‘Fantastic Voyage’ Star And Sex Symbol Passes Away After Brief Illness



  • Raquel Welch passed away early Wednesday after a brief illness
  • Her career spanned 50 years, and she appeared in over 30 films and 50 TV series
  • Welch was a sex symbol and was crowned by Playboy as the “most desired woman” of the ’70s

Raquel Welch, the Hollywood sex symbol known for her 1960s roles in “One Million Years B.C.” and “Fantastic Voyage,” has died. She was 82.

Welch died Wednesday morning after a “brief illness,” according to a statement from her rep. This may interest you : Princess Eugenie Shares First Family Photo With Newborn Son On Instagram.

“Raquel Welch, the legendary bombshell actress of film, television and stage, passed away peacefully early this morning after a brief illness,” read the statement obtained by the New York Post Wednesday.

It continued, “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. 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, who was born Jo Raquel Tejada, worked as a weather forecaster and model before landing her first film roles in 1964’s “A House Is Not a Home” and the Elvis Presley musical “Roustabout.”

Welch became a household name and a Hollywood sex symbol in 1966 after starring in “Fantastic Voyage,” a sci-fi adventure about a submarine crew who get shrunk down and injected into a scientist’s bloodstream.

In the same year, she cemented her sex symbol status when she appeared in the campy prehistoric movie “One Million Years B.C.,” in which she was clad in a brown doeskin bikini and had only three lines, according to PBS.

“I just thought it was a goofy dinosaur epic we’d be able to sweep under the carpet one day,” the actress told The Associated Press in 1981. “Wrong. It turned out that I was the Bo Derek of the season, the lady in the loin cloth about whom everyone said, ‘My God, what a bod’ and they expected to disappear overnight.”

Welch’s popularity continued. She starred as Lust in 1967’s “Bedazzled,” featuring the comedy tandem of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. She also appeared as a secret agent in the sexy spy spoof “Fathom” that same year.

Playboy crowned her the “most desired woman” of the ’70s despite never appearing completely naked in the magazine. In 2013, she nabbed the No. 2 spot on Men’s Health’s “Hottest Women of All Time” list.

Welch was also a great talent. Aside from being an actor, she was a singer and dancer. She starred in the 1981 musical “Woman of the Year” on Broadway. She returned to the Great White Way in 1997 in “Victor/Victoria.”

Despite her talents, Welch had been aware that some people didn’t take her seriously because of her sexy image.

“The irony of it all is that even though people thought of me as a sex symbol, in reality I was a single mother of two small children!” she wrote in her autobiography, “Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage.

Welch married her high school sweetheart, James Welch, in 1959 and had two children: Damon, 63, and Latanne “Tahnee,” 61. The couple divorced in 1964.

Welch went on to tie the knot three more times, to Patrick Curtis (from 1967 to 1972), André Weinfeld (from 1980 to 1990) and Richard Palmer (from 1999 to 2004).

Actress Raquel Welch arrives for the 9th season finale of 'American Idol' in Los Angeles