LOS ANGELES -- Raquel Welch says she does not hold a grudge against Hollywood, but the more than $10 million she won from MGM for wrongfully firing her from the movie 'Cannery Row' is a victory for the truth.
The glamorous Welch, 43, raised her arms and let out a gasp of joy as the Superior Court jury's verdict was read Tuesday after four weeks of testimony and three days of deliberations. She and her husband, Andre Weinfeld, hugged and cried.
'I never expected such an overwhelming victory,' said Welch, who had sued for $20 million alleging MGM wrongfully fired her from the movie 'Cannery Row,' her first attempt at a serious movie role.
'To be able to have on record at City Hall the real truth of the story come out, the fact that these people behaved in an unscrupulous manner when they terminated my contract.
'I have no sour grapes against Hollywood or movie producers in general, but it's important to stand up for yourself when you feel you've been wronged.'
Welch sued for emotional and financial suffering after she was abruptly fired from 'Cannery Row' and replaced by Debra Winger. She claimed being fired damaged her chances of getting serious movie roles.
MGM attorney Christina Snyder said Welch 'didn't get a fraction' of the $20 million she originally sought and said MGM will appeal the verdict.
The jury of eight women and four men awarded more than $10 million in damages against MGM for breach of contract, defamation, breach of its obligation to deal fairly with Welch and conspiracy to breach her contract.
Former MGM chief David Begelman, who was convicted of defrauding the studio of $10,000 in 1978, was held personally liable for an additional $27,500 on the defamation count that arose from an interview he gave to Rolling Stone magazine about Welch's firing.
Damages of $500,000 were assessed against producer Michael Phillips for conspiracy.
In her suit, filed in 1981, Welch claimed MGM breached her $250,000 contract by firing her in December 1980 without cause after only seven days of shooting.
MGM argued it had good cause to fire the actress because she repeatedly showed up late for work and insisted on having her makeup and hair done at home.
'My movie career came to a screeching halt,' Welch said of her firing. '(Hollywood's) a small town. It's a small industry in many ways, and there is a small network of people ... and once they think you've breached your contract, then who wants you, no matter who you are?'
MGM attorneys tried to show that the firing did not hinder Welch's show business career, pointing out that her health book and video and her starring role in Broadway's 'Woman of the Year' earned her more in the six years since her firing than she earned in the seven years before it in such films as 'One Million Years B.C.'