Raquel Welch To Star In Lifetime Versace Biopic


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72-year-old screen siren Raquel Welch is set to star in a made-for-television movie on Lifetime in October. The film, "House of Versace," will be about the rise and (almost) fall of the infamous fashion house formally known as Gianni Versace S.p.A.

A journalist, Deborah Ball, first wrote the book that the movie is based upon; House of Versace: The Untold Story of Genuis, Murder, and Survival, which was published in February 2010.

More commonly referred to simply as, "Versace," the posh Italian design studio was founded by Giovanni "Gianni" Versace in 1978. He would become one of history's most popular designers for the rich and famous. In 1997 Gianni was murdered on the steps of his Miami home; his sister, Donatella Versace, who was the P.R. head of the company, was then left to take over.

The film airing in October will be about the near-collapse of the corporation after Gianni's July 15, 1997 death, and then its ultimate upturn, headed by Donatella.

Racquel Welch, one of the most famous sex symbols of the 60's and 70's, will star in the film as Aunt Lucia, Donatella and Gianni's aunt who helped inspire Donatella to regain control of the family fortune after she nearly lost the company to bankruptcy. Donatella and Gianni's brother, Santo, also aided in rebuilding Donatella and, thus, Versace, and will be a prominent character in the film.

Gina Gershon has signed on to portray Donatella in the film, and Colini Feore will play Santo Versace.

Interestingly enough, Lifetime will also be airing another network exclusive about the Versace's in October, a documentary about the life of the late fashion mogul.

Possibly the two specials' real significance - Gianni's famous death scene-home in Miami will be going up for auction on September 17, less than a month before the film and documentary will be broadcast. Coincidence? Only Lifetime network officials and the Versace's know for sure, and they're definitely not saying.

"House of Versace" is set to air on Lifetime on October 5 at 8 p.m.