16th Feb 2023 @ 10:19 am

Raquel Welch, the 60s and 70s sex symbol who died yesterday at the age of 82, arrived on Lanzarote in the winter of 1965 with the film crew of 1,000,000 Years BC.

The role had been turned down by Ursula Andress, and Welch accepted it because she wanted to film in swinging London. Instead she arrived on an island that was just starting to emerge from decades of poverty to become the tourist hotspot it is today.

Welch had just three lines in the film, and much of her role involved pretending to be attacked by dinosaurs that were later added by special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen. But her stunning beauty and statuesque figure ensured that the film was a big hit, and one that has been

In Kenneth Branagh’s recent film Belfast, the father, played by Jamie Dornan, takes his family to see the film, where the children gape in astonished delight at the dinosaurs and the men gape in astonished delight at Raquel Welch. The famous poster of Raquel Welch in her deerskin bikini also featured in The Shawshank Redemption, where it was used to hide the escape tunnel.

While on Lanzarote, Welch stayed at the Parador Nacional – the white building on Arrecife’s seafront that is now home to the UNED. Juan Brito Martín, the late archeologist and folklorist, was working as one of the few taxi drivers on the island at the time, and took Welch to Papagayo in his cab. He told us that “She was very nice woman, very well put together.” Like most islanders, censorship meant that he, nor many of the local Canarian wrestlers who acted as extras, did not see the film until several years later.

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