RIP Raquel Welch

US actress Raquel Welch, often credited with paving the way for modern day action heroines in Hollywood films, has died at the age of 82. The star passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning after a brief illness, her manager said. Welch became an international sex symbol in the 1960s, widely remembered for playing a bikini-clad cavewoman in the 1966 film One Million Years B.C.  In a career spanning over five decades, Welch appeared in more than 30 movies and 50 television shows. She first won attention for her role in Fantastic Voyage (1966), after which she won a contract with 20th Century Fox. They lent her contract to the British studio Hammer Film Productions, for whom she made One Million Years B.C. (1966). Although Welch had only three lines of dialogue in the film, images of her in the doe-skin bikini became bestselling posters that turned her into an international sex symbol. She later starred in Bedazzled (1967), Bandolero! (1968), 100 Rifles (1969), Myra Breckinridge (1970), and Hannie Caulder (1971). She made several television variety specials.

Raquel was born in Chicago to Armando Tejada, who was an aeronautical engineer¬†from¬†La Paz,¬†Bolivia, ¬†and Josephine Sarah Hall. The family moved from Illinois to¬†San Diego, California, when Welch was two years old.¬† Welch married her high school sweetheart, James Welch, on May 8, 1959, with whom she had two children, Damon Welch and actress Latanne “Tahnee” Welch¬†(born December 26, 1961). In 1960, Welch got a job as a¬†weather presenter¬†at¬†KFMB, a local¬†San Diego¬†television station. Because her family life and television duties were so demanding she decided to give up her drama classes. After her separation from James Welch, she moved with her two children to¬†Dallas, where she made a “precarious living” as a model for¬†Neiman Marcus¬†and as a¬†cocktail waitress.

Through her portrayal of¬†strong female characters, which helped in her breaking the mold of the traditional sex symbol, Welch developed a unique film persona that made her an icon of the 1960s and 1970s. Her rise to stardom in the mid-1960s was partly credited with ending Hollywood’s vigorous promotion of the¬†blonde bombshell. She won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy¬†in 1974 for her performance in¬†The Three Musketeers. She was also nominated for a¬†Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Television Film¬†for her performance in the film¬†Right to Die¬†(1987). In 1995, Welch was chosen by¬†Empire¬†magazine as one of the “100 Sexiest Stars in Film History”.¬†Playboy¬†ranked Welch No.¬†3 on their “100 Sexiest Stars of the Twentieth Century” list.

Welch’s most controversial role came in¬†Myra Breckinridge¬†(1970). She took the role as the film’s¬†transsexual heroine in an attempt to be taken seriously as an actress. Her looks and fame led¬†Playboy¬†to dub her the “Most Desired Woman” of the 1970s. Welch presented at the¬†Academy Award ceremony several times during the 1970s due to her popularity. She also acted in Kansas City Bomber, The Last of Sheila¬†and¬†The Three Musketeers and the sequel The Four Musketeers, Wild Party, Animal and the comedy Mother, Jugs & Speed in the 70s. In the 80s she acted on Broadway and also was in several tv films while also flirting with a singing career. In 2001, she had supporting roles in the comedy films¬†Legally Blonde¬†opposite¬†Reese Witherspoon¬†and¬†Tortilla Soup. In 2002, she starred in the¬†PBS¬†series¬†American Family, a story about a Mexican American family in¬†East Los Angeles.

Most recently Welch appeared in a sitcom titled Date My Dad (2017) where she reunited with Robert Wagner on screen, four decades after starring together in The Biggest Bundle of Them All. She married producer Patrick Curtis in 1967 and divorced him in 1972. In 1980, she married producer André Weinfeld, divorcing him in 1990. Welch wed Richard Palmer, owner of Mulberry Street Pizzeria, in 1999 but then separated from him in 2003 and later divorced. Welch said she would not remarry.

Arsenal 1 Manchester City 3

Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League for the first time since November as they leapfrogged leaders Arsenal with a vital victory at Emirates Stadium. The reigning champions turned on the power in the second half in the biggest game of the domestic season as Arsenal paid a heavy price for individual errors. Takehiro Tomiyasu’s poor backpass allowed Kevin de Bruyne to loft a finish over Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale after 24 minutes but Arsenal deservedly drew level three minutes before half-time, Bukayo Saka scoring from the spot after City goalkeeper Ederson fouled Eddie Nketiah.

City, lacking spark in the opening phase, improved after the break and had a penalty of their own ruled out for offside against Erling Haaland before they showed a ruthless streak to punish Arsenal. Gabriel lost possession to allow Bernardo Silva and Haaland to set up Jack Grealish for a deflected finish after 72 minutes before they ended Arsenal’s hopes with 10 minutes left. Inevitably, Haaland was the scorer from De Bruyne’s pass to put City top on goal difference having played one game more than Arsenal. City have returned to the top of the Premier League by striking a devastating blow on the long-time leaders.

City, by their own standards, have not quite hit the heights this season but they now find themselves looking down on Arsenal once more, albeit the Gunners have a game in hand. Even here, City lacked their usual fluency in the first 45 minutes and Arsenal arguably deserved more than being on level terms at the interval. And yet, once they moved through the gears in the second half City carried enough threat to put Arsenal away and return to the position they have occupied so often in recent years. City gratefully accepted the gifts Arsenal offered and once Grealish restored their lead – a touch off the luckless Tomiyasu sending his shot past Ramsdale – this game was done.

Haaland’s goal emphasised City’s supremacy and they closed out the win with ease, the celebrations at the final whistle reflecting the significance of the result. This defeat will be a bitter blow to Arsenal, coming as it did in front of their own supporters. It continued a recent stumble in which they have lost at City in the FA Cup and at Everton in the league, drawn controversially against Brentford on Saturday and now another damaging defeat here. Arsenal and manager Mikel Arteta must not get too down on themselves, although the scale of the setback here cannot be underestimated in the context of the title race.