Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1001 Individuals More Memorable Than Charlie Sheen.... #84: Annette Funicello!

(R.A.M.'67 archive)

Brother Fang elaborates: "Wow, I nearly forgot I had this, but thanks to the recent acquisition of a scanner, I was lucky to find it again while undertaking the transfer of my massive collection of clippings (articles, pictures and artwork) from paper to digital form.

"This scan is a detail of an ad from the 1996 July-August issue of Modern Maturity. There aren't an excessive amount of photos taken of Annette Funicello after she began showing any visible signs of her multiple sclerosis (MS), but compared to those images readily found online, this one packs its own low-key punch. It's such a powerful picture, one needs to remind themselves this fragile-looking lady sitting on the scooter is the same person who looked like THIS thirty-some years earlier:

(Google images)

"Annette's official website states her MS (which she disclosed having in 1992) is chronic, 'the most serious and debilitating form of the disease', and 'she currently requires 24-hour care that is provided by a healthcare team and her [second] husband, Glen Holt.' Based on this, her current physical activity must be even more limited than it was in the '90s, though her mind is reported to still be sharp.

"After appearing as herself at the end of the TV movie adaptation of her autobiography in 1995, Annette quietly retired from the spotlight that first embraced her forty years prior when she was part of The Mickey Mouse Club. She did manage a few public appearances for a short time afterward (here, Frankie Avalon watches Fabian kiss her in early '97), but by the end of the '90s, the crippling nature of her MS prevented her from going on anymore of these outings. In addition to briefly being a spokesperson for Pride Scooters (still in business), she's worked on a variety of projects (most notably, collectible teddy bears) and her charity, the non-profit Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases.

(Google images)
"Indeed, Annette's kept such a low profile that when news broke back in March 2011 the house she and Glen had in Encino, CA, caught fire, I know more than a few friends of mine said (to paraphrase), 'I thought she was already dead!' Fortunately, she was removed from the danger in time, suffering only some smoke inhalation, but the house (containing much memorabilia from her movie and TV career) was a total loss. Five months later, after living alternately at their ranch in Bakersfield and a Los Angeles apartment, Annette and Glen moved into a new residence near Bakersfield. As of this past October 22, she celebrated birthday number 69. May she have many more.

"There are many ways people react to others who ride around on those special scooters (or use wheelchairs), depending on the condition of the individuals they see riding them. Some are simply not nice about it, especially if whomever they happen to see are either overweight (which implies laziness) or elderly. The bottom line is for the vast majority of users, they use them due to legit health issues. Bearing that in mind, the next time you see anyone riding around on a scooter, think twice before passing any judgement on them. There's a good chance you may need to use one of those someday!"

Keeping it trivial....

Fang Shih-yu, Shaolin Temple.


  1. Thanks for shining a spotlight on a special lady who was/is the personification of youth to many of us still.

  2. And thank you for reading, Caftan Woman! It's much appreciated!