2015
UPDATED PHOTOS AND PROGRAMS
FROM DISNEY'S CELEBRATION OF ANNIE'S LIFE ON 6.24.2013

 

Annette Funicello

October 22, 1942  -  April 8, 2013

Ave Atque Vale

1978 at Disneyland

In 1994, for the publication of her autobiography A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes,
Annette appeared on the Sally Jesse Raphael show and talked lovingly about the MMC
and her youthful romance the entire first year with lucky ME. 

This was on YouTube for a while, unfortunately now removed due to copyright violations, which means that it's gone, probably for good.

 

On April 8, 2013 we all lost the sweetest and most popular Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello.

Annie and I fell in love early in the first year of the original MICKEY MOUSE CLUB (1955) before we turned into teenagers; I turned 12 that year and Annie 13. Our youthful love lasted through filming and later performing in the Mickey Mouse Club Circus, holding hands while parents drove us down, without a huge freeway system, to Disneyland in the morning and back at night. The Circus closed on January 10, 1956.  

I was very pleased when Annie included our going together in her 1994 autobiography “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” and also talked about our romance in an interview with the Star. 

                      

 

The fact that I gave Annie her first kiss was a complete surprise to me! It is not something you blurt out in whatever era you live when you are eleven or twelve. It was swell to read that Annie remembered it as wonderfully as I had. In her seventh year after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she looks beautiful and only slightly tentative in promoting her autobiography on the Sally Jesse Raphael talk show in 1994 and talking about our romance for the entire first year. For me, though, seeing her talk vividly about our youthful interlude is far more meaningful than merely reading about it. 

Of course, I also recalled our year together in my recent memoir “Confessions of an Accidental Mouseketeer”. I kept in touch with Glen and Annie to see how things were going; my mom suffered from multiple sclerosis the last 41 years of her life and I understood the disease. I was one of those who helped them after their house was burned down in 2011 and they moved north to a home near their ranch. 

                      

We will all miss this charismatic American Sweetheart of the ‘50s and ‘60s+ and remember her clean, all-American, honest spirit as well as the bravery she and Glen showed during their 25+ year long battle with the very worst form of M.S.

Since the early 1990s Annie wanted most of all to help others. To honor her memory please make a contribution, no matter how small, to the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases at  http://annetteconnection.com.   

Unlike some charitable funds, 100% of your contribution goes to RESEARCH so that present and future victims of these diseases may hope to find help for their pain and suffering.

 

                

 

 On June 24, 2013 Walt Disney Studios held a LIFE CELEBRATION OF ANNETTE and re-dedicated Stage 1, where we shot the original MMC, naming it the Annette Funicello Stage.  Only one other star has a Disney stage named after her: Julie Andrews. 

Invitations were limited.  Even more limited were the invitations for close friends and MMC colleagues to attend a private showing of film clips honoring her life in the Disney Studio Theatre.  The Sally Jesse Raphael talk show footage was  shown but, regrettably, Diane and I were unable to fly from OR to CA. I did contact Glen, Annie's husband, who was the person I most wanted to see.

A year after Glen married Annie she was diagnosed with M.S. and he spent the next 25 years caring for her. Later when Annie could no longer walk by herself, Glen would do the main lifting and moving helping the nurses, feeding her, consoling her and getting her to laugh; every day he would take her for a drive to get her out of the house to see nature and people.  

In the last five years of her life, even with breathing support and nurses, Glen told me he woke up every 2 to 3 hours to make sure she had  swallowed all of her saliva for otherwise she could choke to death. Sad but true. I have described Glen as a 20th & 21st Century cowboy, which he is, but he goes beyond the title 'caring husband and widower'. I spoke to him on the phone recently and he is taking it one sunrise and sunset at a time and keeping busy with his life-long interest in horses and their ranch and by devoting more time to the Annette Funicello Neurological Fund that he and Annie founded and that she took pride in until her farewell. 

I thought you might enjoy seeing copies of the invitation and the program for the private celebration.  Thanks to first season Mouseketeer Mary Espinosa Goff for making sure I got my copy of the program.   

        Sadly, 

Lonnie

 

 
 

 
   

          

P.S.  Our local Oregon NBC affiliate, KGW did a story on Annette including a short interview with me.  See it here: 

http://www.kgw.com/video/featured-videos/Beaverton-man-was-Annette-Funicellos-1st-crush-202127621.html

 

P.P.S.  And if you'd like to take a look back at the surprise birthday party Cheryl Holdridge hosted for Annie in 1995 >>>> ANNETTE'S PARTY AT CHERYL'S

 

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