Actress Raquel Welch has died at 82. “The 100 Rifles” star passed away after a brief illness, per TMZ, according to The Daily Mail.
Known for her film career in the 1960s and 70s, Welch also became one of pop culture’s most well-known sex symbols of the era.
Welch’s career would last until well into the millennium, including a role in the 2001 cult classic, Reese Witherspoon’s “Legally Blonde.” Most recently, Welch starred in the TV series, “Date My Dad,” in 2017.
Welch would rise to fame during the mid-sixties, starring in films with Elvis Presley, and was part of the era of beach comedies with her role in “A Swingin’ Summer.”
Raquel Welch Dies At 82
Welch’s career would gain momentum in 1966 as she signed a contract with 20th Century Fox. Her work with the company would include career-defining roles in films such as “One Million Years B.C.,” “The Oldest Profession,” “Shoot Loud… I Don’t Understand,” and “Fantastic Voyage.” (per Forbes)
Welch would struggle with her reputation as a sex symbol. She would speak out about her feelings as being perceived as such in an era that greatly emphasized beauty and sexuality arguably over one’s talent: “Being a sex symbol was rather like being a convict,” Welch would observe. The mind is an erogenous zone.”
“Americans have always had sex symbols,” Welch would later observe, “It’s a time-honored tradition and I’m flattered to have been one. But it’s hard to have a long, fruitful career once you’ve been stereotyped that way. That’s why I’m proud to say I’ve endured.”
Welch’s role in “One Million Years B.C.” would serve as the role which inspired her reputation. The Daily Mail notes she had a minimal number of lines during the whole film.
On the subject, she would also note, “If you have physical attractiveness, you don’t have to act.” (all quotes per IMDB)
Welch would marry four times; her last husband was Richard Palmer, with whom she shared two children. The pair would divorce in 2004, according to Daily Mail.
In spite of her decades-long reputation as a sex symbol, Welch would later acknowledge the power of putting herself before her image. Of her personal definition of success, she would note, “Once you get rid of the idea that you must please other people before you please yourself, and you begin to follow your own instincts- only then can you be successful. You become more satisfied, and when you are, other people will tend to be satisfied with what you do.”
Fans React To Raquel Welch’s Death
Raquel Welch has passed away at the age of 82.
What a life. Rest in peace… pic.twitter.com/Lp0ECK3ugB
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) February 15, 2023
Welch would trend on Twitter following news of her death.
Rolling Stone editor-in-chief Noah Shactman honored her legacy by sharing a snippet of a 1974 interview Welch did with the publication, wherein she gives a colorful description of her reputation for having plastic surgery, a myth she proudly debunked.
Sharing a clip from Welch’s appearance on “The Dick Cavett Show,” a fan wrote, “At the time, every teen and pre-teen boy knew who she was. A lot more talented than most people give her credit for being.”
“One of my fondest memories was going to the movies with my mom to see ‘Mother, Jugs and Speed’ probably not appropriate for a 10 yr old, but good memory nonetheless,” a fan recalled.
Welch’s exact illness is unknown, as of this writing.