Hollywood legend Raquel Welch passes away at 82 – Reese Witherspoon leads celebrity tributes

US actor Raquel Welch, who starred alongside Reece Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, has died at home after a brief illness

Raquel Welch dies aged 82 – Reese Witherspoon leads celebrity tributes
(Image credit: Getty)

Reese Witherspoon has led celebrity tributes for Raquel Welch, following the news that the Hollywood legend has died aged 82. 

The Oscar-winning actress took to Twitter on Wednesday to honor her Legally Blonde co-star, revealing that she is 'so sad' to hear about her passing. 

"I loved working with her on Legally Blonde," Witherspoon revealed. "She was elegant, professional, and glamorous beyond belief. Simply stunning." 

Welch was known for her role as Mrs. Windham-Vandermark, the aloof widow and ex-wife of the murder victim in the 2001 romantic comedy. 

Before this, she had built a successful career in the entertainment industry, landing lead roles in films like the 1967 British comedy, Bedazzled, and the 1970 flick Myra Breckinridge, alongside Farrah Fawcett. Welch also won a Golden Globe Award for her performance in the 1974 action film, The Three Musketeers, as well as a nomination for one for her performance in the 1987 television drama film, Right to Die

It's understood that she died peacefully at her house in Los Angeles after battling a brief illness. 


(Image credit: Getty)

"May all her angels carry her home," added Witherspoon, who recently said she'd never stop doing romcoms. "Sending love to her family and her many fans." The Morning Show star also posted a snap of a smiling Welch in character as Mrs. Windham-Vandermark. 

Witherspoon's kind words have been echoed by several other celebrities, many of whom seemed to view the death of Welch as the end of an era. 

Law & Order star, Chris Meloni, wrote, "Raquel Welch dying is a very weird feeling", while 

"This is so sad,” Paul Feig, who worked with Welch on Sabrina the Teenage Witch in 1996, wrote on Twitter. "She was awesome, kind, funny, and a true superstar whom I was pretty much in love with for most of my childhood. We’ve lost a true icon." 

Raquel Welch

(Image credit: Getty)

Meanwhile, US comedian and actor Sandra Bernhard described Welch as a "unique beauty who left her one-of-a-kind groovy vibe wherever she went." 

Welch was often referred to as a 'sex symbol' in the media during her Hollywood reign, after posing for Playboy a number of times and playing a cave woman wearing a bikini in the 1966 film One Million Years B.C.

"I was not brought up to be a sex symbol, nor is it in my nature to be one," she said. "The fact that I became one is probably the loveliest, most glamorous, and fortunate misunderstanding." 

Welch is survived by her two adult children, Damon and Tahnee. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.