US actress and model Raquel Welch dies at age 82

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Thursday, February 16, 2023

Welch in 2010.
Image: Justin Hoch.

US actress and model Raquel Welch died yesterday in Los Angeles, California, Stephen LaManna, her manager, announced. She was 82 years old and had suffered a brief illness.

Welch was one of the most successful actresses of her time, with 30 film and 50 television roles throughout her career.

Jo-Raquel Tejada was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1940. She was raised in California, sweeping teen beauty pageants, then working as a local weather forecaster.

Divorced with two children, she lived in Texas, modelling for Neiman Marcus and working as a cocktail waitress.

In 1964, Welch returned to California, making cameos in the drama A House Is Not A Home and the musical Roustabout, earning her big break.

After her 1966 performance as a bikini-clad cavewoman in One Million Years B.C., Welch became an international sex symbol. In the 1970s, her portrayal of Constance de Bonacieux in the classic film The Three Musketeers won a Golden Globe award.

Welch long said she was uncomfortable with her body's sexualization. In her autobiography, Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage, she wrote: "The irony of it all is that, even though people thought of me as a sex symbol, in reality I was a single mother of two small children!"