Hollywood actress Raquel Welch, who is often credited with paving the way for modern-day action heroines in films and who rose to fame as a sex symbol in the 1960s, has died. She was aged 82 years old.
Her death was confirmed by her son, Damon, in a statement. According to him, she died after a brief illness.
“She passed away with no pain,” he said. “I’m very proud about what she contributed to society and her career and everything. I’m most proud of her doing the U.S.O tours with Bob Hope during the late 60s and early 70s. We missed Christmas with her for three years while she was doing that. She said that was the hardest thing.”
Raquel Welch’s acting career started in the 1960s with appearances on TV shows such as The Virginian, McHale’s Navy, and Bewitched. That paved the way for back-to-back roles in Fantastic Voyage, and One Million Years B.C.
Welch’s role in One Million Years B.C movie gave her the sex symbol status for playing a bikini-clad cavewoman.
Despite her public image, however, she expressed dislike for 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 would go on to act in several films, including 1970’s Myra Breckinridge, where she played the role of a trans actress, and The Three Musketeers, which earned her a Golden Globe award in 1974 for best actress in a motion picture comedy or musical.
Welch appeared in more than 30 movies and 50 television shows in her movie career which spanned over five decades.
It included playing the love interest of Frank Sinatra’s character in 1968’s Lady in Cement; the titular transgender heroine in 1970’s Myra Breckenridge; and a Golden Globe-nominated performance in the 1987 TV drama Right to Die.
She also released her own line of wigs, a jewelry and skincare collection, and a Mac Cosmetics makeup line.
Raquel Welch is survived by two children, her son Damon Welch and her daughter, Tahnee Welch.