the crowds and lines at stores, a growing percentage of shoppers will choose to do some, if not all of their Christmas shopping online this year. 
 
Amazon.com is a popular stop for online shippers and we would like to remind you that by simply accessing their website from our Shop and Support page, a portion of your total order will benefit the work of The Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases.  What a great way to make a gift purchase that keeps on giving!  
 
11/11/13
 
Annette and MMC Related Memorabilia on Display at Calistoga, CA Museum
 
 
On Friday, November 8, 2013 the community of Calistoga, California gathered at the Sharpsteen Museum to celebrate the opening of it's latest exhibit: "Walt & Ben: Together Again". 
 
Artifacts on display are from the archive of Saturday'sToy's.com and pay tribute to museum founder: Ben Sharpsteen and his lengthy employment with Walt Disney (1929-1959).  The exhibit features rare documents from the Walt Disney Studios, animation art, rare Disneyland souvenirs and a collection of Mickey Mouse Club related memorabilia.  Included in the Mickey Mouse Club display is the Mickey Mouse vest Annette wore in the CBS television movie based on her life: A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.
 
The exhibit is open daily from 11am - 4pm and runs through April 30, 2014.
 
For more information and to view some great photos of the various treasures on display, please visit the Walt & Ben Facebook page HERE.
 
 
10/22/13
 
Honor Annette Today
 
 
On what would have been her 71st birthday, we remember Annette and the impact her life had on the lives of so many all over the world.  Singer, dancer, actress, first crush,teddy bear artist, friend, advocate, kind soul or "other"- however you best remember Annette, anyone who invited her into their hearts - I'm confident - is in some way better for it.
 
Please honor Annette's memory today by reflecting on these things and supporting her greatest dream by making a donation of ANY amount to her Research Fund.
 
 
  
10/15/13
 
 Year-Long 'Penny Campaign' to End in Seven Days
 
Believe it or not, it has been nearly a year since The Annette Funicello Research Fund launched it's year-long 'Penny Campaign' to emphasize how "every penny counts" and adds up to make a difference! 
 
October 22 - Annette's Birthday - will be the last day to participate in this fundraising campaign.  Now is the time to send in the pocket-change you have been collecting or to act on that initial or additional contribution you have intended to make but never have. No donation is too small.  EVERY penny really does count!  With only seven days remaining, we hope you will show your support and help bring us closer to achieving our fundraising goal.
 
Stay tuned in the coming months for the results of our combined efforts in this campaign, as well as news on the exciting things we are working on for 2014!

 
10/14/13
 
Annette's Lace Blouse Now Offered at New Price
 
 
The delicate lace blouse Annette wore for one of her final photo shoots in conjunction with her bear company is now being offered at a drastically reduced Buy it Now price.
 
This recognizable piece - as seen worn by Annette in the publicity photo above and in a photo with Marie Osmond - is in great condition and will make for a great keepsake or addition to your personal collection.
 
For more information and photos, please view the auction listing HERE.
 
Remember, all proceeds from the sale of this blouse will benefit the work of the Annette Funicello Research Fund.
 
 
9/24/13
 
Annette Featured in Fall Issues of Three Magazines
 
 
Three magazines are paying tribute to Annette by featuring her in their Fall issues - available now.
 
Disney twenty-three magazine remembers Annette in their Fall 2013 issue with a four-page article titled; Forever Annette. The article includes twelve photos and covers Annette's story from her days on the Mickey Mouse Club until her passing earlier this year. While this issue is only available to D23 club members, it can easily be found on the second-hand market.
 
Paper Doll Review magazine has a real treat for anyone who loves Annette!  In their current issue they have a four-page article on Annette which includes information on the various paper dolls released in her likeness over the course of her career.  Also included is a two-page article on Walt Disney's Babes in Toyland, in which Annette starred as Mary Quite Contrary.  Finally, on the back cover, readers will discover their own Annette paper doll, inspired by her role in Babes in Toyland. With plenty of pictures and lots to read, Annette's fans will want to be sure to pick this one up.
 
Teddy Bear and Friends magazine remembers Annette in an excellent 4-page article, which focuses not on the success she found in the television, film and music industry; but instead on her later career path as head of The Annette Funicello Collectible Bear Company.  Founded after going public with her MS diagnosis, Annette poured her heart into the design, marketing and selling of her award winning cuddly collectables.  This article is written from a fresh perspective, covering an important part of Annette's career that is often overlooked outside the world of bear collecting. 
 
