Raquel Welch death: Reese Witherspoon leads tributes to ‘elegant and glamorous’ actress

The Hollywood star died on Wednesday aged 82

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Reese Witherspoon has led tributes to Hollywood bombshell Raquel Welch, describing her as “elegant, professional and glamorous beyond belief”.

Celebrities who knew and collaborated with the US actress shared fond memories of her after the announcement of her death, aged 82, on Wednesday.

Welch died after a brief illness, her manager and family confirmed.

Witherspoon, who worked with Welch on the 2001 cult classic film Legally Blonde, said she was “simply stunning”.

“So sad to hear about Raquel Welch’s passing,” she wrote on Twitter.

“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.”

Bridesmaids director Paul Feig described Welch as a “true superstar” and that the world had lost an “icon”.

“This is so sad. I had the great pleasure of working with Ms Welch when I was a regular on Sabrina the Teenage Witch and she was awesome,” he said.

“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.”

Aside from her big screen roles, notably in Fantastic Voyage and One Million Years BC in 1966, Welch also enjoyed a career in television — even appearing as a guest in an episode of children’s TV show The Muppets.

The Muppets' official Twitter account, and several of the cast members, posted their own tributes to the actress.

“We’ll never forget our remarkable friend Raquel Welch, one of our favorite guests on The Muppet Show,” The Muppets wrote.

“From dancing with a giant spider, to inspiring @FozzieBear, and duetting with @MissPiggy, Raquel could do it all!”

The account of loud-mouthed puppet Miss Piggy said Welch helped her “become the woman I am today”.

“Raquel Welch was one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever worked with,” Miss Piggy wrote.

“Performing a duet with her on The Muppet Show helped moi become the W-O-M-A-N I am today! We’ll never forget vous, Raquel!”

Muppets co-star Fozzie Bear added: “I have Raquel Welch to thank for becoming a more confident comedian.

“On The Muppet Show, she helped pick me up when I was down and she was someone I could confide in. Thanks for being my friend, Raquel.”

Other stars remembering encounters with Welch included British TV presenters Carol Vorderman and Gyles Brandreth.

Sharing a photo of Welch, Vorderman wrote: “I was at her son’s wedding (pic) to Yorkshire cricketer Fred Trueman’s daughter Rebecca.

“It was wild. She was sensational. A lot of laughing & every other bedroom in the hotel had a news editing suite in it. I loved it all. Wild.”

Brandreth said he was “blown away” by Welch’s beauty when they met at a London restaurant.

“I love to claim that I’ve met everyone — but I haven’t, of course,” he wrote.

“However I was lucky enough to meet Raquel Welch — at Le Caprice restaurant in Arlington Street, London.

“I was blown away by her beauty & her extraordinary complexion. A memorable encounter for which I’m grateful.”

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Updated: February 16, 2023, 4:51 AM