Annette Funicello: 1942-2013

The star of the Mickey Mouse Club and "Beach Party" films of the 1950s and '60s was an iconic American actress and singer.

Annette Funicello, the actress and singer who won over Americans in the 1950s and '60s with her role on "The Mickey Mouse Club" and then a series of "Beach Party" movies, died on April 8, 2013, at age 70.

Funicello is pictured here in Thousand Oaks, Calif., in 1988. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1992.

Funicello was cast in "The Mickey Mouse Club" in 1955 and easily became the most poular Mouseketeer.

Pictured around 1955 as a teenager, Funicello poses with a stuffed tiger, poolside in California. "Annette was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word Mouseketeer, and a true Disney legend," Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said after her passing.

Hulton Archive / Archive Photos

Funicello starred in the 1959 film "The Shaggy Dog," about a boy who changes into a sheepdog and back again.

Funicello poses around 1964 on the beach with a surfboard bearing her name for her album "Muscle Beach Party."

In "The Misadventures of Merlin Jones," Funicello starred with actor Tommy Kirk in 1964, in the film about a high school boy who creates a mind-reading machine.

A chimpanzee gets a star turn this time as Funicello was back in another Merlin Jones movie called "The Monkey's Uncle" in 1965.

The stars of "Beach Blanket Bingo," from left, Frankie Avalon, Funicello, Deborah Walley and John Ashley in 1965. Funicello starred in five more films over two years with Avalon as part of the "Beach Party" series.

Funicello starred as Francie Madsen in the 1967 film "Thunder Alley." Stock car racer Tommy Callahan was portrayed by teen idol Fabian.

Funicello and Avalon reunited and headed "Back to the Beach" in 1987.

Funicello poses with Disney characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse during a VIP reception before a benefit dinner which honored the actress on Feb. 15, 1997.

Funicello was always open about her battle with multiple sclerois, saying, "I think you only have two choices in this kind of situation. Either you give in to it or you fight it. I intend to fight."

Fred Prouser / X00224