ALSO, in case you missed it; FilmFax magazine #134 featured a six-page article on Annette titled: Remembering Annette Funicello From the Heart.  Included is a highly personal interview Annette did where she discusses her struggle with MS.  Issues are still available online.
 
 
 
9/23/13
 
Annette Remembered at the 2013 Emmy's
 
 
Did you watch the Emmy Awards show last night?  If you missed it, Annette was included in a photo montage of film and television personalities who passed away this year.
 
 
9/19/13
 
Disney Movie Club Releases Escapade in Florence to DVD
 
 
Classic Disney and Annette Funicello fans rejoice! Escapade in Florence has finally been released on DVD for the first time ever, exclusively through the Disney Movie Club!
 
Not since the infancy of the home VCR has this gem from 1962 been made available to home video audiences.  Unfortunately, if you are not a Disney Movie Club member you will have to track this title down on the second-hand market as it is not available in stores.
 
Originally released in two installments on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (Part 1: 9/30/62 and Part 2: 10/7/62) and theatrically overseas in 1963, Escapade is a great family picture full of mystery and adventure - beautifully filmed on location in Florence, Italy.  Viewing will be especially enjoyable for Annette's fans as we are treated to four memorable songs and the pleasure of watching Annette perform within the culture and surroundings of her Italian heritage!
 
Plot Summary:
 
Mystery and suspense follow Annette Funicello and Tommy Kirk as they play students studying in the enchanting city of Florence, Italy. As the two find romance among the city's magnificent art and architecture, they discover that her paintings are at the center of an elaborate art forgery ring involving Florence's most treasured masterpieces. Danger soon finds them when they uncover the mastermind behind the plot and they're thrown into an ancient dungeon. It's now up to Annette to save the day, but will help arrive in time? 
 
 
9/18/13
 
Walt Disney Family Museum to Hold Annette Funicello Tribute in December
 

The Walt Disney Family Museum will hold a special tribute to Annette Funicello on December 7, 2013 in the museum theater.  The program will be lead by Disney historian Don Peri and former Mouseketeer Sharon Baird.  There will be two shows; one at 11:00 AM and one at 3:00 PM. 
 
Tickets for this special event are currently available for purchase. Please visit the Walt Disney Family Museum website for further event details, ticket pricing and ordering information.
 
 
 
9/12/13
 
AUCTION UPDATE
 
 
Saturday's Toys has just listed more great items from Annette's wardrobe and personal ephemera collection.  
 
New pieces up for bid this week include a beautiful overcoat with feather collar and cuffs as well as a dress Annette wore for various public appearances, including the St Joseph parade in New Orleans and a Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony.  Also offered is a pair of Annette's dress shoes (the only pair slated for auction at this time) that would look great encased and displayed on a coffee table, mantle or bookcase.
 
Remember, all proceeds from the sale of these special items benefit the work of the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases.  BID TODAY!!
 
 
8/26/13
 
It's a Girl!!
 
Congratulations go out to Annette's youngest son Jason and his wife Lisa, who became the proud, first-time parents of a beautiful baby girl earlier this month!
 
Jordan Annette Gilardi was born on August 8, 2013 in Tulsa, Oklahoma weighing 8.4 pounds.  Jason notes that she is happy and healthy and "has lots of hair just like Grandma Annette".
 
 
8/23/13
 
 
 
Catching Up with Lorraine Santoli
 
Since resigning as Executive Director of The Annette Funicello Research Fund almost two months ago, Lorraine Santoli has finally found the time to pick up some projects of personal interest - and has already seen one of those projects through to completion.
 
The 10 Secrets to Organizing a Nonfiction Book - What to Do Before Writing One Word!, is the title of Lorraine's first kindle eBook publication, which became available for purchase this week. ($3.99 Download - Amazon.com) The book offers readers "a step-by-step process through 10 key secrets" to simplify the task of writing a non-fiction book.  If you do not have a kindle, simply download the free e-reader app on the books Amazon.com webpage to read on your computer.
 
With one eBook under her belt, Lorraine is already working on her second.  She also graciously continues to support Annette's Fund in an advisory role, offering her recommendations, knowledge and expertise from time-to-time as we move forward.
 
