In my early teens, I had a crush on Annette Funicello. I thought she was one hot young lady! No, no, no - not when she was a Mouseketeer on tv's "The Mickey Mouse Club" in the 1950s, though she was cute then.
But in the early 1960s, she developed very nicely into a young lady, and appeared in several "beach party-bikini" movies, co-starring with Frankie Avalon. The first was "Beach Party" in 1963, followed by "Muscle Beach Party" and "Bikini Beach", both in 1964, and "Beach Blanket Bingo" (1965). In 1987, they made "Back to the Beach", a final sequel.
In 1980, I sent her a portrait photo, and she signed it with only her name, no inscription to me, but I'm very happy to have it.
Sadly, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis soon after the last "Beach" movie. She made the diagnosis public in 1992, stating "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." She established the Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Disorders at the California Community Foundation in 1993.