A successful career in the entertainment industry was very glaring from the early days of Annette Funicello who is known by many today, basically for her role in The Mickey Mouse Club as one of the Mouseketeers. From there onwards, the child actress turned into a screen sweetheart and was even dubbed Disney Legend in 1992.
Moreso, Annette had a golden voice that enhanced her celebrity status before an illness finally got the best of her. Get all the details about her bio, husband, children and net worth herein.
Annette Joanne Funicello is considered to be an Italian-American, probably because her parents Joseph Edward Funicello and Virginia Jeanne were of Italian descent. She was born on October 22, 1942, and her birthplace was Utica, in New York, where she lived for about four years before her parents decided to relocate to Southern California.
We also gathered that her family was a devout Catholic family and she was brought up as such. Her childhood could be described as one every kid would want to have as Annette Funicello was given the proper education and she had an early exposure to the performing arts. Before she even got to age 12, her parents got her enrolled for dance classes, which she took seriously.
It didn’t take long for Annette Funicello’s unique talents to be smoked out from its hiding place by Walt Disney. She was spotted by the production company at age 12 in one of her roles as a Swan Queen in Swan Lake. Immediately after that display which took place at the Starlight Bowl of California, she was handpicked by Walt himself to play a significant role – a major Mouseketeer in Disney.
A year after her enrollment, Annette was awarded a contract by Disney that was to span 7 years. Due to her talent, the young Annette’s fame grew really fast and after the first season of The Mickey Mouse Club, her fans flooded in their numbers. She got an average of 6000 e-mails monthly from the growing spectators and this was way, she became more popular than her fellow Mouseketeers. She was featured in drawings and seen in subsequent series of The Mickey Mouse Club.
Aside from acting, the actress was also a star in the music industry and in one of the series of The Mickey Mouse Club, she sang ‘How Will I Know My Love’ which was written by Tom Adair and produced by Frances Jeffords and William Walsh. This song landed Annette Funicello a recording contract from Disney which marked the beginning of many other songs performed by the gifted star.
Details of Her Net Worth
With such an early start in the entertainment world, Annette Funicello was able to establish a highly successful career that earned her a whopping net worth of about $15 million. She was also made a Disney Legend in 1992.
Her Husband & Children
Besides Annette Funicello’s beautiful career, she also had a very interesting personal life with a series of romantic relationships. Sources have it that she grew fond of Lonnie Burr and once mentioned that he was her first boyfriend although it was not proven whether their relationship was true or not. However, it is known that Annette had an affair with a Canadian artist named Paul Anka who even did a song for her called ‘Puppy Love’.
Finally, in 1965, the Disney Legend walked down the aisle with Jack Gilardi and that same year, they welcomed their first child; Gina Portman. 5 years later, in 1970, their second child Jack Jr. came along and their 3rd child, Jason came in 1974. They had a beautiful home during the early years but the marriage came to an end after 16 years.
In 1986, Annette Funicello went into another marriage and this time it was to a horse trainer named Glen Holt. The couple was seen several times at horse races for the most part of the 1980s through to the 1990s and they were also known to have enjoyed a blissful life in California.
Fact Check: Is The Disney Star Dead Or Alive?
A year after her second marriage, the actress started noticing symptoms like dizziness and balance disorder which made her go in for a medical checkup that showed that she had multiple sclerosis. This remained private until 1992 when she couldn’t stand the rumours attributing her illness to alcoholism. She broke the news to her family and a year later, she started a fund for people with Neurological Disorders which was called the Annette Funicello Fund.
With time, Annette’s illness progressed, putting her in need of continuous assistance and on April 8th, 2013, the news was out that the actress had passed on. Her age at the time of her demise was 70.