I heard of her passing, at age 70 from MS. just a little while ago. We were all coming of age at around the same time. In the lives of my age cohorts, she was our first crush, our first adolescent fantasy. When she began her string of beach movies, it was the the dawn of the sixties. As I remember, those movies were about how fun it was to be a free and easy youngster without being hamstrung by society’s ties. She inspired much of the beach and youth movement, which was a part of the whole counter-culture of the decade. She was a bridge between the mostly East-coast beat generation and the later West Coast Hippies and Flower Power. If there were no Annette in the equation, I wonder how history would have been different. Maybe it was a niche that anyone could have filled, but I don’t think so.
I think it is arguable which of these women changed the world the most.