Actress Raquel Welch dead at age 82

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 16 (BNA): Actress Raquel Welch passed away Wednesday at the age of 82. Her death, after a short illness, was confirmed in a statement from her Los Angeles-based director.

Welch first came to public attention with her role in the 1966 science fiction adventure Fantastic Voyage, in which she plays a member of a miniature medical team who is injected into the body of an injured diplomat.

Her success in this film was followed by an iconic appearance later that same year in the prehistoric fantasy drama One Million Years B.C., which depicts cavemen and women coexisting with dinosaurs.

Other screen credits in the late 1960s and early 1970s included starring roles in “Bedazzled”, “Bandolero!” “100 Rifles” and the title role in “Myra Breckinridge” and “Hannie Caulder”.

She won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her performance in 1973’s The Three Musketeers.

Her portrayals of strong and willful characters have been credited with helping to shatter stereotypes at a time when changing attitudes toward gender roles have converged on empowering women on screen, even if their appearance remains subjective, Reuters reported.

She played a tough wife out for revenge in “Honey Caulder,” a Native American revolutionary with a vendetta in “100 Guns,” and a tailor to the queen in “The Three Musketeers.”

Jo Raquel Tejada was born in Chicago. Her father was an aeronautical engineer from Bolivia. Her family moved to California when she was young. She later studied ballet before entering a series of beauty contests.

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She briefly made a living as a model and waitress before moving on to movie roles and breaking into film with small roles in the 1964 drama ‘A House Is Not a Home’ and the Elvis Presley musical ‘Roustabout’.

She has gone on to a career that spans more than half a century, appearing in more than 30 films and 50 television series, and as an entrepreneur who has been involved in a successful line of wigs, HairUWear, as well as a line of jewelry and skincare products.

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