 
8/12/13
 
Annette Clothing Display at the D23 Expo
 
 
The jacket Annette wore during her interview on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show as well as the dress she wore for her 1986 wedding to Glen Holt were on display this past weekend at the D23 Expo.
 
  
8/8/13
 
Attending the D23 ExpoThis Weekend?
 
If so, be sure to visit the SaturdaysToys.com exhibit booth in the Collectors Forum (Exhibition Hall D; Booth 325), open from 9am to 7pm, Friday thru Sunday, August 9 - 11.  Annette's Fund will be represented there, featuring a special display which includes the jacket Annette wore during her interview on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show.  The jacket, donated by Annette's husband, Glen Holt is currently up for bid with all proceeds benefiting the work of the Annette Funicello Research Fund. 
 
In addition to the display and auction, Annette's granddaughter, Jill McDuffie will be representing the Fund at the booth on Sunday, August 11th.  Be sure to stop by and say hello!
 
 
8/5/13
 
VIDEO: Annette's Sally Jesse Raphael Show Interview
 
 
This is a video clip from Annette's interview on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show which aired on May 23,1994.
 
You can now place your bid on the very jacket Annette is wearing in the footage above  HERE. All proceeds benefit the work of the Annette Funicello Resarch Fund.
 
  
8/2/13
 
 AUCTION:  Jacket Worn by Annette on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show
 
 
Bidding is now open on a beautiful white, gold-studded jacket and accompanying belt, most recognizably worn by Annette Funicello when she appeared on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show on May 23. 1994 to promote her autobiography, A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes. 
 
This stunning piece from Annette's personal wardrobe has been donated by her husband, Glen Holt with all proceeds from its sale benefiting the work of the Annette Funicello Research Fund.  The 10-day auction begins today and runs until Monday, August 12, 2013. Saturday's Toys invites you to view this jacket in-person at their booth during the D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center August 9 - 11.
 
After establishing her Fund in 1993, Annette would occasionally donate personal items to be auctioned through her international fan club for the exclusive benefit of her organization.  Through our partnership with Saturday's Toys, the Annette Funicello Research Fund is proud to continue that tradition with this offering.
 
View this and other clothing items from Annette's personal wardrobe  HERE.
 
 
7/25/13
 
PHOTO ALBUM: Annette Funicello Stage Dedication
 
 
One month ago yesterday, friends and family gathered at the Walt Disney Studios to celebrate the life and legacy of Annette Funicello.  Click HERE to view a collection of photos taken that day.
 
 
7/21/13
 
Two Pieces of Annette's Wardrobe Up for Bid to Benefit Fund
 
 
 
Bidding is now open on a 'jungle' print blouse and a wool wrap direct from the wardrobe of Annette Funicello.  These item's were purchased and worn by Annette in the late 80's and early 90's, and have been offered for auction by her husband, Glen Holt to benefit the work of the Annette Funicello Research Fund.
 
After establishing her Fund in 1993, Annette would occasionally donate personal items to be auctioned through her international fan club for the exclusive benefit of her organization.  Through our partnership with Saturday's Toys, the Annette Funicello Fund is proud to continue that tradition with these offerings.
 
Auctions run through July 28, 2013.  Please view each listing HERE for further details and information.
 
  
7/17/13
 
VIDEO: Soundstage 1 Rededicated to Annette Funicello
 
LaughingPlace.com did a wonderful job covering the Annette Funicello Stage dedication ceremony, and today we wanted to share that footage with our website visitors.
 
You can watch the full re-dedication ceremony in the video above as well as interviews with a few of Annette's good friends and co-stars who were in attendance that day below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6/28/13
 
Soundstage 1 Rededicated to Annette Funicello
 

On Monday, June 24, Soundstage 1 at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California was renamed the Annette Funicello Soundstage in honor of the Disney and Hollywood legend. On-hand for the ceremony were family, friends and former co-stars.  
The soundstage rededication was followed by a private memorial/celebration of life program for Annette at the studio theater with a reception on the studio lawn afterward. 
Check back for additional photos and video footage of the days events.


6/6/13

VIDEO: Rare Annette Country Album Interview - Segment 3
 
 
Today we bring you the third and final installment of rare footage from Annette's interview promoting her country album in 1984.  This, in addition to segments 1 and 2 can be viewed anytime on our YouTube channel.
 
 
5/29/13
 
Have you met Mick?
 
