biography

Born in Utica, New York, on October 22, 1942, actress and singer Annette Funicello's family relocated to southern California following the end of World War II. After several years of music and dance lessons, Annette was spotted by Walt Disney and asked to audition for a new show, The Mickey Mouse Club. She was hired, and the show made its debut in 1955. She stayed with Disney for about ten years, making many films, TV appearances, and records.

Annette FunicelloAnnette FunicelloAnnette FunicelloAnnette Funicello in her bikini

LEFT: Annette with her surfboard. This photo was used for one of her album covers. CENTER: Cover of Movies Illustrated from 1963. RIGHT: Early 1960s photos

By the early 1960s, Annette had embarked on the second leg of her career, acting in American International beach party films along with Frankie Avalon. In 1965, during her beach party run, she married her agent, Jack Gilardi.

the films of annette funicello

Babes in Toyland (1961) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Annette Funicello and Tommy Sands

With Tommy Sands from Disney's Babes in Toyland


Beach Party (1963) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Jody McCrea, Bob Cummings, Annette Funicello, and John AshleyRobert Cummings and Annette Funicello

From American International's Beach Party. LEFT: With Robert Cummings, Jody McCrea, and John Ashley. RIGHT: With Robert Cummings

Muscle Beach Party (1964) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Frankie Avalon and Annette FunicelloAnnette Funicello and Peter LupusAnnette Funicello and Peter LupusAnnette Funicello and Peter Lupus

LEFT: With Frankie Avalon. CENTER and RIGHT: With Peter Lupus

Bikini Beach (1964) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Jody McCrea with Frankie Avalon and Annette FunicelloAnnette Funicello with Meredith MacRae

From Bikini Beach. LEFT: With Frankie Avalon and Jody McCrea. RIGHT: With Meredith MacRae

Pajama Party (1964) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Pajama Party Album CoverPajama Party PromoDonna Loren and Annette FunicelloSusan Hart, Donna Loren, Cheryl Sweeten, and Annette FunicelloBuster Keaton, Annette Funicello, and Tommy Kirk

LEFT: Pajama Party album cover. CENTER A: Promotional photo from Pajama Party. CENTER B: With Donna Loren. CENTER C: With Susan Hart, Donna Loren, and Cheryl Sweeten. RIGHT: With Buster Keaton and Tommy Kirk

The Monkey's Uncle (1965)

Annette Funicello and Tommy KirkAnnette Funicello and Cheryl MillerAnnette Funicello and Tommy Kirk

From The Monkey's Uncle, Funicello's last film for Disney. LEFT: With Tommy Kirk. CENTER: With Cheryl Miller. RIGHT: Again with Tommy Kirk. This film was the sequel to The Misadventures of Merlin Jones (1964)

How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Annette Funicello and Dwayne Hickman

From American International's How to Stuff a Wild Bikini with Dwayne Hickman

Love, American Style (1969-1971 ABC TV Series)

Gary Crosby, Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon

From the ABC situation comedy Love, American Style in an episode titled Love and the Tuba, originally airing in December 1971. Also pictured are Gary Crosby and Frankie Avalon

Back to the Beach (1987) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Tommy Hinkley, Lori Loughlin, Annette Funicello, and Frankie Avalon

From the beach comedy Back to the Beach with Tommy Hinkley, Lori Loughlin, and Frankie Avalon

later years

Annette Funicello's marriage to Gilardi ended in 1981 after sixteen years and three children. Her film appearances had become more sporadic after she started a family. By the early 1970s, she had become a commercial spokesperson for a variety of products and remained closely tied to Disney. In 1986, Annette married her second husband, Glen Holt, and started making plans for a new film in which she would act and produce alongside Frankie Avalon. Sadly, while making this film, Back to the Beach, in 1987, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She waited five years before publicly disclosing her condition. Illness aside, she started two different businesses focusing on collectable bears and perfume. Her line of stuffed bears has been particularly successful, and some of the retired designs now fetch high prices. Toward the end of her life, Annette Funicello could no longer walk or speak, due to the ravages of her illness. Sadly, she passed away on April 8, 2013, at the age of 70. She is survived by her husband Glen Holt, daughter Gina, and sons Jason and Jack.

annette funicello films available from movies unlimited

Find your movie at MoviesUnlimited.com.

