Raquel Welch Dies, Aged 82

Raquel Welch

by empire |
Published on

Raquel Welch, an iconic actress whose image adorned posters in bedrooms around the world partly because of her bikini-clad role in One Million Years BC, but enjoyed a career that was so much more than one acting job, has died. She was 82.

Jo Raquel Tejada was born in Chicago in 1940. The family moved to San Diego, where she took ballet and acting lessons, and as a teen she won beauty contests. Welch also did some professional modeling.

She made her screen debut as one of the call girls in Russel Rouse’s film A House Is Not a Home in 1964, and in the same year made an uncredited appearance in the Elvis Presley movie Roustabout.

One of her earliest and best known roles was in 1966 sci-fi adventure Fantastic Voyage, in which she played one of a team of scientists miniaturized and injected into another scientist's body to clear a blood clot. That same year saw One Million Years BC turn her into a sex symbol.

Yet she enjoyed so much other success – Welch went on to appear in the controversial adaptation of Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckinridge, Kansas City Bomber and two films for Richard Lester: The Three Musketeers, for which she won a Golden Globe, and The Four Musketeers: Milady’s Revenge. She was one of the first women to play the lead role, not the romantic interest, in a Western, 1971 revenge tale Hannie Caulder. She also appeared in neo noir mystery The Last Of Shiela, which Rian Johnson as cited as part inspiration for Glass Onion.

Welch's cinematic CV also included the likes of Fathom, Legally Blonde, Bluebeard, Fuzz and Bedazzled.

In TV, she was seen in shows including Spin City, Seinfeld, American Family, CPW and TV movie Right To Die, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination.

Outside of her screen work, Welch also appeared on stage and was a successful businesswoman, launching Raquel’s Total Beauty and Fitness Program in the mid-1980s and more recently developing a line of wigs and hair extensions, as well as skin care products.

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