A little over a month ago, Glen was given a puppy from his son, Mike and his wife. Glen named him Mick.  Today we share the latest pictures of Glen's new buddy.  He sure is growing fast! 
 
 
Glen's Granddaughter Jericho, Mick, and Glen
 
 
 
Mick
 
 
 
Mick and Jericho
 
 
 
 
5/28/13
 
Shopping and Supporting The Annette Funicello Research Fund
 
You may remember that the Annette Funicello Research Fund is in the midst of a year-long Penny Campaign which emphasizes how every penny of every contribution, despite it's size, adds up to make a difference.
 
One shining example of this is how our friends and supporters have been shopping Amazon.com through annetteconnection.com in increasing numbers. Over the last two months alone, the Fund has received hundreds of dollars from sales made by people like you who simply accessed Amazon.com through Annette's website when making their purchases!  That's right, hundreds of people participating in this fundraiser has resulted in hundreds of dollars for neurological disease research!
 
If you are not familiar with this easy way to support the efforts of the Annette Funicello Research Fund, please visit our Shop and Support page for more information on this and other current fundraisers!  
 
 
  
5/17/13
"Thank You", Friends
 
A BIG, sincere "Thank You" to all who showed their love and support for Annette and her cause by making a contribution to her Research Fund in the month of April.  We have updated our Donor Recognition page with the names of those who made direct monetary contributions last month. 
 
Annette's family and all of us at the Research Fund greatly appreciate your support as we move forward and work to carry the dreams Annette had for her organization into reality.
 
 
5/13/13
 
VIDEO: Golden Horseshoe Annette Performs 'Mr. Piano Man'
 
 
Orlando-based animator Bob Duane worked his magic and has brought to life one of Kevin Kidney's most popular Annette inspired paper art pieces; Golden Horseshoe Annette, in this entertaining musical tribute!  
 
Please visit Funny Business Studio for the back story on how this wonderful piece came to be created!
 
Don't forget, you can purchase a variety of products featuring Kevin Kidney's wonderful Annette inspired creations (including Golden Horseshoe Annette) HERE.
 
 
 
5/8/13
 
Some Candid and Thoughtful Tributes You Might Have Missed

The news of Annette's passing one month ago today prompted various reactions from Annette's fans and admirers around the world.  Her music, TV shows and films were revisited by many. Warm memories were shared, heart-felt condolences sent, and donations made in support of her biggest dream.  As countless mainstream media sources paid tribute to Annette's life and career, individuals took to Facebook,Youtube, Twitter, and their personal blogs to express and reflect openly on the worlds loss of one of it's greatest sweethearts.  
 
Today we would like to share a few of these candid and thoughtful pieces that you may have missed below.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5/7/13
 
VIDEO: Rare Annette Country Album Interview - Segment 2
 
 
Today we have the second installment of our video series featuring rare footage of Annette promoting her country album in 1984.  
 
 
4/27/13
 
VIDEO: Rare Annette Country Album Interview Footage from 1984
 
 
With copies of the Annette Funicello Country Album currently available for sale to benefit Annette's research fund, we thought you might enjoy viewing some rare footage of Annette promoting the record in 1984.
 
This is the first of our three part series.  Check back next Saturday for part two. 
 
You can view this and other videos anytime on our YouTube channel!
 
 
4/25/13
 
AUCTION:  Jewelry Set Promoted by Annette in 1965 Ad
 
 
Looking for a conversation piece? We have one for you!  Just listed for Auction by Saturday's Toys is a jewelry set that was promoted by Annette in a 1965 advertisement for Sarah Coventry Jewelry.  The ad campaign was a tie-in with Annette's final theatrical release for Disney,The Monkeys Uncle, in which she famously sang the film's theme song during the opening credits backed by The Beach Boys.  Annette is also seen wearing this jewelry set on the cover of her 1965 album; Golden Surfin' Hits
 
Extremely difficult to locate today, these vintage pieces are available together in one auction for a the low starting bid of $99.99!  Auction, includes a black and white photo of the original ad, a color photo of Annette wearing the bracelet, earrings and brooch, as well as a 10 page article about all the products Annette has been spokesperson for over the years.  
 
Whether you wear them or display them, these pieces have a great history and story to tell! 
 
100% of the proceeds from this auction will benefit The Annette Funicello Resarch Fund for Neurological Diseases! 
 
Pictures and details are available HERE.  HAPPY BIDDING!!!
 
