Raquel Welch, an Actress and A Sex Icon of The 1960s, Has Died at Age 82.

Raquel Welch passed away on February 15 at her Los Angeles home. She had built a decades-long screen career while asserting and playfully winking at her dark-haired beauty when she appeared in the 1966 movie “One Million Years B.C.” in a deerskin bikini. She was 82.

Damon Welch, her son, acknowledged her passing but did not give a cause. The 1966 science-fiction movie “Fantastic Voyage,” in which Ms. Welch, a former model and beauty queen, played a scientist who was reduced to the size of a microbe and put inside a dying man, made an effect.

Later the same year, she featured in the low-budget British adventure fantasy “One Million Years B.C.” as a cavewoman. She barely talked throughout the movie because, at one moment, a huge prehistoric bird terrified her, yet few people paid for the dialogue.

A marketing shot highlighting her physical charms appeared to say it all even before the movie came out. Her hair hung over her shoulders, and she wore a ragged animal hide that was designed to highlight her legs.

She had a strong start for the horizon. Her career in Hollywood, which spanned more than five decades and 70 film and television credits, was launched by the picture, which turned her into an overnight pinup star and box office bombshell.

According to Howard Thompson, a critic for the New York Times, “Nothing could appear more vital and durable than Miss Welch.” He proclaimed the actress to be “a magnificent breathing monument to womankind.”

Ms. Welch later went on to portray Lust, one of the seven deadly sins, in the British comedy “Bedazzled” (1967), and she was frequently cast in westerns while partially undressed.

She played a frontier widow who falls in love with Dean Martin in “Bandolero!” (1968), a tragic Native American revolutionary opposite Jim Brown and Burt Reynolds in “100 Rifles,” and a budding gunfighter in “Hannie Caulder” (1971

Many of her early movies received negative reviews upon release, notably the comedy “Myra Breckinridge” (1970), which was based on a Gore Vidal satire and featured her as a transsexual character who claimed to be her own widow.

She said to Out magazine in 2012 that “the only pleasant thing about that production was the outfits.” Even though some directors were unable to see past her appearance, she remained one of Hollywood’s most notable leading ladies, appearing on the cover of Time magazine and searching for bigger opportunities.


She stated to the Philadelphia Daily News in 1970, “I think there’s a stigma for attractive women like [Marilyn] Monroe and [Jean] Harlow. “They have a reputation for being lifeless and dull. There is no reason, in my opinion, why glam females can’t also be compassionate, smart, and successful.

Additionally, it’s crucial to have that included as part of the image. Ms. Welch received praise the following year for her supporting roles in “The Three Musketeers,” where she played Michael York’s love interest, and “The Last of Sheila,” where she co-starred with James Mason as a film actress who may have been involved in a murder. Ms. Welch broke her wrist while practicing for “Kansas City Bomber” in 1972.

She also fought with coworkers and fellow actors who referred to her as a diva on the set. In “100 Rifles,” she claimed to have thrown a frying pan at former Cleveland Browns fullback Brown, and in “The Last of Sheila,” she claimed to have hired a bodyguard to watch after her when director Herbert Ross reportedly hit her in the dressing room.

According to a Newsweek article, Mason described her as “the most selfish, ill-mannered, thoughtless actress that I’ve ever had the displeasure of working with.”

In 2001, she told the Scottish newspaper the Herald, “The more I knew, the more problem I became. “I was trying to find the proper thing and receiving a lot of pushback during that time when I was making a big deal about altering my image.

They felt they ought to make me laugh, but I don’t believe they truly cared. I used to approach the director of “One Million Years B.C.” and ask, “What if my character did this or that?” Don’t think, he would say as he would glance at me.

Debra Winger took Ms. Welch’s place on the “Cannery Row” movie set in 1980 when the studio complained about Ms. Welch’s insistence on applying her cosmetics and hair at home rather than on location. Her lawsuit for contract violation resulted in a $10 million settlement.

She subsequently admitted to the Hollywood Reporter, “But I haven’t starred in a major motion picture since that time. “That’s not the result I wanted,” the speaker said.

She achieved success in TV movies after leaving Hollywood for employment, most notably in the Emmy-nominated “Right to Die” opposite Michael Gross (1987).

She also had appearances in two Broadway musicals, receiving accolades for her work in “Victor/Victoria” and “Woman of the Year,” and she has shown a gift for humor in movies like “Legally Blonde” (2001), in which she played a minor role as a rich and amusingly neurotic widow.

She released her autobiography, “Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage,” in 2010. In response to her reputation, she had stated to the Miami Herald decades before, “I refuse to apologize for what I do.”

“I can accomplish things that Geraldine Page cannot, and the opposite is also true. Just as Julie Andrews will always be Mary Poppins, I will always be the attractive lady. It follows you everywhere you go.”

She was born Jo-Raquel Tejada in Chicago on September 5, 1940, and was the first of three siblings. Her mother, an American of English descent, worked as an executive assistant at the toy manufacturer Mattel. Her father was an aeronautical engineer born in Bolivia.

Ms. Welch recalls that her father had a short fuse and would frequently lash out at her mother while she was growing up in an unsettling home in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego. Even with Mom and Dad, she said in her biography, “There were no snuggling or lovey-dovey things occurring.”

“I don’t remember ever seeing him grasp her hand or give her a kiss. I was left wanting for a taste of compassion and romance from an early age.”

She claimed that she usually sang along to keep her erratic father pleased because the music on the radio appeared to calm him. He also took her to the cinema, where Ms. Welch was enthralled by the lavish costumes in productions like Tyrone Power’s “Prince of Foxes” and “Hamlet” with Laurence Olivier.

Ms. Welch first staged plays in the garage of her family, using blue chenille bedspreads as curtains. Later, she participated in lessons at a neighborhood junior theatre.

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Additionally, she learned ballet and competed in beauty pageants as a teenager, eventually taking home the Miss La Jolla, Miss San Diego, and Maid of California crowns.

In 1959, Ms. Welch married James Welch, her high school boyfriend, while working as a “weather lady” at a San Diego television station. They had two children before divorcing, but Ms. Welch continued to use his last name while she started a career in show business.

She temporarily worked as a model in Dallas before relocating to Los Angeles to act, appearing alongside Elvis Presley in the 1964 musical film “Roustabout.”

She was then dating press agent Patrick Curtis, who would later become her husband and business partner. Ursula Andress, a James Bond actress, declined the role in “One Million Years B.C.,” so Ms. Welch stepped in and put on her furs.

Her following unions with French writer-producer André Weinfeld and restaurateur Richard Palmer also ended in divorce, as did her marriage to Curtis. She is survived by her daughter Tahnee Welch of Los Angeles, her son Damon of Jefferson City, Missouri, and a brother.

Decades after she appeared for the advertising shot that began her career, Ms. Welch had mixed feelings about seeing herself in a prehistoric bikini, at times scarcely appearing to recognize the young lady at its center.

She told the Herald, “Looking at ‘her’ now evokes various feelings on different days. I occasionally think, “Ugh! Who is she? ” Other days, though, I consider, “Perhaps there was something about that girl with her legs astride and hands at the ready that was sort of formidable.

Maybe it best describes who I am, to be honest.