Raquel Welch Wins $10.8 Million Judgment
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Actress Raquel Welch won an $10.8 million judgment Tuesday in her lawsuit against Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and several executives over her firing from the movie ″Cannery Row.″
″I never expected such an overwhelming victory,″ Miss Welch said as she left Superior Court. ″I just wanted to clear my reputation and get back to my work, my work in movies.″
The actress had sued for $20 million, contending that former MGM executive David Begelman, producer Michael Phillips and director David Ward plotted to remove her from the 1980 movie and replace her with actress Debra Winger.
The lawsuit contended that the executives ruined Miss Welch’s movie career.
In closing arguments last week, Christina Snyder, a lawyer for the defendants, said the idea of a conspiracy was ridiculous.
The jury found Tuesday that there was a conspiracy and that Miss Welch, 43, lost income and suffered damage to her reputation, according to court reporter Diana Grace. The jury also found that the studio breached its contract with Miss Welch, she said.
The lawsuit alleged the defendants manipulated several issues, including one concerning Miss Welch’s makeup, so they could terminate $194,000 of her $250,000 salary by claiming breach of her pay-or-play contract.
Defendants argued that Miss Welch breached her contract by applying her makeup at home instead of at the studio Dec. 19, 1980. They contended she then refused to discuss the situation with Phillips the next weekend when she was fired.
The jury awarded Miss Welch a total of $7.65 million in punitive damages - most of that coming from the studio - with the rest of the $10.8 million award stemming from actual damages such as lost income.
Phillips was ordered to pay a total of $694,444 and Begelman was ordered to pay a total of $27,500.
No damages were assessed against Ward, Ms. Grace said.
The 1980 film based on John Steinbeck’s novel starred Miss Winger and actor Nick Nolte. It failed at the box office and received mixed reviews.