 
 
4/23/13
 
 
AUCTION: Photo Autographed by Jimmie Dodd and Mouseketeers in 1955 - 1956
 
This vintage 8x10 photo of everyone's favorite head Mouseketeer was personalized and hand-signed by Jimmie Dodd.  Making this piece especially desirable are the additional signatures of popular Mouseketeers Annette Funicello, Tommy Cole, and Doreen Tracey.  All four autographs were obtained during the first season of The Mickey Mouse Club (1955 - 1956). 
 
This exceptional find was donated by a generous fan to be auctioned with all proceeds benefiting The Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases. 
 
Auction ends April 29, 2013.  For additional information or to place a bid, please click HERE.
 
 
 
4/14/13
 
ME-TV Remembers Annette Funicello Today
 
 
Further information and video available HERE.
 
All five of Annette's Make Room for Daddy guest star appearances are available on the shows Season 6 DVD set.  Order through Amazon.com by clicking the link below or the Amazon.com icon on our Shop and Support Page, and as always, a percentage of your orders total will benefit The Annette Funicello Research Fund.
 
ORDER HERE
 
 
4/12/13
 
 
 
AUCTION:  Hand-Written and Signed Letter from Annette Funicello
 

Saturday’s Toys is pleased to offer, on behalf of the Annette Funicello Research Fund, an ORIGINAL hand-written and signed letter from Annette Funicello to a friend.  Annette starts the letter by poking fun at herself.  “I’m writing this while working in the school office  ……. allows me to contribute my sec’t services. (Ha – Ha)”  As the top bidder will see, it’s a newsy letter from one friend to another.  

Written in red ink, the 8.5" x 11" letter is dated 1/27/86 and is accompanied by the original Saint Cyril’s School envelope, addressed in Annette’s hand with “A. Gilardi” (her married name) written above the schools return address.  

Personal correspondences from Annette are almost never found in the marketplace.  They are usually saved by those who received them, as this letter has been for so many years.  “The only reason I can give this up is because I know she would want me to”, says Lou. “I hope it raises a ton of money for her fund.”
 
Bidding begins with a low starting bid of $49.99,  It is a 7 day auction that will end on April 19, 2013.  100% of the proceeds will benefit Annette's research fund!
 
View this auction and other items available for sale to benefit The Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases HERE. HAPPY BIDDING!!!
 
 

 
Video Reflections and Tributes
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Check back for future news and updates...
 
 
 
4/11/13
 
Cards & Condolences
 
Annette's husband, Glen Holt, has asked that if you are wishing to send a sympathy card in memory of her passing, to please consider taking that cost for a card and sending it to Annette's research fund instead. While he certainly appreciates the cards, he feels that every dollar counts and he'd rather see those dollars help those with MS.
 
Please also know that you can communicate your thoughts and condolences to Annette's family on the Annette Fund Facebook page or privately through this website by sending an email to webmaster@annetteconnection.com.  All messages will be forwarded to her husband and children.
 
Thank you so much and please check back for future news and updates.
 
 
 

 
4/10/13
 
 
 
Select Media Published Yesterday in Observance of Annette's Passing
 
 
 
Note from the Website Administrator
 
In the midst of grieving the loss of our beloved Annette Funicello, I did want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has shared their memories and conveyed their condolences via email through this website.  Your messages of support are being received and read by Annette's family and are greatly appreciated.   
 
If you have emailed this website with a question, please accept my apologies for the delay in response.  Due to the large volume of mail we are currently receiving, it is taking a bit longer than usual to address your questions.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.
 
Also, the official press release regarding Annette's passing is now available by clicking "PRESS RELEASE"  on the home page  of the website under the memoriam graphic. 
 
Please check back for future news and updates.
 
  
4/8/13
 
Beloved Mouseketeer and Iconic Teen Star Annette Funicello Dies at Age 70
 
BURBANK, Ca., April 8, 2013 - Actress Annette Funicello, long-time Disney and Beach Party star, passed away on Monday April 8 at Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield, CA, at the age of 70.  She died peacefully from complications due to Multiple Sclerosis, a disease she battled for over 25 years. Beloved by television viewers in the 50s for her stint on Disney's original The Mickey Mouse Club, and by film buffs for her numerous roles in a series of popular teen-oriented movies in the 60s, Funicello became a pop culture icon.

