Annette Funicello of Mickey Mouse Club and “Beach Party” fame, who had a role in segments filmed at the Disney-owned Golden Oak Ranch on Placerita Canyon Road, “died peacefully from complications due to multiple sclerosis” at Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield, according to a statement released by the Walt Disney Company, Monday. She was 70.
Annette was first cast as a Mouseketeer in 1955, at age 13. She went on to star in her own show, “Walt Disney Presents: Annette” and several “Beach Party” movies with Frankie Avalon, and became an icon of the 1950s and 60s.
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The beginning of Funicello’s career had close ties to the Santa Clarita Valley. She had a role in the Spin and Marty segments of The Mickey Mouse Club, which were filmed at Golden Oak Ranch in Placerita Canyon. Disney later purchased the property, now ABC Studios at the Ranch.
She also worked alongside actress and Santa Clarita resident Tracey Gold in the mid 1980s. Gold remembers her fondly.
“I had the pleasure of working with Annette in 1984 and then a few years later on ‘Growing Pains,’” she said. “She was lovely and wonderful to work with, and it’s really sad to hear of her passing.”
Funicello and Gold starred together as mother and daughter in the Disney TV movie “Lots of Luck,” about a blue-collar family that wins the lottery.
A year later, Funicello made a guest appearance on “Growing Pains,” where Gold starred as Carol Seaver.
She is survived by her husband Glen Holt and three children Gina, Jacky and Jason Gilardi.
Gail Fashingbauer Cooper of Today.com contriubted to this report.
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