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Annette Funicello's career, from Mouseketeer to pop songs and peanut butter

From "The Mickey Mouse Club" to "Beach Blanket Bingo" and beyond, Annette Funicello, who died on Monday, was one of America's most beloved stars. Here's a look back at some of the most memorable moments of her successful decades-long career.

Everett Collection

Annette Funicello, seen second from left with Frankie Avalon, Deborah Walley and John Ashley in 1965's "Beach Blanket Bingo," had careers in movies, music and as a commercial pitchwoman.

'The Mickey Mouse Club'
The Disney darling launched her career as a 12-year-old Mouseketeer in the popular variety show's original incarnation, which debuted in 1955. Decades later, the show would make stars out of Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, but in those early days, no one who donned the famous mouse ears was as popular or as famous as Annette.

'Beach Party' films
Funicello successfully transitioned from child star to teen idol, teaming with pop star Frankie Avalon in 1963's "Beach Party." The dynamic duo reprised their roles in five other surfside sequels: 1964's "Muscle Beach Party," "Bikini Beach" and "Pajama Party," with "Beach Blanket Bingo" and "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" following in 1965.


Skippy peanut butter commercials
Her wholesome image made Funicello the perfect peanut-butter pusher. In a series of commercials beginning in 1979 and running through the 1980s, she was introduced to a brand-new generation who'd never seen her in mouse ears or even on the beach. Delivering the famous tagline, "It's hard to beat Skippy," the maternal actress was the brand's most successful celebrity spokesperson.

Concert tour with Frankie Avalon
After reuniting in 1987 for the film "Back to the Beach," which parodied the "Beach Party" films, Funicello and Avalon hit the road in 1989-90 for a concert tour, performing their 1960s pop hits. It was during that time that the actress and singer first began to experience the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, the disease that would claim her life more than 20 years later.

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