More MS news articles for Nov 2001

One Brave Mouseketeer!

November 02, 2001

M-I-C-K-E-Y ... M-O-U-S-E! With a knack for spelling the name of America's most famous mouse, ANNETTE FUNICELLO was crowned the queen of teen! The buxom, all-American girl rode the Disney wave into the hearts of TV-land, and with that simple song, a pop icon was born. Now the queen of teen's life is far from the candy-coated world of Disney, as her battle with multiple sclerosis begins to take its toll. ET has your update!

Born in Utica, New York, in 1942, Annette and her family moved to the comfort of warm, sunny California when she was just four years old. In 1955, she beat out 3,000 other kids for one of the 22 coveted spots as a "Mickey Mouse Club" Mouseketeer. She was also the only one hand-picked by WALT DISNEY himself! Instantly deemed one of the most popular Mouseketeers, she went on to have a successful career in TV, music, film and commercials for the next three decades!

The world was shocked in 1992 when the eternally perky Annette announced that she was battling multiple sclerosis. Diagnosed in 1987, she didn't develop noticeable symptoms right away. Determined to use her own experience with this disease for good, she founded the Annette Funicello Teddy Bear Company to assist in fundraising to fight neurological disorders.

While she keeps her trademark positive outlook during this long and arduous struggle, she is slowly losing the battle, the National Enquirer reports. Now completely bedridden and almost blind, America's favorite beach bunny keeps her spirits high, friends and family told the Enquirer. Keeping loved ones close by her side, Annette continues to touch the lives of so many with her valiant struggle and has said, "Even sitting in my wheelchair, life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful."

Be sure to tune in to ET tonight for more!

TM & © 2001 Paramount Pictures