American actress Raquel Welch, 82, has passed away. She was widely regarded as a pioneer for the role of the strong female protagonist in Hollywood films.
Her management claimed the singer died quietly in her sleep on a Wednesday morning following a short battle with sickness.
Due to her role as a bikini-clad cavewoman in the 1966 film One Million Years B.C., Welch became a global sex icon in the 1960s.
A Golden Globe was bestowed upon her for her performance in The Three Musketeers in 1974.
Welch, whose birth name was Jo-Raquel Tejada and who was raised in California, won adolescent beauty pageants and went on to become a weather forecaster. She was born in 1940.
Raquel Welch’s life
The single mother of two worked as a Neiman Marcus model and a cocktail server during her brief stay in Dallas, Texas.
When she returned to Hollywood in 1964, she quickly found work in two Elvis Presley musicals: the comedic A House Is Not a Home and the dramatic Roustabout.
Her appearances in the science fiction picture Fantastic Voyage and the fantasy film One Million Years B.C. propelled her to fame two years later.
The latter film featured Welch in a small role, but advertising stills of her in a two-piece deerskin bikini propelled her to stardom as a major pin-up girl of the day.
Despite her fame, she has always been self-conscious about how her body is portrayed, noting that “becoming a sex symbol is neither in my upbringing nor in my personality.”
When asked to elaborate, she said, “The fact that I became one is perhaps the finest, most beautiful, most lucky mistake.”
Welch later wrote a biography titled Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage in which she discussed her background, the difficulties of starting a career as a single mother in Hollywood, and why she would never lie about her age in order to get roles.
Welch had a career lasting over 50 years, during which time he was in over 30 films and 50 TV series.
In 1968, she played the love interest of Frank Sinatra’s character in Lady in Cement. In 1970, she played the transgender heroine Myra Breckenridge, and in 1987, she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal in the television drama Right to Die.
In her latter years, she launched her own wig brand, as well as jewellery, skincare, and a Mac Cosmetics beauty range bearing her name.
Reese Witherspoon, who co-starred with Welch in Legally Blonde, was among those who paid homage.
Witherspoon said of her: “She was graceful, professional, and gorgeous beyond imagination.” Just breathtaking!
Viola Davis, an actress and producer, shared a video of herself performing “I’m a Woman” with Cher in 1975, captioning it, “You were timeless to me…iconic.”
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