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Six must-see films with Raquel Welch, from 'Fantastic Voyage' to 'Myra Breckinridge'

Raquel Welch, a veteran actress who rose to fame as a sex symbol in the 1960s and 70s, died Wednesday in Los Angeles at the age of 82 after a brief illness. The news was confirmed to NPR by her son, Damon.

In a career spanning nearly six decades, Welch started in the 1960s with appearances on TV shows such as The Virginian, McHale's Navy and Bewitched. These appearances paved the way for back-to-back roles in Fantastic Voyage and One Million Years B.C. in 1966.

Throughout her career, Welch was a two-time Golden Globe nominee, winning Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy, for her role in the 1973's The Three Musketeers as Constance de Bonacieux, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Here's a look at some of her most notable roles:

1. One Million Years B.C. (1966)

The 1966 film, set during a fictional prehistoric age where cavemen and dinosaurs co-exist in the world, tells the story of prehistoric man Tumak as he is banished from his savage tribe. Welch only had a few lines, but her animal skin two-piece became part of pop culture history.

2. The Three Musketeers (1973)

An adaptation of the 1844 Alexandre Dumas novel, the 1973 film tells the story of swordsman D'Artagnan (played by Michael York), after he travels to Paris with the hope of joining the royal guard.

Welch plays the role of Constance Bonacieux, who is a dressmaker to the Queen, Anne of Austria.

3. Fantastic Voyage (1966)

This 1960s film follows scientist Jan Benes (Jean Del Val) as he develops a way to shrink humans and other objects for brief periods. Benes is transported by the CIA to America but is unfortunately attacked en route.

To save Benes, a submarine is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into his bloodstream with a small crew; as they have a limited time to get out before the miniaturization wears off.

4. 100 Rifles (1969)

Welch made film history in this 1969 Western, starring alongside African American actor and former professional football player Jim Brown. The movie, set in 1912 in Sonora, Mexico, follows native revolutionary Yaqui Joe (played by Burt Reynolds) as he robs a bank to buy guns for the Yaqui people.

Publicity still portrait of American actors Raquel Welch and Jim Brown in the western drama '100 Rifles' (20th Century Fox), 1969.
John Kisch Archive / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Publicity still portrait of American actors Raquel Welch and Jim Brown in the western drama '100 Rifles' (20th Century Fox), 1969.

However, he finds himself sought by the Mexican Army.

Welch — who played the role of Sarita — along with Brown sparked controversy for their sizzling interracial love scenes in the movie.

5. Myra Breckinridge (1970)

Based on Gore Vidal's 1968 satirical novel of the same name, Welch in this film played an aspiring actress who underwent a gender reassignment surgery in Europe, eventually traveling to Hollywood in search of fame and her late wealthy uncle's estate.

6. How to Be a Latin Lover (2017)

In her final film, the 2017 comedy features Welch as widowed billionaire Celeste Birch, who tries to fend off romantic advances from a rusty gigolo, Maximo (Eugenio Derbez), who's made a career of seducing rich older women.

After being dumped by his wealthy 80-year-old wife, Maximo plans to seduce Celeste as he hopes to live the high life once again.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jonathan Franklin
Jonathan Franklin is a digital reporter on the News desk covering general assignment and breaking national news.