Commenting on her passing, Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said, "Annette was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word Mousketeer, and a true Disney Legend.  She will forever hold a place in our hearts as one of Walt Disney’s brightest stars, delighting an entire generation of baby boomers with her jubilant personality and endless talent.  Annette was well known for being as beautiful inside as she was on the outside, and she faced her physical challenges with dignity, bravery and grace.  All of us at Disney join with family, friends, and fans around the world in celebrating her extraordinary life."

Diane Disney Miller, daughter of Walt Disney, added, "Everyone who knew Annette loved and respected her.  She was one of the loveliest people I've ever known, and wasalways so kind to everyone.  She was also the consummate professional,and had such great loyalty to my father.  Annette will always be very special to me and Ron.”  Diane’s husband, Ron Miller, who helmed the Disney company in the 1980s and worked with Annette when he was a young assistant on The Mickey Mouse Club, recalled, “She was always in good spirits and ready to help out if she needed to step in when something unexpected happened.”

Oscar®-winning composer and Disney Legend Richard Sherman, who, with his late brother Robert, wrote many of Annette's biggest song hits, said, "Annette's sweet, unassuming spirit, her love of people, and her capacity to exude kindness and good feelings to everyone she met was part of her beautiful charisma. Because the songs we wrote for her brought us to the attention of Walt, Bob and I always referred to Annette as our 'lucky star.’  My wife, Elizabeth, joins me in sending a heartfelt aloha with much love to our 'Pineapple Princess.'"

Fellow Mouseketeer and long-time friend Sharon Baird observed, "Throughout all the years we were friends she never changed from that sweet person who cared so much about others.  She always had time for everyone; family, friends and fans alike.  It’s no wonder she was America’s sweetheart."

Born October 22, 1942, in Utica, New York, Funicello and her family moved to Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley when she was four years old.  She was discovered by Walt Disney at age 13 while dancing the lead in Swan Lake at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank and he invited her to audition for his new children’s TV series called The Mickey Mouse Club and was hired on the spot to become a Mouseketeer.  The show debuted on October 3, 1955 and Annette soon became the most popular member of the group.  The series ran for three original seasons and in reruns through the 1990s.

After leaving the Mickey Mouse Club, Funicello was the only Mouseketeer to remain under contract to Disney and appeared on the TV shows Zorro (1957), The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca (1958), and starred in the Disney feature films The Shaggy Dog (1959), Babes in Toyland (1961), The Misadventures of Merlin Jones (1964), and The Monkey's Uncle (1965).

In the early 1960s, Annette starred in a series of beach party movies with teen idol Frankie Avalon, including Beach Party (1963), Muscle Beach Party (1964), Bikini Beach (1964), Beach Blanket Bingo (1965), and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965). During this time, she recorded a series of hit top-40 pop singles, including "Tall Paul," "First Name Initial," "How Will I Know My Love," and "Pineapple Princess."  Her string of successful record albums included such favorites as "Hawaiiannette" (1960), "Italiannette" (1960), and "Dance Annette" (1961).

In 1987, Funicello again teamed up with Frankie Avalon to co-produce and star in Paramount's Back to the Beach as parents of a pair of troublesome teenagers. In 1989 and 1990, Avalon and Funicello staged a nostalgic concert tour, performing the beach party music and pop hit singles they made famous in the 1960s.

In 1987, Funicello was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a degenerative neurological disease and in 1992 went public with her illness.  Later that year, she established The Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases.  It is dedicated to funding research into the cause, treatment and cure of multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases and continues to be an active charity. 

Despite battling MS, in the 1990’s Annette launched The Annette Funicello Teddy Bear Company, marketing a line of collectible bears on QVC, and developed her own perfume line, Cello, by Annette.  In 1992, on her 50th birthday, she was named a Disney Legend.  However, as she became more debilitated by MS, Annette retreated from public appearances in the late 1990s and has been cared for since that time by her second husband, rancher Glen Holt, who she married in 1986.  She was previously married to Jack Gilardi from 1965 until their divorce in 1981.   She has three children from her first marriage; Gina, Jack Jr. and Jason, and three young grandchildren.

Summing up the life of the iconic star, Diane Disney Miller quoted a verse from Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty,” that she felt “seemed to have been written for Annette:

 She walks in beauty, like the night

 Of cloudless climes and starry skies, 

 And all that's best of dark and bright

 Meet in her aspect and her eyes

 Thus mellow'd to that tender light 

 Which Heaven to gaudy Day denies.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Annette’s memory can be made to The Annette Funicello Research Fund at annetteconnection.com.

