Raquel Welch: Hollywood actress dies at 82 after brief illness | The Art News

Hollywood actress Raquel Welch has died at the age of 82.

The American star “passed away peacefully early this morning after a brief illness,” her agency said.

Her career spanned more than 50 years and included 30 films, dozens of TV shows and appearances.

Welch won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 1975 for her role in The Three Musketeers.

Raquel Welch at the world premiere of Flight of the Phoenix on 20 January 1966 at the Carlton Theater in Haymarket, London.Image credit: Associated Press
Welch at the London premiere of Flight of the Phoenix in 1966.Image: Associated Press

In 1966, she had her first breakthroughs in the sci-fi adventure film Fantastic Voyage and the prehistoric drama series One Million Years B.C.

Despite only a few lines of dialogue, her appearance in the latter is one of her most famous roles, and her only costume is a buckskin bikini.

A promotional photo of her in both works became the best-selling poster.

In 2011, Time magazine ranked it number six on its list of “Top 10 Bikinis in Pop Culture”.

In addition to her acting career, Welch was also considered a sex symbol, with Playboy magazine calling her the “Most Popular Woman” of the 1970s.

Other screen credits in the late 1960s and early 1970s included starring roles in Bedazzled, Bandolero!, 100
Rifles, Myra Breckenridge and Hannie Calder.

She also appeared in numerous television shows from 1964 to 2017, and in the early 1980s, she appeared on Broadway in the New York Stage Woman of the Year alongside Lauren Bacall.

Reese Witherspoon said she was “very saddened to hear the news of Raquel Welch’s passing”, adding: “I loved working with her on Legally Blonde. She was elegant, professional and charismatic. Simply Amazing.”

Little House on the Prairie actress Melissa Gilbert said on Instagram: “Some people you aspire to be and some people you know you’ll never be like because they’re just so unique, there’s no denying it .This woman (Welch) was one of them. Rest in peace.”

Actor Robert Wagner called Welch an “incredibly gifted woman with such a beautiful soul.”

Raquel Welch at the Clive Davis Grammy Preliminary Party in Beverly Hills, CA on Feb. 9
Raquel Welch at the pre-Grammy Awards in Beverly Hills in 2008

Her agency, Media Four, said in a statement: “Legendary heavyweight actress Raquel Welch of film, television and stage passed away peacefully early this morning after a brief illness.

“Her career spanned more than 50 years, appearing in and starring in more than 30 films and more than 50 TV series.

“In recent years, the Golden Globe winner has been involved in a very successful wig line.

“Raquel is survived by her two children, son Damon Welch and daughter Tahnee Welch.”

Welch was born in Chicago in September 1940, and the family moved to San Diego in Southern California when he was two.

Her father, Armando Tejada, was an aerospace engineer from Bolivia.

Her cousin, the Bolivian politician Lidia Gayle Tejada, became the country’s first female president.

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