Disney fans old and young are saddened by today’s death of Annette Funicello, actress, singer, and of course Mousketeer. She was the most popular of the original Mickey Mouse Club members, and her face under the black hat and bow is the well-known image of the show.
Americans knew her as just “Annette,” a house-hold familiar, (move over Brittney). What made her memorable was her poise and intimate gaze through the camera, and being Walt’s favorite helped, too. She continued to shine in 50’s and 60’s movies, Disney live-actions and beach-babe musicals.
But I believe the highlight of her career was the moment in Babes in Toyland when she sings “I can’t do the sum.” Overlooking stereotypes about mathy girls, she twirls her skirt like a boss. I wanted that dress, and I wanted that hair, and I wanted to look as lady-like and winsome as Mary. (I was not averse to marrying a crooked man, either, as Tom Piper was one of the most boring men ever.)
Our lady in mouse-ears died at 70 of complications from Multiple Sclerosis.