Raquel Welch dead: Her iconic roles, outfits, moments remembered

Raquel Welch, who died Wednesday following a short illness, was known for her jaw-dropping fashion moments, starting with the fur bikini she sported in “One Million Years B.C.”

Despite being glamorized as a sex symbol, the 82-year-old mother of two famously revealed that her on-screen persona was not who she was meant to be.

“My family was very conservative, and I had a traditional upbringing. I was not brought up to be a sex symbol, nor is it in my nature to be one. The fact that I became one is probably the loveliest, most glamorous and fortunate misunderstanding,” she told the Daily Mail in 2001.

In recent years, Welch found success with her signature HairUWear wig collection. She said she started the line because of her experience wearing wigs while working in the entertainment industry — and she wanted to help women feel beautiful.

Welch spoke with The Post in 2012 about her most iconic roles ahead of a special exhibition of her work by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Raquel Welch in a shot from "Fantastic Voyage" in 1966.
Raquel Welch in a shot from her breakout movie, the 1966 film “Fantastic Voyage.”
©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

“Fantastic Voyage” (1966)

The Richard Fleischer-directed sci-fi movie “Fantastic Voyage” made Welch a star.

“My co-star was Stephen Boyd, who was not hard on the eyes. I had a terrible crush on him,” Welch told The Post. “I was too scared to say anything about it because it was my first big movie with Fox, and I was in with a lot of heavyweights. I had one really important line to say, and it was something to do with oxygenation, which I had written down on a piece of scenery so I could glance at it before they called me. It was kind of silly.”

Raquel Welch on the set of "One Million Years B.C".
Raquel Welch on the set of “One Million Years B.C.” in 1966.
Corbis via Getty Images

“One Million Years B.C.” bikini (1967)

Welch didn’t have but a few lines in “One Million Years B.C.” It was her character’s deerskin bikini that catapulted her to a new level of fame.

“The Shawshank Redemption” character Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, famously had a poster of Welch wearing the bikini in his prison cell in the 1994 film. It provided a pivotal plot point.

“There was this [bikini] picture that came out that caused all the stir,” Welch told The Post. “I had been away shooting the film in the Canary Islands, and it was very remote. By the time I got back, everybody seemed to know who I was. I couldn’t have been happier, really, or more surprised. How was this possible?”

She added: “When the [doeskin] bikini would get wet, it would stretch, so you’d be coming up and out of the water and there were a lot of strange things going on with it.”

Raquel Welch wearing an animal hide bikini, posing against a rock, in a publicity portrait issued for the film,
Raquel Welch wearing an animal hide bikini, posing against a rock, in a publicity portrait for “One Million Years B.C.” in 1966.
Getty Images

“100 Rifles” (1969)

“This we shot in the Spanish desert, with Jim Brown and Burt Reynolds. I got to do all the things that the guys got to do,” she told The Post of the Western. “There was one big conversation about whether I could wear a pair of pants. The director said, ‘No.’ But my character is a revolutionary! She’s with a band of guys — is she going to worry about a skirt?

“I did get to wear pants, because I had this idea of how I wanted to stab this one guy, that I could jump on him. And I couldn’t do that with a skirt,” Welch revealed.

Raquel Welch in "Myra Breckinridge" in 1970.
Raquel Welch in 1970’s “Myra Breckinridge,” which has been called one of the worst films ever made.
©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

“Myra Breckinridge” (1970)

Welch’s role in “Myra Breckinridge” came with another famous swimsuit: her American flag-inspired monokini.

“I thought the book was hysterically funny. And I heard they were talking to Anne Bancroft about doing the part, but then she had turned it down. So I had a conversation with them, I said, ‘I don’t know what kind of person you’re looking for, but what about the idea that if a guy was going to remake himself into a woman, would he maybe like to look like Raquel Welch?’” she reflected to The Post about the comedy flop.“They said, ‘You know, that’s a thought!’ But the script was always problematic. I was really disappointed. I spoke to [co-star] John Huston about it. He said, ‘It’s only a movie, darling, it’s only a movie.’”

“The Three Musketeers” (1973)

“My first day on set, Faye Dunaway comes over to me all dolled up, and she was so cute. She said, ‘Darling, I just want you to know, I’m a big fan of yours. But don’t you know, they’re all just waiting for us to tear each other’s eyes out. So let’s have fun with them,’” Welch told The Post about the film that delivered her only Golden Globe win.

“Everyone on set was going, ‘Uh-oh, here they come,’ standing there watching. And Faye gets out her fan and starts fanning herself, saying, ‘Darling, I adore your work.’ And I say, ‘Everything you do is genius!’ Everyone was so disappointed.”

Actors Michael York, Simon Ward and Raquel Welch, in a scene from the movie
Michael York, Simon Ward and Raquel Welch perform in a scene from the 1973 movie “The Three Musketeers.”
Getty Images

“The Wild Party” (1975)

“This was a film we did based on the Fatty Arbuckle story, looking at the advent of sound. It’s not at all like ‘The Artist,’ but about that same era,” Welch explained. “The studio didn’t know what to do with it, because they weren’t expecting Raquel Welch to play a vaudevillian girl from 1929. It was unusual. I was glad to see they were going to show it in the retrospective, because there are people who think all I did was show up in a bikini.”

raquel welch and cher
Raquel Welch and Cher performing on Cher’s music and variety show in 1975.
CBS via Getty Images

Singing “I’m a Woman” with Cher (1975)

Welch showed off her vocal chops on “The Cher Show” in 1975. The two icons started their performance of Peggy Lee’s “I’m a Woman” backstage, discussing that they were “almost” ready to take the stage, but still needed to complete their looks.

Suggesting the showrunners “would bug us until we” perform, Cher and Welch rocked coordinating sexy and sparkly silver-and-gold costumes and launched into the song.

“Mother, Jugs and Speed” (1976)

“I was Jugs. I almost didn’t take the part when I realized that. I thought, ‘Oh, no.’ But Peter Yates was directing, and he was first-class. I was embarrassed about the damn title, but you need to have a sense of humor about yourself,” Welch said of the Bill Cosby comedy.

Raquel Welch posing for Playboy in 1979.
Raquel Welch posing for Playboy in 1979 after years of avoiding the request from Hugh Hefner.

Posing nude for Playboy (1979)

Welch told Piers Morgan in 2015 that Hugh Hefner approached her “no less than 57 times” to pose for Playboy. She said she declined for years because of her strict father.

“I am my father’s daughter, and that’s just not the way you behave,” she explained. “You don’t do that if you are a certain kind of a woman, and that’s the kind of woman I was raised to be.”

Welch added that she was “terrified” of her dad and claimed that he would tell her she couldn’t leave the house looking a certain way.

“There were times when I disliked him quite a lot, but I wanted to please him. He was the one that was so hard to please, and the one I wanted to please,” Welch divulged about their complicated relationship.

Raquel Welch photographed by Tony Kent.
Raquel Welch is photographed by Tony Kent. She died Wednesday at the age of 82.
Sygma via Getty Images

Welch finally agreed to pose for Playboy in 1979, but still wouldn’t go totally nude — which she claimed Hefner called “boring” because “there’s no t-s and there’s no ass.” But she did end up stripping down to a blue bikini bottom with her arm covering her breasts for her pictorial spread.

Hefner later praised Welch in his 2006 book, “Playboy: The Celebrities.”

“Raquel Welch, one of the last of the classic sex symbols, came from the era when you could be considered the sexiest woman in the world without taking your clothes off. She declined to do complete nudity, and I yielded gracefully. The pictures prove her point,” he wrote.

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