TELEVISION
Make Room For Daddy: The Complete Sixth Season [DVD](1958) DVD
Thirty-two episodes from season six--including "The Bob Hope Show," "Terry Goes Steady," "Linda's Tonsils," "Shirley Jones Makes Good," and "Danny's Big Fan"--are featured in a five-disc set. 13 1/3 hrs. total. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo; bloopers; featurette; interviews; photo gallery.
The Best Of The Mickey Mouse Club [DVD] DVD
"Come along and sing a song and join the jamboree" with this collection of classic episodes from the original '50s "The Mickey Mouse Club" series, including "Fun with Music Day," "Talent Roundup Day," "Guest Star Day," "Circus Day," and Anything Can Happen Day." 113 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital Surround.
Walt Disney Treasures: Elfego Baca/The Swamp Fox: Legendary Heroes [DVD] DVD
Two-disc set features episodes of two popular "Walt Disney Presents" miniseries: "The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca," which aired in 1958 and starred Robert Loggia as a grizzled gunfighter who became a New Mexico lawman. With Robert F. Simon, Skip Homeier. And "Swamp Fox," which ran from 1959-61, followed the exploits of General Francis Marion (Leslie Nielsen), a Revolutionary War hero who battled the Brits in the Carolinas' woodlands. John Sutton, Joy Page co-starred. 4 2/3 hrs. total. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English (SDH); featurettes; photo gallery; more.
The Love Boat: Season One, Vol. 2 [DVD](1978) DVD
The remaining 12 episodes of the first season--including "Family Reunion/Too Hot to Handle/Cinderella Story," "The Congressman Was Indiscreet/Isaac's History Lesson/Winner Take Love," "The Inspector/A Very Special Girl/Until the Last Goodbye," "Musical Cabins," and "Gopher the Rebel/Cabin Fever/Pacific Princess Overture"--plus the made-for-TV movie "The New Love Boat" (1977) are included in a four-disc set. 10 3/4 hrs. total. Standard; Soundtracks: English Dolby Digital mono, Spanish Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English, Spanish. **12 episodes on 4 discs. 10 3/4 hrs.**

