Who did Raquel Welch play in Legally Blonde? Character explored as Reese Witherspoon pays tribute to actress

Raquel Welch and Reese Witherspoon. (Photos via Getty Images)
Raquel Welch and Reese Witherspoon. (Photos via Getty Images)

American actress Raquel Welch, best known for starring in Fantastic Voyage and One Million Years, passed away on February 15 at the age of 82. As per Variety, she passed away in Los Angeles, California, after battling a brief illness.

Several actors, including Welch's former Legally Blonde co-star Reese Witherspoon, paid tribute to the late actress. The 46-year-old star took to her Twitter handle to share a picture of Raquel Welch alongside a heartfelt note.

"So sad to hear about Raquel Welch's passing. I loved working with her on Legally Blonde. She was elegant, professional, and glamorous beyond belief. Simply stunning. May all her angels carry her home. Sending love to her family and her many fans."

The news of her death was first published by TMZ, and was later confirmed to various media outlets by her representative.

Raquel Welch played a brief role as Mrs. Windham Vandermark in Legally Blonde


In Robert Luketic's 2001 directorial film Legally Blonde, Raquel Welch played a brief role as Mrs. Windham Vandermark, the elusive widow and ex-wife of the murder victim, whom Reese Witherspoon's character meets at a luxurious day spa.

Aside from Witherspoon and Welch, the film also starred Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Matthew Davis, Victor Garber, Jennifer Coolidge, Holland Taylor, Ali Larter, Jessica Cauffiel, and Alanna Ubach in key roles.

As for her passing, the news was confirmed via a statement issued to Entertainment Tonight, reading:

"Raquel Welch, the legendary bombshell actress of film, television and stage, passed away peacefully early this morning after a brief illness. Her career spanned over 50 years starring in over 30 films and 50 television series and appearances. The Golden Globe winner, in more recent years, was involved in a very successful line of wigs."

Born on September 5, 1940, Raquel Welch was a native of Chicago, Illinois. She grew up in California, where she participated in and won several beauty pageants. Soon after, Welch became a local weather forecaster.

For a brief time, Welch worked as a cocktail waitress and modeled for the clothing brand Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas.

After she moved to California in 1964, she bagged cameos in Roustabout, starring Elvis Presley, and A House Is Not A Home.

Welch gained prominence by starring in films like One Million Years B.C. and Fantastic Voyage.

Although she had only a few lines in the former film, she became a s*x symbol for wearing a two-piece deerskin bikini. However, as per BBC, she had expressed her discomfort with how her body was represented in the public, stating that she was neither raised nor had the nature to be a "s*x symbol."

"The fact that I became one is probably the loveliest, most glamorous and fortunate misunderstanding."

Welch also addressed the representation of her body in her memoir Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage. The late actress starred in over 30 films and 50 television shows.

Raquel is survived by her two children, a son named Damon and a daughter, Tahnee.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande