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 On July 17, 1955 Annette Funicello made her television debut during the live broadcast of Disneyland's opening day ceremonies.  She participated in a song and dance routine promoting the upcoming debut of Walt Disney's new television show, The Mickey Mouse Club.  Following the shows premier on Monday, October 3, 1955, The Mickey Mouse Club became an immediate hit.  Its army of small, amateur mouse-eared stars took the country by storm.  It wasn't  long before the young audience of boys and girls developed a particular interest in the little dark haired girl named Annette.  Just as she had appealed to Walt Disney himself, when he discovered her at a dance recital, Annette emerged as a favorite among many children across the country, catapulting her into television stardom.  As a result she appeared on numerous magazine covers and a variety of Disney branded merchandise.  Mr. Disney took advantage of her talents and popularity by featuring her in several Mickey Mouse Club serials, such as The Further Adventures of Spin and Marty and The New Adventures of Spin and Marty.  He eventually gave her a twenty episode serial of her own, simply titled Annette, during what would be the shows final season.  Following the cancellation of The Mickey Mouse Club in 1959, Annette was the only mouseketeer to remain under contract with Disney.
Walt continued to showcase his young star in other TV projects, such as Zorro, and in movies and specials featured on the various incarnations of his weekly television show.  While under contract with Disney, Annette worked on outside projects as well, appearing on popular television shows such as Make Room for Daddy, American Bandstand, Wagon Train, Burks Law, Hullaballoo, The Ed Sullivan Show, and Bob Hope's Thanksgiving Special.  By 1967 Annette had become a wife and mother and her focus shifted from her career to her family.  Although she had completely walked away from other aspects of her career, Annette never left television.  While staying busy being a mom she would agree to guest star on a large number of popular shows and specials over the next two decades such as Fantasy Island, Love American Style, The Love Boat, Growing Pains, and Full House to name a few.  She was the popular spokeswoman for Skippy Peanutbutter for nine years from the mid 70's through the early 80's and she took part in countless television, radio, and magazine interviews.
In 1992 Annette founded the award winning Annette Funicello Bear Company which produced collectable designer teddy bears.  She personally showcased her bear collections on QVC, much of the time with popular host Mary Beth Roe.  During these years Annette also did numerous interviews on news and talk shows promoting her autobiography as well as bringing attention to MS and the need for research by sharing her personal story and struggles with the disease.  Annette appeared in her latest role, as herself, in the CBS Television Movie A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes, based on her autobiography.  It first aired on her birthday, October 22, 1995.  




ANNETTECONNECTION.COM is the official website of Annette Funicello and The Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases.