raquel welch dies at 82 scaled

Raquel Welch was an icon of the 1960s.
Sunset Boulevard via Getty Images

Actor Raquel Welch has died at age 82, her management confirmed to HuffPost.

Welch broke into the Hollywood scene in the 1960s and went on to become a symbol of the era, with an eye-catching role as a prehistoric bikini-clad cavewoman in “One Million Years B.C.”

Her management told HuffPost that the “legendary bombshell actress of film, television and stage” died after a brief, unspecified illness.

“Her career spanned over 50 years starring in over 30 films and 50 television series and appearances,” read the statement. “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.”

Born Jo Raquel Tejada to a Bolivian father and American mother, Welch got her start on camera as a weather forecaster for KFMB, a San Diego news station, before relocating to Los Angeles and landing a studio contract. It was her role in 1966′s “Fantastic Voyage” — a sci-fi film about a team that gets shrunk down to miniatures so they can enter the body of an important scientist and heal him — that made her a star.

She went on to have a long career in film and television, once starring opposite Robin Williams on the 1970s sitcom “Mork and Mindy.” In more recent decades, she took roles on “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” “Seinfeld” and “CSI: Miami,” and had played a memorable part as Mrs. Windham Vandermark in 2001’s “Legally Blonde.” Her most recent appearance came in 2017, when she played the mother-in-law of a recently widowed father of three on the USA series “Date My Dad.”

In 1974, Welch reflected on being rocketed to fame by others’ perceptions of her looks in an interview with Rolling Stone, whose author made sure to comment on her breasts in the opening paragraphs of his finished piece.

“To have it said that you’re a sex symbol, the most beautiful girl in the world, is initially terrific. You think, isn’t that neat? Then you pass a mirror and you say, ‘Uh-oh, that face ain’t gonna launch a thousand ships, and that bod’s not so hot either.’ Nobody can be the most beautiful girl in the world. It’s just fairy-tale time,” Welch said.

She went on: “Now, after some psychotherapy, I’ve come to grips with the monster and said OK, there’s the public thing, the label. It means money and the chance to do other things. It’s going to be tough, but using it you can open up the other side and let people find out you’re a serious artist.”

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