Raquel Welch Dies: ‘Fantastic Voyage’ Star & 1960s Sex Symbol Was 82

Actress Raquel Welch in the 1967 movie Bedazzled
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Screen legend Raquel Welch has died at the age of 82.

Welch’s family told TMZ she passed away on the morning of Wednesday, February 15, after a short illness. Her exact cause of death was not disclosed.

The actress rose to fame in the 1960s with TV roles on BewitchedThe Virginian, and McHale’s Navy. Her star rose higher with the 1966 films Fantastic Voyage and the One Million Years B.C. remake, and she went on to became a major sex symbol. Welch had few lines in One Million Years B.C., but her appearance in her deerskin bikini costume shot her into sex symbol status.

Raquel Welch in 'One Million Years B.C.,' 1966

Everett Collection

The star went on to appear in titles such as BedazzledFathom, spaghetti Western 100 Rifles, and Myra Breckinridge, and in 1974 won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her performance as Constance de Bonacieux in The Three Musketeers.

On TV, Welch guest starred in two episodes of Mork & Mindy (Captain Nirvana), starred in TV movies such as Scandal in a Small TownTrouble in ParadiseTainted BloodTorch Song, and House of Versace. She also had guest star roles in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (Diana Stride), C.P.W. (Dianna Brock), Sabrina, The Teenage Witch (Vesta), Seinfeld (as herself), Spin City (Abby Lassiter), American Family (Aunt Dora), 8 Simple Rules (Jackie), Welcome to the Captain (Charlene Van Ark/Van Ness), and CSI: Miami (Vina Navarro).

Later in life, Welch lended her talents to films such as Legally Blonde (Mrs. Windham Vandermark) and How to Be a Latin Lover (Celeste). Welch’s last role was the 2017 UPtv comedy Date My Dad.

One of the most memorable performances from The Cher Show in the 1970s — the “I’m a Woman” duet — was performed by Cher and Welch, who by that time had become one of Hollywood’s most sought-out stars. The performance aired nearly 48 years ago to the day of Welch’s death on February 16, 1975.

Born September 5, 1940, Welch married four times in her life. The first to James Welch (1959-1964), second to Patrick Curtis (1967-1972), third to Andre Weinfeld (1980-1990), and fourth to Richard Palmer (1999-2004). She had two children, actress and model Tahnee Welch, and Damon Welch, a computer consultant.