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(Obit below) Key words: Annette Funicello homosexuality anti-gay Anita Bryant
In answer to your many e-mailed questions - No... Her career was nearly destroyed because of this mix up. You're thinking of her look-alike and fellow singer... that overly-wholesome self-righteous bitch Anita Bryant-"The Florida Orange Juice Queen" and former Miss Oklahoma from the same era.
I used to have such a boyhood crush on Annette and her movies until I hit puberty and realized it was sexy Frankie Avalon I had the hots for and all those muscled hunks in tiny bathing trunks in her "beach" movies. Watch any mid 60's to early 70's TV show (especially Hawaii 5-0,) and you'll see that it was absolutely normal for ordinary everyday heterosexual guys (and girls) to wear SHORT tight cut-off denim shorts everywhere-and not just the beach. (GOD I miss the great 60's sexual revolution)
The Annette-Anita name/career confusion caused Annette a lot of undeserved loss of popularity because of the similarities.
At the very beginning stages of the first outbreak of HIV, ANITA Bryant-along with backing from bully pulpit televangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson made the life of gays a living hell during the Reagan era. Joining forces, they told everyone that would listen that AIDS was God's punishment for homosexuality. Unfortunately their verbal garbage made headlines and newscasts spreading their poison. Anita used her fading pop-music popularity to push the notion that homosexuals were all pedophiles determined to kidnap and rape little boys in order to "propagate" their "species".
She was later sued by the charity "Save The Children" for muddying their reputation by starting her anti-gay organization named "Save Our Children" that handed out God Hates Fags literature and raised a lot of born-again money for anti-gay legislature. She and Falwell were also very vocal lobbying congress and Ronald Reagan to refuse federal funding for AIDS research-irresponsibly causing a lot of unnecessary deaths of not only thousands of gays who couldn't get treatment, but also at least as many even more innocent straights whom she and Falwell's "Moral Majority" had ignorantly convinced were safe from the "gay cancer" because they were heterosexual and therefore immune!!!
Anita lost her gig representing Florida orange juice because of all the customers she alienated spewing her hatred and disinformation. It also cost her her marriage.
I've researched it, and as far as I can see Annette came down neither for-nor against-if she had an opinion at all. More than likely she came down in favor of gay rights considering how many closeted Disney actors she performed and hung out with - like popular teen favorite Tommy Kirk, who Disney fired after coming out, but had to rehire after his fans overwhelmingly protested.
Annette Joanne Funicello
(October 22, 1942 - April 8, 2013) was an actress and singer. Beginning her professional career as a child performer at the age of twelve, Funicello rose to prominence as one of the most popular "Mouseketeers" on the original Mickey Mouse Club.
She had taken ballet dancing to overcome her shyness, and Walt Disney himself spotted her in a school production of Swan Lake. She came across on camera as perky and cute and soon became a fan favorite.
Her friend Paul Anka who briefly dated her in the late 1950s said, "She had the thing," and wrote and recorded the hit song Puppy Love just for her.
As a teenager, she transitioned to a successful career as a singer with the pop singles "O Dio Mio," "Tall Paul" and "Pineapple Princess", as well as establishing herself as a film actress, popularizing the successful "Beach Party" genre alongside co-star Frankie Avalon during the mid-1960s. The string started with Beach Party, and continued with Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach, Pajama Party and Beach Blanket Bingo before wrapping up in 1965 with How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.
In 1992, Funicello announced that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She lost her ability to speak in 2009. She spent more than 20 years in a heroic battle against the crippling disease and reportedly had been in a coma for several years. She died of complications on April 8, 2013.