On Wednesday, actress Raquel Welch passed away at the age of 82, her representative announced. Welch was known for films in the 1960s, such as “Fantastic Voyage” and “One Million Years B.C.”
“Raquel Welch, the legendary bombshell actress of film, television and stage, passed away peacefully early this morning after a brief illness,” her rep, Steve Sauer, told Fox News. “The 82-year-old actress burst into Hollywood in her initial roles in ‘One Million [Years] B.C’ and ‘Fantastic Voyage.’”
“Her career spanned over 50 years starring in over 30 films and 50 television series and appearances,” Sauer continued. “The Golden Globe winner, in more recent years, was involved in a very successful line of wigs. Raquel leaves behind her two children, son Damon Welch and her daughter, Tahnee Welch.”
Welch co-starred with some of Hollywood’s most famous actors over the years, including Frank Sinatra, Robert Wagner, James Stewart, Dean Martin and Burt Reynolds. Her role as “Loana the Fair One” in “One Million Years B.C.,” one role which skyrocketed her to fame, almost didn’t happen as Welch had zero interest in making a “dinosaur movie.”
“I told [Fox’s studio head] Dick Zanuck I didn’t think I was going to do it because it was a dinosaur movie and I didn’t want to be caught dead in a dinosaur movie,” Welch had previously said in an interview. “And he was not sympathetic to that.”
“He said, ‘No, you’re going to do it, Raquel. And listen, Raqui, you’re going to become a huge star.’ I said, ‘What? What am I even going to wear? What happened in dinosaur time?’… He said, ‘Don’t worry, they’ll figure something out.’ And they sure did.”
The then 26-year-old had already worked with Elvis Presley in 1964’s “Roustabout,” reluctantly agreed to take the role and was sent to the Canary Islands for filming.
“We were so far from civilization,” she recalled. “I mean, there was a hotel at the bottom of the volcano near the sea. And I was at the top. And it was snowing.”
Welch, who was filmed wearing a skimpy “Prehistoric” bikini, did so during severe weather conditions and developed tonsillitis that she claimed became worse over time.
“I had already so much penicillin when I was wearing the fur bikini that I almost died … I had to rush, turn my car around and head right back to the doctor’s office, just run upstairs, jump in the elevator and all that,” she said. “And I barely got there. They had to shoot me with an antidote. Otherwise, I would have died. It was a really rough shoot, man. Really rough. And then I came to London and everybody knew who I was.”
Welch won a Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy after starring in 1973’s “The Three Musketeers” and later said that winning the award was one of her proudest career achievements.
“Every single [film] contributed to my [transition],” she told Fox News. “I played a lot of action figures, like in Westerns … I carried a gun; I was a very formidable woman who could handle herself, who could ride and shoot. … I also showed myself in a lot of different periods of time. … I worked in Spain for a lot of the Westerns, which is where most American Westerns were filmed.”
Welch is survived by her two children, Damon and Tahnee.
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