Jump to content

The Rest in Peace Thread


Recommended Posts

Rip Annette Funicello

Annette Funicello, Mouseketeer and Film Star, Dies

By AP/Frazier Moore April 08, 2013

Lennox McLendon / AP

In this Jan. 3, 1978 file photo, actress Annette Funicello recalls moments when she played a

"Mouseketeer" on ABC's first successful daytime television show,"The Mickey Mouse Club" in

Los Angeles, while she was taping an ABC Silver Anniversary Celebration special.

(NEW YORK) — Annette Funicello, the most popular Mouseketeer on “The Mickey Mouse Club,” who matured to a successful career in records and ’60s beach party movies but struggled with illness in middle age and after, died Monday, The Walt Disney Co. said. She was 70.

She died peacefully at Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield, Calif., of complications from multiple sclerosis, the company said.

Funicello stunned fans and friends in 1992 with the announcement about her ailment. Yet she was cheerful and upbeat, grappling with the disease with a courage that contrasted with her lightweight teen image of old.

The pretty, dark-haired Funicello was just 13 when she gained fame on Walt Disney’s television kiddie “club,” an amalgam of stories, songs and dance routines that ran from 1955 to 1959.

Cast after Disney saw her at a dance recital, she soon began receiving 8,000 fan letters a month, 10 times more than any of the 23 other young performers.

Her devotion to Walt Disney remained throughout her life. “He was the dearest, kindest person, and truly was like a second father to me,” she remarked. “He was a kid at heart.”

When “The Mickey Mouse Club” ended, Annette (as she was often billed) was the only club member to remain under contract to the studio. She appeared in such Disney movies as “Johnny Tremain,” ”The Shaggy Dog,” ”The Horsemasters,” ”Babes in Toyland,” ”The Misadventures of Merlin Jones” and “The Monkey’s Uncle.”

She also became a recording star, singing on 15 albums and hit singles such as “Tall Paul” and “Pineapple Princess.”

Outgrowing the kid roles by the early ’60s, Annette teamed with Frankie Avalon in a series of movies for American-International, the first film company to exploit the burgeoning teen market.

The filmmakers weren’t aiming for art, and they didn’t achieve it. As Halliwell’s Film Guide says of “Beach Party”: “Quite tolerable in itself, it started an excruciating trend.”

But the films had songs, cameos by older stars and a few laughs and, as a bonus to latter-day viewers, a look back at a more innocent time. The 1965 “Beach Blanket Bingo,” for example, featured subplots involving a mermaid, a motorcycle gang and a skydiving school run by Don Rickles, and comic touches by silent film star Buster Keaton.

Among the other titles: “Muscle Beach Party,” ”Bikini Beach,” ”Beach Blanket Bingo,” ”How to Stuff a Wild Bikini” and “Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.”

The shift in teen tastes begun by the Beatles in 1964 and Funicello’s first marriage the following year pretty much killed off the genre.

But she was somehow never forgotten though mostly out of the public eye for years. She and Avalon staged a reunion in 1987 with “Back to the Beach.” It was during the filming that she noticed she had trouble walking — the first insidious sign of MS.

When it was finally diagnosed, she later recalled, “I knew nothing about (MS), and you are always afraid of the unknown. I plowed into books.”

Her symptoms were relatively mild at first, but gradually she lost control of her legs, and she feared people might think she was drunk. So she went public with her ordeal in 1992.

She wrote of her triumphs and struggles in her 1994 autobiography, “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” — the title taken from a Disney song. In 1995, she appeared briefly in a television docudrama based on her book. And she spoke openly about the degenerative effects of MS.

“My equilibrium is no more; it’s just progressively getting worse,” she said. “But I thank God I just didn’t wake up one morning and not be able to walk. You learn to live with it. You learn to live with anything, you really do.”

“I’ve always been religious. This just makes me appreciate the Lord even more because things could always be worse. I know he will see me

through this.”

Funicello was born Oct. 22, 1942, in Utica, N.Y., and her family moved to Los Angeles when she was 4. She began taking dance lessons the following year and won a beauty contest at 9. Then came the discovery by Disney in 1955.

“I have been blessed to have a mentor like Walt Disney,” she said 40 years later. “Those years were the happiest of my life. I felt that back then. I feel the same today.”

Asked about the revisionist biographies that have portrayed Disney in a negative light, she said, “I don’t know what went on in the conference rooms. I know what I saw. And he was wonderful.”

In 1965, Funicello married her agent, Jack Gilardi, and they had three children, Gina, Jack and Jason. The couple divorced 18 years later, and in 1986 she married Glen Holt, a harness racehorse trainer. After her film career ended, she devoted herself to her family. Her children sometimes appeared on the TV commercials she made for peanut butter.

The beach films featured ample youthful skin. But not Funicello’s.

