American sweetheart Annette Funicello sparkled on-screen with Frankie Avalon and the one-time teen idol says his dear friend deserves to be in a better place.
Avalon said, "For at least the past six, seven years, she been really without any communication whatsoever. It’s just a terrible existence."
Avalon showed INSIDE EDITION inside his home, where posters of his famous beach movies with Annette line his home theater.
It was during their 1987 reunion movie, Back to the Beach, that Annette first showed signs of multiple sclerosis. For the next 26 years, the world watched as MS took over Annette’s body. Avalon recently got word from her daughter, Gina, Avalon’s goddaughter, that the end was near.
Avalon said, "I had gotten a text from her saying that her mom was in the hospital. They were hoping and praying that things would work out, but it just didn't happen. She's gone."
Annette's family chose to take her off life support, and she passed away at age 70. Last year, her husband Glen showed the devastating effects of the disease on the once bright-eyed star.
Now, Avalon is left to reflect on his unforgettable legacy with Annette. One secret he's revealing is why moviegoers never saw the most famous of Walt Disney’s original mouseketeers frolicking on the beach in a bikini.
Avalon said, “Walt Disney had in the contract that she should not expose her belly button. “
Another man from Annette’s past is legendary singer Paul Anka. He was Annette’s first serious boyfriend. Anka even wrote his 1960 hit, “Puppy Love”, for Annette in her parents' living room.
Anka said, “They were always telling us it was puppy love and it wasn’t going to go anywhere and you that can't be thinking marriage?”
INSIDE EDITION’s Megan Alexander asked, “Did you want to get married?”
Anka said, “She did, I didn’t. I felt I was too young. I was very committed to my career.”
Coincidently, Anka's new memoir, My Way, is being published this week.
Alexander asked, “How will you remember Annette?”
Anka replied, “I’ll always remember Annette as just a really good person.”
Memories of an American icon in Mickey Mouse ears, from two men who knew her so well.
Avalon said, “I’ll miss her a lot.”