American actress and model Raquel Welch dies aged 82


Actress Raquel Welch, often credited with paving the way for modern day action heroines in Hollywood films, died on Wednesday at age 82.

Her death, following a brief illness, was confirmed in a statement released by her Los Angeles-based manager.

Welch first grabbed the public's attention with her role in the 1966 sci-fi adventure Fantastic Voyage playing a member of a miniaturised medical team injected into the body of an injured diplomat.

Her success in that film was followed by an iconic appearance later the same year in the prehistoric fantasy drama One Million Years B.C. depicting cavemen and women co-existing with dinosaurs.

Other screen credits in the late 1960s and early '70s included starring roles in Bedazzled, Bandolero!, 100 Rifles, and the title roles in Myra Breckinridge and Hannie Caulder.

She won a Golden Globe Award for best actress in a musical or comedy for her performance in the 1973 swashbuckling romp The Three Musketeers.

She was born Jo Raquel Tejada 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.

She briefly earned a living as a model and cocktail waitress before applying for film roles and breaking into the movie business with small 1964 roles in the drama A House Is Not a Home and the Elvis Presley musical Roustabout.

She went on to a career spanning more than half a century, appearing in more than 30 films and 50 television series, and as an entrepreneur was involved in a successful line of wigs, HairUWear, as well as a collection of jewelry and skin-care products.

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