Raquel Welch Had Alzheimer's

International sex symbol of the '60s, '70s died in February after cardiac arrest
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2023 2:16 PM CST
Updated Apr 4, 2023 8:46 AM CDT
Raquel Welch Is Dead at 82
James Stewart, left, meets Hollywood actress Raquel Welch, center at the world premiere of his film, "The Flight of the Phoenix," at the Carlton Theatre, Haymarket in London, Jan. 20, 1966.   (AP Photo/Laurence Harris, file)
UPDATE Apr 4, 2023 8:46 AM CDT

The death certificate for Raquel Welch has revealed that the 82-year-old died in February after suffering a cardiac arrest, reports TMZ. It also revealed a surprise—that the actor had Alzheimer's disease, which is listed as one of the underlying causes of her death. Neither Welch nor her family had disclosed her Alzheimer's diagnosis to the public, notes Page Six.

Feb 15, 2023 2:16 PM CST

Raquel Welch, the actress who became a bona fide international sex symbol after appearing in One Million Years BC in a deerskin bikini, has died. She was 82. TMZ reports relatives said she died Wednesday morning following a short illness. Welch found fame after appearing in both BC and Fantastic Voyage in 1966. The New York Post reports she went on to notch two Golden Globe nominations, winning Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her role in 1974's The Three Musketeers, which also starred Faye Dunaway and Charlton Heston. Playboy crowned her the "most desired woman" of the '70s, though she never appeared nude in the magazine or on screen.

Welch was born Jo-Raquel Tejada in Chicago and raised in La Jolla, California, the AP reports. Her father was Armando Carlos Tejada, a Bolivian-born aeronautical engineer. She wed her high school sweetheart, James Welch, in 1959 and had two children who survive her, Damon, 63, and Latanne "Tahnee," 61. She went on to marry three more times: Patrick Curtis (1967-1972), André Weinfeld (1980-1990), and Richard Palmer (1999-2004).

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The AP notes that Welch was also a singer and dancer, and she surprised critics with a widely praised Broadway debut in 1981, when she replaced Lauren Bacall in the musical Woman of the Year. "The first minute I stepped out on that stage and the people began applauding," she told the New York Times. "I just knew I’d beaten every bad rap that people had hung on me." She returned to Broadway in 1997 to replace Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria. This story has been updated with more details. (More obituary stories.)

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