 

 
3/22/13
 
Webpage Recognizing AFRF Donors Launched Today
 
Today we launch the Friends of the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases page of our website.  Here we acknowledge by name all who have made direct monetary contributions to Annette's research fund on or after October 1, 2012.  The page will be updated on a monthly basis.  Giving level positions reflect an individuals total contribution to the Research Fund over the course of a fiscal year.  If you have made a direct donation to the Annette Funicello Research Fund and have not been acknowledged on this page, or wish to have your name removed, please email us at webmaster@annetteconnection.com.
 
Sincere thanks to everyone who has donated so far.  We are proud to acknowledge your generosity and support.
 
 
 
3/18/13
 
JUST RELEASED: AFRF Public Service Announcement
 
Please take a moment to view the new PSA for the Annette Funicello Research Fund. The piece features Annette's friends: actress, Shelley Fabares and original Mouseketeers Sharon Baird, Bobby Burgess and Doreen Tracey. 
 
Please share with your friends and family and consider a donation today.
 
 
  
 
 
 
3/11/13
 
Encouraging News on Annette From Her Long-Time Dr.
 
Last week, Annette's husband, Glen, took Annette to see her long-time doctor who has cared for her throughout her 25 year battle with Multiple Sclerosis.  For the first time since her CCSVI treatment, he witnessed some improvement in Annette's condition. We would like to share his observations with you below.  Please continue to keep Annette in your thoughts and pray for her continued healing.
 
"Glen brought in Annette today for a follow-up visit. Since my last visit with her following the CCSVI procedure, her condition generally appeared stable, and Glen noted that her swallowing remained improved. It was my personal observation today, that she seemed much more responsive to my verbal conversation with her. She made clear eye contact with me suggesting improvement in both her vision and cognition that had been damaged by the severity of her chronic progressive MS. She clearly was trying to respond affirmatively to yes and no questions with appropriate facial movements. I have not seen this degree of attentiveness and responsiveness by her in years. It was quite heartening.

While MS can certainly fluctuate in it's severity in neurological deficits on it's own without any intervention, and Annette's case remains one that is advanced and severe, it is hopeful that the improvements noted by Glen, and now myself may suggest some clinical benefit to Annette from the procedure. If the improvements noted are due to CCSVI in a patient with such advanced disease, this gives even more hope for even greater benefit to those patients with chronic progressive MS who have less advanced disease, to stabilize and improve their conditions before their neurological deficits become more permanent and severe."
 
 

3/9/13
 
"Annette's Story" to Re-Air Tonight on CTV
 
CTV will re-air, "Annette's Story", the W5 exclusive on Annette and her battle with multiple sclerosis, at 7PM tonight.  If you live in Canada, please be sure to watch!
 
 
  
2/28/13
 
LISTEN: New AFRF Public Service Announcement
 
 
 
2/9/13
 
Annette's Fund Offering Matching Grant for Pediatric MS
 
The Annette Funicello Research Fund is supporting the research efforts of Dr. Robert Zivadinov of the University at Buffalo with a matching grant.  The Fund will match each gift dollar for dollar up to $7,500.  Contributions will allow Dr. Zivadinov and his team at the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center to learn more about Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis. 
 
For more information or to make a donation, please click HERE.  
 
 
 
2/7/13
 
 
 
Saturday's Toys Now Accepting Mail Orders for Country Album
 
Don't have an Ebay account and would like to order one of Annette's Country Albums?  No problem! Visit our Shop and Support page to download and print your mail-in order form.  A direct link to purchase online is available on that page as well!  Don't miss out on adding one of these rare albums direct from Annette's personal archive to your collection today!  
 
100% of the proceeds from the sale of these albums support the work of the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases!
 
 
 
2/2/13
 
 
 
Annette Selling Albums to Benefit Her Research Fund
 
Recently discovered after being carefully stored away in her home for years, a limited number of Annette’s own, sealed copies of her country album are being made available to fans and collectors exclusively through Saturday’s Toys.  The albums are being offered for $50 each (plus shipping and handling) to benefit The Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases. Albums will come with a Certificate of Authenticity, hand-signed by Annette’s husband Glen Holt, and a special gold foil seal will be affixed to the back of the record album’s to identify each as having been the property of Hollywood legend Annette Funicello.
 