FILM
The Frankie & Annette Collection [DVD] DVD
"Surf's up" in this four-disc boxed set saluting AIP's teen comedy series and seaside sweethearts Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Anthropologist Bob Cummings uses the pair as part of a study of modern mating habits in the original "Beach Party" (1963), with Morey Amsterdam, Dorothy Malone, and Harvey Lembeck as Eric Von Zipper. Annette has her hands full when the Potato Bug, a British pop star who's Frankie's double, arrives at "Bikini Beach" (1964). Don Rickles and Little Stevie Wonder guest star. Gym owner Rickles wants to take over the kids' surf spot, and heiress Luciana Paluzzi wants to woo Frankie from Annette, in "Muscle Beach Party" (1964). Avalon trades his board for slats and joins Dwayne Hickman, Deborah Walley and James Brown for a "Ski Party" (1965). "Beach Blanket Bingo" (1965) boasts a missing singer, a mermaid, and skydiving surfdogs. Avalon wants to keep pal Hickman away from Funicello while he's on military duty in "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" (1965), with Buster Keaton. Frankie's a moonshine-running hot rodder competing with racer Fabian for Annette's hand in "Fireball 500" (1966). And Fabian and Funicello burn rubber together in "Thunder Alley" (1967). 12 1/2 hrs. total. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English mono.
The Shaggy Dog [DVD](1959) DVD
Thanks to a magical ring, a teenager is transformed into a sheepdog and has to perform an act of bravery in order to change back in this doggone funny film, Disney's first live-action comedy. Fred MacMurray, Tommy Kirk, Annette Funicello, Jean Hagen star. Includes both the original black-and-white and the newly colorized versions; 102 min./97 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtracks: English Dolby Digital mono, French Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English (SDH), Spanish, French; featurette; audio commentary.
Babes In Toyland [DVD](1961) DVD
Grand Disney adaptation of the holiday musical favorite "March of the Wooden Soldiers" stars Tommy Sands and Annette Funicello as Mother Goose Land lovers Tom Piper and Mary Contrary, Ray Bolger as wicked Mr. Barnaby, and Ed Wynn as the addlebrained Toymaker. 105 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital Surround.
Beach Party (1963)/Bikini Beach [DVD](1964) DVD
The first entry in A.I.P.'s surfside slapstick series, "Beach Party" stars Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello as fun-loving teens who become the subject of anthropologist Bob Cummings' research into adolescent mating rituals. With Morey Amsterdam, Dorothy Malone, Dick Dale and The Del-Tones, and Harvey Lembeck as Eric Von Zipper. Next, Frankie plays himself and mop-topped British pop idol the Potato Bug (get it?)--and both are vying for Annette's attention--in "Bikini Beach," co-starring Don Rickles, Keenan Wynn, Little Stevie Wonder, and Boris Karloff. 198 min. total. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: French, Spanish; theatrical trailers.
The Misadventures Of Merlin Jones [DVD](1964) DVD
Tommy Kirk and Annette Funicello star in this slapstick Disney comedy about a college "genius" whose latest invention, a mind-reading machine, backfires and lands him in hot water with a judge. With Leon Ames, Stuart Erwin, Alan Hewitt. 92 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: Spanish; photo gallery; video gallery.
Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)/How To Stuff A Wild Bikini [DVD](1965) DVD
The "Beach Party" gang is back in a double bill that's packed with more fun than a two-piece bathing suit. "Beach Blanket Bingo," a wild mix about a missing singing star, a mermaid, and biker Eric Von Zipper's gang, features guest stars Don Rickles, Paul Lynde, Buster Keaton, and Linda Evans joining series regulars Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon and Harvey Lembeck. Then, while Frankie is away on Army Reserve duty, he gets witch doctor Keaton to send a bikini-clad beauty to keep rival Dwayne Hickman away from Annette, in "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini." Beverly Adams, Mickey Rooney, and The Kingsmen also star. 192 min. total. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: French, Spanish; theatrical trailers.
Dr. Goldfoot And The Bikini Machine (1965)/Dr. Goldfoot And The Girl Bombs [DVD](1966) DVD
First, mad scientist Vincent Price has constructed an army of beautiful bikini-clad robots as part of his scheme to control the world's richest men, and only bumbling secret agents Frankie Avalon and Dwayne Hickman can stop him in "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine," a wild sci-fi spy spoof. With a cameo by Annette Funicello and a title song by The Supremes. Next, the diabolical doctor (Price) and his lovely robots are back, but this time the girls are programmed to blow up near key NATO officers, and Fabian is the agent who must stop Goldfoot from triggering World War III. Sexy and stylish sequel "Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs" was directed by Italian horror maestro Mario Bava. 175 min. total. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English.
Fireball 500 (1966)/Thunder Alley [DVD](1967) DVD
Running moonshine through a small town on his way to Daytona, bootlegger Frankie Avalon competes with hot-headed local race car driver Fabian for the affections of Annette Funicello while evading a group of federal agents. The fast-paced comedic actioner "Fireball 500" also stars Chill Wills, Harvey Lembeck. Then, in "Thunder Alley," stock car racer Fabian is forced to retire after a blackout on the track leads to the death of another driver. Taking a job with Jan Murray's "thrill circus," he teaches Funicello and boyfriend Warren Berlinger to race, but when Fabian's old girlfriend causes friction between the trio, he must get back behind the wheel and overcome his affliction in this rubber-burning thriller from director Richard Rush ("The Stunt Man"). 181 min. total. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English, Spanish, French.
Head [DVD](1968) DVD
The Monkees' only feature film is a riotous hodgepodge of spaced-out comedy vignettes mixed with a collage of old film clips and cameos Frank Zappa, Victor Mature, Teri Garr, Annette Funicello, Carol Doda and others. This classic culmination of Monkeemania was co-authored by Jack Nicholson and director Bob Rafelson. 86 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; interactive menus; theatrical trailers.
Back To The Beach [DVD](1987) DVD
Your favorite surfing sweethearts, Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, return to the sunny shores of California in this winning spoof of their '60s beach movies. Now married, Frankie and Annette visit the old haunts with their kids and wind up singing, hanging ten, fighting, and making up--just like in the old days. With Lori Loughlin, Connie Stevens, and lots of cameos. 92 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English.
Troop Beverly Hills [DVD](1989) DVD
New den mother Shelley Long pampers her daughter's Wilderness Girls troop with shopping trips and expeditions in the L.A. lifestyle in this outrageous comedy. With Betty Thomas, Craig T. Nelson. 106 min. Standard; Soundtracks: English Dolby Digital stereo, French Dolby Digital stereo; Subtitles: English, French; theatrical trailers.

