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Hollywood pays tribute to Raquel Welch, a legend who was ‘glamorous beyond belief’

Woman wearing a wide-brimmed hat and white tank top turtle neck, plaid pants and boots in black and white photo
Raquel Welch, seen in 1966, died Wednesday.
(Uncredited / Associated Press)
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Tributes are pouring in for Raquel Welch, the Hollywood legend who died Wednesday at age 82 after a long and storied career both on and offstage.

“So sad to hear about Raquel Welch’s passing. I loved working with her on Legally Blonde,” tweeted the film’s star, Reese Witherspoon, alongside an image of Welch as her character, Mrs. Windham Vandermark. “She was elegant, professional and glamorous beyond belief. Simply stunning. May all her angels carry her home. Sending love to her family and her many fans.”

“Law & Order” star Chris Meloni wrote, “Raquel Welch dying is a very weird feeling.”

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Raquel Welch, the 1960s legend who starred in ‘One Million Years B.C.’ and ‘Fantastic Voyage,’ has died, her family announced Wednesday. She was 82.

Feb. 15, 2023

“This is so sad,” tweeted actor Paul Feig, who worked with Welch on “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” in 1996. “She was awesome, kind, funny and a true superstar whom I was pretty much in love with for most of my childhood. We’ve lost a true icon.”

Actor and comedian Sandra Bernhard called Welch “a unique beauty who left her one of a kind groovy vibe wherever she went.”

The Muppets account, along with Miss Piggy and Fozzie the Bear, joined in, sharing photos of Welch as a guest on “The Muppets Show”: “From dancing with a giant spider, to inspiring @FozzieBear, and duetting with @MissPiggy, Raquel could do it all!”

Here’s a look at Raquel Welch’s life and career in photos, from ‘One Million Years B.C.’ to ‘The Three Musketeers.’

Feb. 15, 2023

The Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation also penned a short tribute. Ray, a special-effects guru, was behind the visuals in the 1966 film “One Million Years B.C.,” in which Welch starred.

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“We are saddened to hear about the passing of legendary actress Raquel Welch, who starred as Loana in Ray Harryhausen’s 1966 classic ‘One Million Years B.C’.,” the foundation wrote. “An iconic role which spawned one of the most famous movie posters ever. Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time.”

Welch’s roles in the 1966 films “One Million” and “Fantastic Voyage” catapulted her to stardom and made her an international sex symbol. But despite the iconic images of her character in “One Million” dressed in a fur bikini, she fought to be taken more seriously.

At the beginning of “Fantastic Voyage,” star Stephen Boyd can be forgiven for being momentarily distracted by the comely technical assistant for “the top brain man in the country.”

Aug. 27, 2016

“She’s really pretty OK,” Welch said of her “One Million” character in a 2010 interview with The Times. “I recognize her as one part of my nature. But I just don’t want it to be my complete legacy.”

Honoring her legacy on Wednesday, many fans recalled her beauty, while others paid tribute to the independent female characters she portrayed, along with her comedic talent, memorable supporting roles on television and pop-culture moments.

“Raquel Welch was my pretend relative I wish I had who inspired me by example of being unapologetically feminine & strong simultaneously, while not caring what anyone thinks, bc I am too hot & too happy living to care,” wrote one fan on Twitter. “Checking out after 1 last VDay is so her.”

Raquel Welch takes herself seriously, and so should you

April 7, 2010

Another fan thanked Welch for being “a strong, amazing role model and for your extensive charity work! Naturally beautiful inside and out!”

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Boston-based broadcast journalist J. C. Monahan praised Welch for her “stunning beauty” but also for “her great comedic timing in tv and movies later in her career.”

Welch appeared in the 2017 comedy “How to Be a Latin Lover” as a widowed billionaire. She also had a small role in the 2001 romantic comedy “Legally Blonde,” in which she played an elusive widow, Mrs. Windham Vandermark, whom Witherspoon’s character encounters at a luxurious day spa.

She made an early acting career of skimpy on-screen outfits in B and C movies, but later quieted skeptics with her comedic skills in “The Three Musketeers” (1974) and her SRO performances on Broadway as Lauren Bacall’s replacement in the Tony Award-winning “Woman of the Year.”

April 15, 1990

Some fans remembered her guest appearance on “Seinfeld” playing an absurd version of herself who attacks the show’s main characters after Kramer fires her from a theater production she starred in.

One fan shared that they had just watched a rerun of the ABC sitcom “8 Simple Rules,” which featured Welch as a guest star. Another mourned her death by flipping on “Central Park West,” a soap opera in which Welch played the show’s main antagonist.

She built her career as a skimpily clad Las Vegas showgirl, magazine cover girl, movie star and stage actress.

May 23, 1986

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Welch’s depth also reached into music, with a fan recalling her performance on Cher’s variety show in 1975 in which she and Cher give a dazzling rendition of “I’m a Woman.”

Former BBC News host Simon McCoy tweeted the condolence, “Another person without whom the World will feel a lot less glamorous.”

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