Actress, Singer. Funicello and her family moved to Los Angeles when she was 4 and nine years later, in 1955, was discovered by Walt Disney himself while dancing the lead in a production of "Swan Lake" at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank. He invited her to audition for his new television series, "The Mickey Mouse Club" and was hired on the spot to become a Mouseketeer, quickly becoming a fan favorite. After her stint with the show, which lasted through 1957, she recorded a series of successful albums and had hits with "Tall Paul" and "Pineapple Princess" and had starring roles on such TV series as 'Further Adventures of Spin and Marty', 'Make Room for Daddy', 'Zorro' and 'Burke's Law' and starred in the movies 'The Shaggy Dog' (1959) and 'Babes in Toyland' (1961). In 1965, she starred in a series of successful 'beach party' movies with teen heartthrob Frankie Avalon, in such films as 'Beach Party' (1963), 'Muscle Beach Party' (1964), 'Bikini Beach' (1964), 'Beach Blanket Bingo' (1965) and 'How to Stuff a Wild Bikini' (1965). Later, she remained in the publice eye with recurring roles on TV in such series as 'Hondo', 'Love, American Style', 'Fantasy Island', 'Love Boat' and 'Growing Pains'. Funicello was married twice, first to Jack Gilardi, from 1965 to 1981, with whom she had three children. In 1986, she married horse breeder/trainer Glen Holt. She died from complications related to multiple sclerosis, which she was diagnosed with nearly 25 years ago.
Bio by: Louis du Mort