Entertainment

Annette Funicello honored: Disney renames Mouseketeer stage

Monday, June 24, 2013

The late Annette Funicello, one of Disney's earliest stars, was honored Monday, posthumously, in a special ceremony on the Disney Studios lot.

Sound stage No. 1 was dedicated as the Annette Funicello Stage. It's the place where Funicello became a child TV star on Disney's "The Mickey Mouse Club" in the 1950s. During her days with Disney, Annette was a fan favorite.

Along with her "Mouseketeer" duties, Funicello recorded several albums, made other Disney movies, and then exchanged her mouse ears for some fun in the sun as she teamed with Frankie Avalon in a series of hit "Beach Party" movies, always playing the "good girl" role.

The stage dedication is a reminder of her contributions to television history.

"I think it's really important for companies not just to look ahead and to think about innovation and all the changes that are going on in the world and our businesses, but to look back at the heritage and the legacy and everything that really created the value in the first place," said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company.

Actress Shelly Fabares, Funicello's best friend for 57 years, said Funicello would be so honored to know that the stage was being dedicated to her.

"She loved Mr. Disney, first of all, everybody says. And she did. She always called him Mr. Disney. She just loved him dearly, and to have this studio, give that honor to her, I'm telling you, it would mean the world to her," said Fabares.

Funicello's family members attended the event.

"This is an honor to have this here today and to see the people that really stepped up and came out and gave 100 percent for this. My mom would be so proud," said Funicello's son, Jack Gilardi Jr.

Funicello died in April of complications from multiple sclerosis.

Her husband, Glen Holt, called his wife "the star of stars" and said she's an "icon that will live on forever."

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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