Jess Cagle
October 16, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

She’s remembered as a Mousketeer or a beach-movie starlet, not a diva. But Annette Funicello sings four songs on The Music of Disney — A Legacy in Song — as many as Angela Lansbury and one more than Julie Andrews. By her own admission she was never much of a singer. ”I remember being frightened every time I went into a recording studio,” says Funicello, 49, who was discovered at age 12 by Walt Disney himself at an amateur dance recital in Burbank. ”The producers developed an ‘Annette sound’: double tracking (recording a voice over itself) and lots of echo chambers.” Her chirpy singing voice was a natural for kitsch like the ”yeah-yeah”-filled theme from The Monkey’s Uncle (a 1965 Disney film, starring Funicello), which features the Beach Boys on backup and is a Legacy highlight. ”The Beach Boys watched The Mickey Mouse Club,” she marvels. ”Can you imagine that?”

Funicello lives in Encino, Calif., with her second husband, racehorse breeder Glen Holt (she has three children from a first marriage). Last July she disclosed that she has multiple sclerosis, but her cheeriness would still make Walt proud. She even giggles at old Annette jokes, such as Gilda Radner’s Saturday Night Live impersonation. ”That’s an honor,” she says. ”You have to find the light side to everything.”

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