Raquel Welch, Sex Symbol and Icon of the 1960s and ’70s, Dies at 82

Welch’s films included “Fantastic Voyage,” “The Three Musketeers” and “Legally Blonde”

Raquel Welch
Getty Images

Raquel Welch, an international sex symbol and icon of the 1960s and 70s has died after a brief illness, according to her management company Media Four. Welch was 82.

Welch’s films included “Fantastic Voyage,” “The three Musketeers” and “Legally Blonde.”

Welch is best known for her breakout role in “Fantastic Voyage” (1966), after which she was signed to a talent contract with 20th Century Fox. She followed that with “One Million Years B.C.” in which she had only three lines. But her skimpy two-piece deerskin bikini became a best-selling poster and launched her into star status as an international sex symbol.

Raquel Welch publicity portrait for the film ‘One Million Years B.C.’, 1966. (Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images)

Welch would then go on to star with Dudley Moore and Peter Cook in “Bedazzled” (1967) and star in the Western “Bandolero!” (1968) opposite Dean Martin and James Stewart.

In 1970, Welch would star in title role in Gore Vidal’s controversial “Myra Breckinridge.” The film was based on Vidal’s bestseller about a man who becomes a woman through surgery.

Welch became a bona fide movie star in the ’70s and starred with Burt Reynolds in the comedy “Fuzz” (1972), and roller derby movie “Kansas City Bomber” (1972).

American actress Raquel Welch in Rome to promote her latest film Ken Annakin’s crime caper ‘The Biggest Bundle Of Them All’, 1968. She is wearing a long black evening dress with a white feather boa. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In 1973, Welch would star in “The Three Musketeers” and win the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy. She would return for the sequel in 1974’s “The Four Musketeers.”

Also in the ’70s, Welch would venture into television and made appearances on “The Muppet Show” and “Mork and Mindy” as an alien bounty hunter pursuing Robin Williams.

In the ’80s, Welch would star on Broadway in “Woman of the Year” (1981) and would launch her production banner Raquel Welch Productions. Under her banner she starred and produced the western ““The Legend of Walks Far Woman” (1982).

In 1982, Welch was being considered to star as Alexis Carrington on the ABC prime time drama “Dynasty.” The role ended up being played by Joan Collins.

Her other roles in the 80s included “Right to Die” (1987), “Scandal in a Small Town” (1988) and “Trouble in Paradise” (1989).

Later, Welch cameoed as herself in “Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult” (1994). She would also star in prime-time soap “Central Park West” (1995). Welch also played the flamboyant Aunt Vesta on comedy series “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” (1996).

In 2001, Welch would star opposite Reese Witherspoon in “Legally Blonde” and in “Tortilla Soup,” the remake of Ang Lee’s “Eat Drink Man Woman.”

Welch’s last film role was in 2017’s “How to be a Latin Lover.”

Welch, who married fours times, is is survived her two children, Damon Welch, her son, and actress Tahnee Welch, her daughter.