Photo by Movie Poster Image Art.
Raquel Welch, the actress who is widely regarded as one of the leading sex symbols of her era, died on Wednesday morning in Los Angeles.
She was 82 years old.
She began her performing career in the early 1960s as a model on the TV variety show Hollywood Palace in addition to appearing in a small role in the Elvis Presley film Roustabout. But it was her1966 appearance as a bikini-clad cavewoman in One Million Years B.C. that catapulted her to fame, along with her role in the sci-fi film Fantastic Voyage. During her early years, she appeared in the westerns Bandolero! and 100 Rifles as well as in Bedazzled, playing a character named Lilian Lust. Bedazzled was remade in 2000 with Elizabeth Hurley and Brendan Fraser.
In 1970, Welch played the title role of a transgendered performer in a filmed version of Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckinridge, an oddball comedy that also included the octogenarian Mae West in the cast. Three years later, Welch received a best actress Golden Globe for her role as Constance de Bonacieux in The Three Musketeers. She reprised this role in the 1974 sequel The Four Musketeers: Milady’s Revenge.
During the 1990s, she played herself on a Seinfeld episode on television. She also portrayed Mrs. Windham Vandermark in the 2001 film Legally Blonde, playing opposite Reese Witherspoon. Her final film role was as Rosa in UPtv’s 2017 production Date My Dad.
In addition to her film career, Welch was also an entrepreneur of products that included jewelry, skin care treatments, and wigs.
Though her name is typically associated with words such as “bombshell” and “sexpot,” Welch was not comfortable with these epithets. She once told an interviewer that she “was not brought up to be a sex symbol, nor is it in my nature to be one.
… The fact that I became one is probably the loveliest, most glamorous and fortunate misunderstanding.”
The Chicago-born actress is survived by a son Damon and a daughter Latanne (“Tahnee”).