Raquel Welch Dead at 82
Hollywood has lost a bright star.
“The legendary bombshell actress of film, television and stage, passed away peacefully early this morning after a brief illness,” a spokesperson for her management company Media Four told NBC News Feb. 15. “Her career spanned over 50 years starring in over 30 films and 50 television series and appearances.”
Born in Chicago in September 1940, Raquel rose to international fame in the ‘60s thanks to back-to-back roles in Fantastic Voyage and One Million Years B.C., where she sported an iconic deerskin bikini.
“I was a bigger-than-life persona,” she told AARP in 2011 about the role that thrust her into the spotlight, “before I was anyone in my own mind.”
From there, Raquel was celebrated for both her acting skills and beauty as she was named one of Empire magazine’s 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History and ranked No. 3 in Playboy‘s 100 Sexiest Stars of the 20th century in the ’90s.
The praise and titles were something Raquel would have never expected when she agreed to participate in One Million Years B.C.
“The lord was watching over me or something, because otherwise, why?” she told CBS News in 2012 when looking back on her career. “I mean there was no reason for me to be on top of a volcano in that outfit shooting a dinosaur movie and when I come back, I’m a star. It’s just nutty.”
Raquel was married four times throughout her life: to James Welch (1995-1964)—with whom she shared son Damon, 63, and daughter Tahnee, 61—Patrick Curtis (1967-1972), Andre Weinfeld (1980-1990) and Richard Palmer (1999 to 2004).
When discussing her family life, Raquel once admitted that she wasn’t always the best parent.
“I wouldn’t give myself an ‘A’ and my kids wouldn’t give me an ‘A,'” she told ParentDish in 2010. “We have a good relationship now, but not without a lot of effort on my part to make retribution and ask for forgiveness of them and rebuild the trust I lost out of the wrong set of priorities. These two children of mine are fantastic human beings and I want them to be at peace.”
Later on in her life, the actress used her Raquel Welch Wigs lines to give back to those in need. According to CBS News, she donated $15 million worth of wigs, mainly to cover cancer parents and those medically affected by hair loss.
“I’m thankful for this gift of life,” she told CBS News in 2012. “I’m thankful and I appreciate it. If you don’t appreciate what you’ve got, then you’re never ever going to be happy.”
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