She died on February 15, 2023, at the age of 82. Welch, who appeared in numerous feature films, T.V. series, T.V. films, and Broadway plays, defied the blonde bombshell stereotype in the 1970s and became a sex symbol.
The famous deer hide bikini scene from One Million Years B.C. was where she made her name (1966).
Raquel was given a significant role in the 1966 science fiction picture “Fantastic Voyage,” in which she played one of the numerous medical professionals who were condensed and injected into the body of a dying diplomat.
The movie was a huge hit, which led to Raquel being lent to a British production company for her subsequent picture, “One Million Years B.C.,” which solidified her position as the next Hollywood sex icon.
Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, Raquel battled to shed this image and establish herself as more than just a sex symbol, despite the opportunities her prehistoric bikini provided her.
Ironically, she and Patrick Curtis’ original intention was to turn her into a sex icon. Curtis had even proposed that Raquel preserve her ex-last husband’s name to avoid being stereotyped as a Latina.
This did not stop her from being reduced to a mere sex symbol. Raquel was the first non-blonde Hollywood sex symbol, ushering in a new standard for the archetype despite appearing in more box office duds than hits. During this period, both directors and critics critiqued her acting abilities.
Raquel took on several notably contentious parts to be recognized more seriously as an actress.
Her character and former NFL fullback-turned-actor Jim Brown appeared in an interracial love scene in the 1968 Western “100 Rifles.”
She played a transsexual character who enrolled at her uncle’s Hollywood acting school to upset the social order by educating kids about the dominatrix lifestyle in the movie “Myra Breckinridge” two years later.
Numerous people criticized the movie harshly and dubbed it the worst movie ever filmed.
Raquel and former sex queen Mae West, well-known from the 1920s to the 1940s, also had disagreements.
Raquel gained a reputation for being difficult to deal with, and after MGM sacked her from the early 1980s movie “Cannery Row,” she even filed a lawsuit against the studio.
She gained fame and recognition throughout the 1970s despite the failure of “Myra Breckinridge,” In 1975, she was awarded a Golden Globe for her performance in “The Three Musketeers.”
Additionally, Playboy Magazine dubbed her the Most Desired Woman of the 1970s.
Welch had a great decade thanks to her role in the hit dark comedy “Mother, Jugs & Speed.”
Raquel’s lawsuit against MGM in 1982 severely damaged her career in Hollywood. Although she won the lawsuit and MGM was found in breach of contract, the ordeal limited her to supporting roles on theatre and smaller screen.
She later came to regret pursuing the lawsuit due to the restrictions it imposed on her acting career. Nevertheless, she was successful in television movies and even received another Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of Lou Gehrig’s disease patient in the 1987 movie “Right to Die.”
She played supporting roles in films and bit parts on numerous television shows throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
She didn’t earn another significant film part until 2001 when she starred in “Legally Blonde.”
Raquel Welch paid $2 million to buy the Beverly Hills, California, property that she later completely refurbished from comedian Jeff Foxworthy in 1997.
She paid Dr. Robert Rey from the reality television show $4.5 million for the property in 2005.
She bought a second Beverly Hills mansion in 2001 and lived in that till the end of her life. The value of this property is currently estimated to be $4–$5 million.