Raquel Welch, the American actor and ‘60s pin-up icon, has died today (February 15) at the age of 82, her family have confirmed.
The star died at her home in Los Angeles, her son Damon said. No cause of death has been made public at present.
Welch was born Jo-Raquel Tejada in Chicago on September 5, 1940, before her family moved to southern California when she was two years old. She studied theatre at San Diego State College but dropped out to marry her then-boyfriend and later got a job as a weather reader on the TV channel KFMB.
Although she had several small parts in films and TV series before, Welch rose to fame in 1966 when she scored the role of Loana in One Million Years B.C. Her appearance on the film’s poster in a doeskin bikini transformed her into a Hollywood pin-up, although she became better known for her looks than her acting skills.
However, in 1973 she won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her role as Constance Bonacieux in The Three Musketeers. She reprised the role a year later in the sequel, The Four Musketeers.
She later went on to appear in films like Chairman Of The Board and Legally Blonde, while on the small screen, she had a cameo in Seinfeld, as well as parts in Sabrina The Teenage Witch, American Family, 8 Simple Rules and more. Her final roles came in 2017 when she played Celeste Birch in the film How To Be A Latin Lover and Rosa in the comedy-drama TV show Date My Dad.
In 2010, she published a memoir titled Beyond The Cleavage. “Personally, I always hated feeling so exposed and vulnerable [in romantic scenes],” she wrote in it, discussing her refusal to do nude scenes on film.
“I’ve definitely used my body and sex appeal to advantage in my work, but always within limits. I reserve some things for my private life, and they are not for sale.”
“So sad to hear about Raquel Welch’s passing,” Reese Witherspoon wrote on Twitter following the news of Welch’s death. “I loved working with her on Legally Blonde. She was elegant , professional and glamorous beyond belief. Simply stunning. May all her angels carry her home. Sending love to her family and her many fans.”
So sad to hear about Raquel Welch’s passing. I loved working with her on Legally Blonde. She was elegant , professional and glamorous beyond belief. Simply stunning. May all her angels carry her home. Sending love to her family and her many fans pic.twitter.com/FBtXhpvS25
— Reese Witherspoon (@ReeseW) February 15, 2023
See more tributes below.
The iconic Raquel Welch left the planet today. She was the forerunner of female power in the movies. She created a niche for herself that wasn’t just about physical beauty, it was more about equality. She represented it, and we loved her for it RIP. pic.twitter.com/Akgopt8Oyd
— Michael Des Barres (@MDesbarres) February 15, 2023
I know she’s famous for bigger/more notable things (inventing the bikini basically) but for me, Shake Your Whammy Fanny is forever burned on my brain. RIP Raquel Welch pic.twitter.com/vJaNZ8ijpx
— Tom Aspaul (@tom_aspaul) February 15, 2023
I have Raquel Welch to thank for becoming a more confident comedian. On The Muppet Show, she helped pick me up when I was down and she was someone I could confide in. Thanks for being my friend, Raquel.
— Fozzie Bear (@FozzieBear) February 15, 2023
RIP to American cinema icon RAQUEL WELCH, who has died at the age of 82 Famous for her back-to-back roles in movies FANTASTIC VOYAGE and ONE MILLION YEARS B.C., both in 1966, a generation came of age when she starred in 1972 classic KANSAS CITY BOMBER pic.twitter.com/bB8HwKKiQW
— Rhino Records (@Rhino_Records) February 15, 2023
We’ll never forget our remarkable friend Raquel Welch, one of our favorite guests on The Muppet Show. From dancing with a giant spider, to inspiring @FozzieBear, and duetting with @MissPiggy, Raquel could do it all! pic.twitter.com/1Rzk9PbTwr
— The Muppets (@TheMuppets) February 15, 2023
Raquel Welch was one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever worked with. Performing a duet with her on The Muppet Show helped moi become the W-O-M-A-N I am today! We’ll never forget vous, Raquel! pic.twitter.com/fo0saG7EiD
— Miss Piggy (@MissPiggy) February 15, 2023
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