Raquel Welch, who was a Hollywood sex symbol for decades, died today at the age of 82 after a “brief illness.”
The legendary Hollywood sex symbol Raquel Welch died on Wednesday. She was 82 years-old.
Welch Passes Away
Welch’s manager Steve Sauer confirmed her death to People Magazine, saying that the Golden Globe-winning star “passed away peacefully early this morning after a brief illness.”
“Her career spanned over 50 years starring in over 30 films and 50 television series and appearances,” he continued. “The Golden Globe winner, in more recent years, was involved in a very successful line of wigs.”
“Raquel leaves behind her two children, son Damon Welch and her daughter Tahnee Welch,” he concluded.
Born in Chicago in 1940 to a Bolivian-born engineer and his American wife, Welch once said that “by age 7 I knew I wanted to be an actress.”
“My parents enrolled me in a theater program,” she continued. “You could get away from some of the painfulness of real life. I always had flights of fancy.”
Welch made her film debut in the mid-1960s, and her breakout hit came in 1966 with her iconic role of “Loana the Fair One” in One Million Years B.C., in which she famously rocked a pre-historic bikini. This role almost never happened, however, as Welch wasn’t interested in making a “dinosaur movie.”
“I told (Fox’s studio head) Dick Zanuck I didn’t think I was going to do it because it was a dinosaur movie and I didn’t want to be caught dead in a dinosaur movie,” Welch once revealed to Fox News. “And he was not sympathetic to that.”
“He said, ‘No, you’re going to do it Raquel,’” she added. “‘And listen Raqui, you’re going to become a huge star!’ I said, ‘What? What am I even going to wear? What happened in dinosaur time?… He said, ‘Don’t worry, they’ll figure something out.’ And they sure did.”
Welch Wins Golden Globe
Welch later won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her work in the 1973 hit The Three Musketeers, and she would later describe this as one of the best moments of her career.
“Every single [film] contributed to my [transition],” she said. “I played a lot of action figures, like in Westerns… I carried a gun, I was a very formidable woman who could handle herself, who could ride and shoot.”
“I also showed myself in a lot of different periods of time,” Welch continued. “I worked in Spain for a lot of the Westerns, which is where most American Westerns were filmed.”
Welch Refused To Go Nude Onscreen
Though she was known as a sex symbol, Welch always refused to pose nude onscreen, saying in her memoir that she “always hated feeling so exposed and vulnerable” in love scenes.
“I’ve definitely used my body and sex appeal to advantage in my work, but always within limits,” she said, according to The New York Times. “I reserve some things for my private life, and they are not for sale.”
Welch was a true legend, and there will never be another one like her. She is survived by her two children, as well as by millions of fans who will miss her dearly.