Raquel Welch, ‘Fantastic Voyage’ Star, Dies at 82
One of the 1960s signature screen stars has died. Raquel Welch passed away on Wednesday morning. Her death was confirmed by family members who told TMZ she died following a “brief illness.” Welch was 82 years old.
Welch’s breakthrough as a movie star came in 1966, when she appeared in the sci-fi classic Fantastic Voyage. Directed by Richard Fleischer, the film followed a team of scientists and military officers as they shrink down and enter the body of an injured man via tiny submarine in order to repair his damaged brain.
That same year, Welch cemented her newfound celebrity in One Million Years B.C., a caveman adventure picture. Welch spoke only a handful of lines in the film (she was a cavewoman, after all), but her unique costume — essentially just a fur bikini — made her an instant sex symbol of the era. The poster of Welch in her One Million Years B.C. look became one of the most popular of its time.
Welch remained busy all through the late 1960s and into the 1970s. Her most notable productions include the original version of Bedazzled, the western 100 Rifles, the murder mystery The Last of Sheila, and the provocative adaptation Myra Breckinridge, based on the novel by Gore Vidal. Playing the title role, Welch proved herself a bold risk taker, appearing in a film that tackled controversial subject matter.
Welch stayed busy all through the 1980s and into the ’90s, doing more and more TV work, and appearing numerous times on Broadway. She also had a memorable guest spot on Seinfeld, playing a fictional (and surprisingly aggressive) version of herself in the Season 8 episode “The Summer of George.”
Welch was a Golden Globe winner for her work in 1973’s The Three Musketeers, and she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994. And those signature performances in Fantastic Voyage and One Million Years B.C. — and some of her iconic screen images — will be remembered for a very long time.