Former Mouseketeer Has Fond Memories of "Annette" - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Former Mouseketeer Has Fond Memories of "Annette"

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They met when they were just 12 on the set of Disney's Mickey Mouse Club in 1955 and they stayed friends for a lifetime.

"Annette was the last Mouseketeer to be selected. She was chosen by Walt Disney himself," Sharon Baird recalls. "We had classes in these red school trailers and she sat right behind me and we were quick friends."

And Sharon has a lot of photographs and memorabilia from the times, but her most valued are her memories.

"We even had crushes on the same guys. One time we snuck off the set and snuck into the set where they were taping Zorro because we both had crushes and wanted to see Guy Williams as Zorro," she remembers with a smile.

Annette Funicello went on to start in string of Disney movies, Sharon was in other kid shows and adult movies too for many years and they kept in touch through the years.

"When I moved up here Annette would come and see me here in Reno," Sharon says. "In fact she made three trips up here after her diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis. We knew she wouldn't always be able to travel and I made a promise to her that I'd continue to visit her. And I did."

Sharon was there visiting this week when her friend Annette passed away from complications of that disease. She was 70.

"She always dreamed she'd be able to walk again," Sharon remembers. "And she always said she wanted to dance again. The last thing I said to her was, 'Put on your dancing shoes.'"

Funicello is survived by her husband of 27 years, California harness racing horse breeder/trainer Glen Holt, and her three children from her first marriage to Jack Gilardi: sons Jack Gilardi Jr., a producer, and Jason Gilardi, and daughter Gina Portman.

Written by Erin Breen

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