Funicello, who found fame as a Mouseketeer and who went on to star in a variety of beach movies with Frankie Avalon, has died from complications related to Multiple Sclerosis. She was 70.
Funicello was the biggest star to emerge from the original incarnation of the Mickey Mouse Club television series, which she joined at its inception in 1955. She continued to make movies for Disney into the 1960s, including “The Shaggy Dog,” “Babes in Toyland” and “The Monkey’s Uncle.”
Her best-known film work came in a series of beach films with Frankie Avalon, including “Beach Party” and “Beach Blanket Bingo.” In 1987, she and Avalon reunited to play the parents of beachgoing kids in “Back to the Beach.”
She also recorded music and had a few hit singles, including “Tall Paul.”
Funicello was diagnosed with MS in 1987 and made few public appearances after the 1990s.
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