Secure your copy today!  ORDER NOW
 
 
About the Album

Distributed under the Starview Records label in 1984, The Annette Funicello Country Album was Annette’s first solo LP release in twenty years.  The idea for the album was conceived after her first country inspired single, The Promised Land was released to radio stations the previous year.  After the single and it’s B-Side; In Between and Out of Love Again received warm reception and sufficient radio play, it was decided that a return to the recording studio was warranted to produce a full length album.  Annette packed her bags and left Los Angeles, where the first two songs had been recorded and headed to Nashville, Tennessee.  At Hot Licks Studio she completed ten additional tracks, mostly country standards, to create the finished twelve- track LP.

Annette told the press at the time that it was her first visit to Nashville and that she was unfortunately too busy to do much sightseeing.  She did however get to visit the Grand Ole Opry House and stand on the section of the stage from the old Ryman Auditorium, which is revered by so many.  She also enjoyed an Italian dinner with one of her favorite country singers, Barbara Mandrell.  While in Nashville, Annette gifted the sweatshirt she wore on the Mouseketeer’s 25th anniversary show to the Country Music Foundation archives as well as No. 1 of the Limited Edition version of her country album.

While the Annette Funicello Country Album would turn out to be her final solo release, it was not her last trip to the recording studio.  It was while doing promotion for this album that Annette first spoke of the possibility of co-producing a big screen reunion with her friend Frankie Avalon. The project she spoke of would bring a singing and dancing Annette back to theaters three years later, with the release of Back to the Beach.
 
 
 
1/28/13
 
Annette the Topic of Disney Podcast
 
The Mousetalgia Podcast tipped it's ears to Annette on their recent show, where vintage Annette articles were shared, favorite Annette songs recalled, and an excerpt from her autobiography; A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes, read. Former Disney artist Kevin Kidney was brought in later in the show and provided a very entertaining interview, sharing the inspirations behind the Annette paper art he created for The Annette Funicello Research Fund as well as the story of how he was chosen to design a one-of-a-kind 'Disney' cane, gifted to Annette by the Walt Disney Company following her going public with her MS diagnosis.  
 
You can listen to the complete episode HERE.  (The Annette segment begins around the 22:40 mark)
 
 
  
1/12/13
 
Annette's Fund Expanding It's Research Efforts in 2013
 
With the kickoff of the New Year, The Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases is pleased to announce that we will be broadening the scope of our grants. Our plan is to not only focus on MS but also on a larger spectrum of neurovascular disease research as it relates to disorders such as ALS, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative conditions. The Annette Funicello Research Fund Science Review Board of physicians and scientists, specifically created to synergistically share and build upon each other's research, is currently involved in new and previously unexplored investigations of the neurodegenerative disease process. We are hopeful that this research will ultimately unlock new pathways to treatments and yes, even cures. While we may be a "little guy" in the overall scheme of research, our Science Review Board is cutting-edge, forward-thinking, and eager to go where conventional thinking does not.

While we are excited about the current work being done by our team, we need your support to make a difference. Please start 2013 with a donation to The Annette Funicello Research Fund. We will soon be posting the list of grants that the Fund awarded in 2012 so that you can see for yourself where your contributions are going. It has always been Annette and Glen's dream to bring together great scientific minds to share their knowledge for the benefit of all, most importantly to those who suffer from these tragic diseases. Your donation counts.
 
 

1/6/13
 
 
 
Cartoon Brew Shows Love for Annette, AND Paper Art
 
Cartoon Brew, a website for people working in the film animation business, showed their love of Annette and Kevin Kidney's Annette paper art on their website yesterday.  Click HERE to read!
 
View all of the cute and cool Annette paper art merchandise by going to the Shop and Support page of our website!  Sincere thanks to everyone who has placed an order already!
 
 
 
1/5/13
 
 
 
Kevin Kidney's Annette Art Featured in LA Magazine
Kevin Kidney's fantastic Annette inspired artwork, which is available on a large selection of products being sold to benefit the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases, was featured in Los Angeles Magazine yesterday!  Click HERE to view the write-up. 
 
To order products featuring all five of the different Annette pieces Kevin created, visit the Annette's Place storefront on our Shop and Support page!  All proceeds from the sale of these items benefit Annette's research fund.
 
 
 
 
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ANNETTECONNECTION.COM is the official website of Annette Funicello and The Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases.