Actress and model Raquel Welch passed away at age 82

2017 saw Raquel Welch at a gathering

Raquel Welch, a US actress who is frequently credited with establishing the role of the modern action heroine in Hollywood movies, passed away at the age of 82.

After a brief illness, the Hollywood star passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning, according to her manager.

In the 1960s, Welch rose to fame as an international sex icon, best known for her role as a bikini-clad cavewoman in the 1966 movie One Million Years BC.

She was also awarded a Golden Globe for The Three Musketeers in 1974.

Jo Raquel Tejada, who gave birth to Welch in 1940, won teen beauty pageants while growing up in California, where she later worked as a local weather forecaster.

The divorced mother of two worked as a cocktail waitress and a model for Neiman Marcus during a brief stay in Dallas, Texas.

Her big break came in 1964, not long after she returned to California, when she appeared in the Elvis Presley musicals Roustabout and A House Is Not A Home.

She gained notoriety two years later after landing back-to-back parts in the fantasy film One Million Years BC and the science fiction film Fantastic Voyage.

Welch only had a few lines in the latter, but promotional photos of her in a revealing two-piece deerskin bikini catapulted her into the spotlight as one of the era's top pin-up girls.

Despite her outward appearance, she has long expressed discomfort with how her body is portrayed, once stating that it is not in her or her nature to be a sex symbol.

The most adorable, glamorous, and fortunate misunderstanding is probably that I became one, she continued.

In her memoir Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage, Welch continued to address her image. There, she talked about her upbringing, her struggles as a young single mother in Hollywood, and why she would never lie about her age.

Over the course of a more than 50-year career, Welch made appearances in more than 30 films and 50 television programs.

She acted as Frank Sinatra's on-screen love interest in 1968's Lady in Cement, as the title transgender heroine in 1970's Myra Breckenridge, and in the 1987 TV drama Right to Die, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe.

Later in life, she also unveiled a jewelry and skincare line, a Mac Cosmetics makeup line, and her own line of custom-made wigs.

She is survived by her daughter Latanne "Tahnee" Welch, who is also an actress, and son Damon Welch.

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