Her developing assets set the pulses racing of a whole generation of red-blooded American boys while adults – and the rest of us less-red-bloodied lads – were enchanted by her beauty, charm and vivacity. Disney showcased her multiplicity of talents and the public rewarded her by making her a star.
'Mickey Mouse,' she later said, 'is part of my life. That really is something not everyone can call their claim to fame.'
She became one of only a handful of performers to be known throughout the world by her first name, Annette was also the first female to have a rock-and-roll number in the Top Ten ('Tall Paul'), a song written for her by Richard and Robert Sherman that became for the brothers a calling card to Walt Disney and the beginning of a long and Oscar-winning association with the Mouse Factory and its Maestro.
I met Annette (along with several of the other original Mouseketeers) in 1988 at the Disneyland celebrations for Mickey Mouse's 60th birthday and it was impossible not to fall under her spell.
At that time, unbeknownst to the world, she was already beginning to suffer with the early stages of Multiple Sclerosis, the illness that she was to battle with for the next 25 years...
Responding to the news of Annette's death, Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company said: 'Annette was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word Mouseketeer, and a true Disney Legend. She will forever hold a place in our hearts as one of Walt Disney's brightest stars, delighting an entire generation of baby boomers with her jubilant personality and endless talent. Annette was well known for being as beautiful inside as she was on the outside, and she faced her physical challenges with dignity, bravery and grace.'
Here are a few of her classic moments and numbers...
(1942 – 2013)