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Raquel Welch Dead at 82

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Sixties Hollywood siren Raquel Welch died today following a short illness. The film and TV star was 82.

Over her prolific career Welch had over 30 film credits and multiple TV appearances to her name, but is probably most known for her iconic role in the British made sci-fi series One Million Years B.C., which spawned a famous movie poster featuring Welsh as a “cavewoman” in a leather bikini. The poster itself garnered fame and reintroduced Welsh to a new generation of fans when it was featured in Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption.

Welch’s early career included such favorites as McHale’s Navy, Bewitched, and The Virginian, but her breakout film role was as Cora in the 1966 sci-fi pic Fantastic Voyage, which went on to win Oscars for its visual effects, Art Direction, and Set Decoration. Along with One Million Years B.C., Fantastic Voyage has since become a firm cult favorite.

Welch’s lengthy co-star list reads like a who’s Who of Hollywood’s Golden and New eras and includes Mae West, James Stewart, Dean Martin, Richard Burton, Burt Reynolds, James Coburn, Ernest Borgnine, Dudley Moore, Robin Williams, Robert Culp, Richard Chamberlain, Oliver Reed, Michael York, and Leslie Nielsen to name a few.

In 1987 Welch took on the lead Broadway role of Victoria Grant in Victor/Victoria, replacing original star Julie Andrews.

In 1996 she landed a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 1997 she earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in the film Right to Die, in which she starred as a successful woman whose life is upended following an ALS diagnosis.

In 2001 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Imagen Foundation.

Welch is survived by two children, Damon and Tahnee Welch.

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