She remembered in 1987: “Mr. Disney said to me one day, ‘Annette, I have a favor to ask of you. I know all the girls are wearing bikinis, but you have an image to uphold. I would appreciate it if you would wear a one-piece suit.’ I did, and I never regretted it.”

Edited by SteveAJones
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a sad one for me. Annette was my first love. Think I was about 5 or 6 yrs old at the time . She battled MS for many years but always remained a very classy lady and someone I admired greatly. RIP Annette. Your legacy will not be forgotten. Not by me

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Test-tube baby pioneer Professor Sir Robert Edwards dies aged 87

  • Sir Robert's work resulted in the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, born in 1978
  • Since then, five million IVF babies have been born worldwide
  • Was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2010 and knighted in 2011

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2306898/Test-tube-baby-pioneer-Professor-Sir-Robert-Edwards-dies-aged-87.html#ixzz2Q5IBeQHZ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

British "test tube baby" pioneer Robert Edwards dies
By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent

LONDON (Reuters) - Robert Edwards, the scientist known as the father of IVF for pioneering the development of "test tube babies" for couples unable to conceive naturally, died on Wednesday aged 87.

The Briton, who won the Nobel medicine prize for his achievement in 2010, started developing in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) in 1955 - work that culminated in 1978 in the birth of Louise Brown, the first so-called test tube baby.

More than 5 million babies have been born around the world as a result of the techniques that Edwards, known as "Bob" to his friends, developed with his late colleague Patrick Steptoe.

Edwards, who has five daughters and 11 grandchildren, said he was motivated in his work by a desire to help families.

"Nothing is more special than a child," he was quoted by his clinic as saying when he won his Nobel prize.

IVF is a process by which an egg is fertilised by sperm outside the body in a test tube, giving rise to the term "in vitro" or "in glass".

Working at Cambridge University in eastern England, Edwards first managed to fertilise a human egg in a laboratory in 1968. He then started to collaborate with Steptoe.

In 1980, the two founded Bourn Hall, the world's first IVF clinic, in Cambridge, where gynaecologists and cell biologists from around the world have since come to train.


Experts say that today, as many as 1 to 2 percent of babies in the Western world are conceived through IVF.

Yet Edwards' work and its consequences remain controversial. The Roman Catholic Church strongly opposes IVF as an affront to human dignity that destroys more human life than it creates - because scientists discard or store unused fertilised embryos.

Working together in the 1960s and 1970s, Edwards and Steptoe, a gynaecologist, pursued their research despite opposition from churches, governments and many in the media, as well as scepticism from scientific colleagues.

"A lot of people go around saying they're pioneers, but this man really was," said Dr Mark Sauer, head of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

"What was unique about Bob is that he did this pioneering work at a time when it was immensely unpopular."

In the late 1970s and for years after, much of the public viewed test tube babies as "ghastly and scary", said Sauer.

"The Vatican tried to shut (Edwards and Steptoe) down. They did their work at great personal risk to their careers. But Edwards was a fighter, and he believed in what he was doing. He knew the human side of it" - the couples unable to conceive without medical help.

Edwards and Steptoe struggled to raise funds and had to rely on private donations, but in 1968 they developed methods to fertilise human eggs outside the body.


Working at Cambridge University, they began replacing fertilised embryos into infertile mothers in 1972. But several pregnancies spontaneously aborted due to what they later discovered were flawed hormone treatments.

In 1977, they tried a new procedure, which relied not on hormone treatments but on precise timing. On July 25 of the following year, the world's first IVF baby was born.

According to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), around one in six couples worldwide experience some form of infertility problem at least once during their reproductive lifetime.

Since Edwards' pioneering work, various forms of "assisted reproductive technology" have been developed, including intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) - a process by which an egg is fertilised by injecting it with a single sperm.

Martin Johnson, professor of reproductive sciences at Cambridge, said Edwards also wrote extensively about the ethics of assisted reproduction, and in 2000 founded the journal Reproductive BioMedicine Online to encourage rapid publication of research and to air controversies.

Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, Director of the Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine in New York, said Edwards had been "revered" in his field.

"The fact that he did not get the Nobel earlier must have reflected other forces," Rosenwaks said. Many of us wrote letters nominating him many years before he finally achieved it."

(Additional reporting by Sharon Begley in New York; Editing by Kevin Liffey)


Edited by SteveAJones
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jonathan Winters...a comic genius. I've seen it a million times, but I still watch "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" just to see him call Ethel Merman an old bag and go nuts at the gas station. RIP dude.

I'll second that, One of the best imrprov comics of all time. .

Rest in Peace Merth from Earth..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jonathan Winters... okay, I admit, I didn't even realize he was still with us...


^^^ THIS ^^^

Jonathan Winters is probably my very first favorite comedian.

My parents had many of his comedy LPs and I would listen and laugh to them for hours when I was as young as 7 or 8.

I remember memorizing a lot of the bits.

It's been a while since a celebrity death has made me truly feel sad and miss someone.

RIP Jonathan Winters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...