The actor Raquel Welch has died aged 82.
The website TMZ first reported the news, citing family members who said Welch died on Wednesday after a short illness.
Welch’s manager confirmed her death to the AFP News agency in an emailed statement and said she died peacefully early on Wednesday morning after “a brief illness”, without providing further details.
The actor became an international icon after appearing in a deerskin bikini in the 1966 British fantasy adventure film One Million Years BC.
Welch, a Golden Globe award winner, starred in more than 30 films, including Fantastic Voyage and The Three Musketeers, as well as some 50 television series in a career spanning five decades.
Born Jo-Raquel Tejada in Chicago in 1940, to a Bolivian father and an American mother, Welch rose to fame and sex symbol status under her new name in the 1960s.
In 2002, she told the New York Times she was proud to acknowledge her Latino roots.
“I’m happy to acknowledge it and it’s long overdue and it’s very welcome,” she said. “There’s been kind of an empty place here in my heart and also in my work for a long, long time.” She also said that when she set out as an actor, she was told “that if I wanted to be typecast, I would play into” her Hispanic background.
“You just couldn’t be too different. My first big breakthrough part in One Million Years BC, they died my hair blond. It’s a marketing thing.” In a rare recent interview, with the Scottish Sunday Post in 2017, Welch said her two 1966 hits “made a huge difference to my career. Overnight, I found myself in demand. Before that I was not much more than an extra.”
Subsequent major roles included the title role in Myra Breckinridge (1970) and a key part in The Three Musketeers (1973) and The Four Musketeers: Milady’s Revenge (1974).
She also had a memorable cameo on the TV sitcom Seinfeld, in the episode The Summer of George (1997).
Welch said her first ambition had been to be a ballet dancer, only to learn at 17 that she “really didn’t have the figure for ballet”.
She said she did not mind being widely known for the fur bikini she wore in One Million Years BC.
“I’m often asked if I get sick of talking about that bikini,” she said. “But the truth is, I don’t. It was a major event in my life so why not talk about it?
“Almost every day I get copies of the photo sent to me for an autograph. I must have looked at that photo one million times.
“I remember James Stewart telling me a long time ago never to avoid your fans or the things that your fans like about you. It was good advice.”
However, she did discuss how hard it was to avoid be