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US Actress Raquel Welch Dies at 82

Raquel Welch
Welch in the deerskin bikini became a bestselling poster (left) and the actress pictured in 2010. Credit: Justin Hoch, CC BY 2.0/Wikipedia

US actress Raquel Welch, often credited with paving the way for modern-day action heroines in Hollywood films, has died at the age of 82.

The star passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning after a brief illness, her manager said.

Welch became an international sex symbol in the 1960s, widely remembered for playing a bikini-clad cavewoman in the 1966 film One Million Years B.C. Welch only had a handful of lines in ‘B.C.’ but it was her wardrobe — a simple and skimpy deerskin bikini — that catapulted her to sex symbol status.

From there, Welch’s profile blew up, and she was one of the most sought-after female stars throughout the ’60s and ’70s taking home plenty of hardware in the process, including a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her 1974 role in “The Three Musketeers.”

Welch was named one of the “100 Sexiest Stars in Film History” in an issue of Empire magazine in 1995 and was ranked #3 in Playboy’s “100 Sexiest Stars of the 20th Century.”

Raquel Welch was unhappy with the representation of her body

Despite her public image, however, she long expressed discomfort with the representation of her body, once saying 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,” she added.

Welch went on to address her image in her memoir, Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage, in which she opened up about her childhood, her early career woes as a single mother in Hollywood, and why she would never lie about her age.

In a career spanning over five decades, Welch appeared in more than 30 movies and 50 television shows.

Raquel was married 4 times throughout her life — James Welch (’59-’64), Patrick Curtis (’67-’72), Andre Weinfeld (’80-’90) and Richard Palmer (’99-’04) — with 2 kids, Tahnee and Damon Welch.

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