Handpicked by Walt Disney to be one of the original Mouseketeers, Annette Funicello was America's girl next door. She spoke to Fresh Air in 1994 about Mickey Mouse ears and why she went public with her multiple sclerosis diagnosis. She died Monday at age 70 from complications of the disease.
Former Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello. At the age of 12, she was discovered by Walt Disney at a dance recital; he was looking for kids for his new show, "The Mickey Mouse Club." Funicello became the "most popular" Mouseketeer, and went on to star in a number of Disney films: "The Shaggy Dog," "Babes in Toyland," and "The Monkey's Uncle." Before she went to star in the beach party movies for which she is also known, Disney requested that she wear a one-piece bathing suit instead of a bikini. Funicello agreed.