annette funicello dvds available from amazon.com

annette funicello music from amazon.com

annette funicello photos and posters available

filmography

FILM
A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: The Annette Funicello Story (1995) Inspired by Annette Funicello's 1992 autobiography
Troop Beverly Hills (1989)
Back to the Beach (1987) with Frankie Avalon, Connie Stevens, Lori Loughlin, Tommy Hinkley, and Edd Byrnes
Lots of Luck (1985) with Martin Mull and Fred Willard
Head (1968) with the Monkees
Thunder Alley (1967) with Fabian, Diane McBain, and Warren Berlinger
Fireball 500 (1966) with Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Julie Parrish, and Harvey Lembeck
The Monkey's Uncle (1965) with Tommy Kirk, Cheryl Miller, The Beach Boys, Frank Faylen, and Norman Grabowski
Ski Party (1965) with Frankie Avalon, Dwayne Hickman, Yvonne Craig, and Deborah Walley
Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) with Frankie Avalon, Jody McCrea, John Ashley, and Deborah Walley
Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965) with Frankie Avalon, Dwayne Hickman, and Vincent Price
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965) with Dwayne Hickman, John Ashley, and Bobbi Shaw
Pajama Party (1964) with Tommy Kirk, Jody McCrea. Elsa Lanchester, Harvey Lembeck, Donna Loren, Bobbi Shaw, and Susan Hart
The Misadventures of Merlin Jones (1964) with Tommy Kirk
Bikini Beach (1964) with Frankie Avalon, John Ashley, and Jody McCrea
Muscle Beach Party (1964) with Frankie Avalon, Peter Lupus, Luciana Paluzzi, Buddy Hackett, John Ashley, Peter Lorre, and Jody McCrea
Beach Party (1963) with Frankie Avalon, John Ashley, Jody McCrea, Robert Cummings, Dorothy Malone, and Yvette Vickers
Elfego Baca: Six Gun Law (1962) with Jay C. Flippen
Escapade in Florence (1962) with Tommy Kirk
Babes in Toyland (1961) with Tommy Sands
The Horsemasters (1961) with Tommy Kirk, Janet Munro, and Donald Pleasence
The Shaggy Dog (1959) with Tommy Kirk, Fred MacMurray, Jean Hagen, and Tim Considine

TELEVISION SERIES
Easy Does It (1976) series with Frankie Avalon
The Danny Thomas Show. Annette was a regular during the 1959 season
The Mickey Mouse Club (1955)

links

Annette Connection.com: The official website of Annette Funicello

The Beautiful Annette Funicello Group at Yahoo
Check out the Yahoo! Group devoted to Annette. Join Vince, your moderator, for moderated discussions on the life and career on Annette Funicello. Vince says you can talk about anything on Annette in this group. In addition, there will be a broadcast schedule listing of when Annette's films appear on TV; this will be sent to all members.
Back to the Drive-In
Click on the logo to go back to Brian's Drive-In Theater
This page premiered August 11, 1999.
Copyright and Disclaimer Information