Welch in April 2010
|Born||Jo Raquel Tejada
September 5, 1940
Chicago, United States
|Ethnicity||English (mother), Bolivian (father)|
|Spouse(s)||James Welch (1959–1964)
Patrick Curtis (1967–1972)
André Weinfeld (1980–1990)
Richard Palmer (1999–2008)
Jo Raquel Tejada (born September 5, 1940), better known as Raquel Welch, is an American actress and sex symbol. Welch came to attention as a new star on the 20th Century Fox lot in the mid-1960s. She posed iconically in an animal skin bikini for the British-release One Million Years B.C. (1966), for which she may be best known. She later starred in Bedazzled (1967), Bandolero! (1968), 100 Rifles (1969) and Myra Breckinridge (1970). She made several television variety specials, and today, Welch is a noticeable face in commercials for Foster Grant sunglasses and reading glasses.
Early life 
Welch was born Jo Raquel Tejada in Chicago, the older sister to brother James and sister Gayle. She is the daughter of Josephine Sarah (née Hall; 1909–2000), of English ancestry, and Armando Carlos Tejada Urquizo (1911–1976), of Bolivian descent. Her father, an aeronautical engineer, emigrated from La Paz, Bolivia, at age 17; her mother was American, the daughter of architect Emery Stanford Hall and wife Clara Louise Adams.
As a young girl, she wanted to be a performer. Her first love and ambition was ballet, which she studied from ages seven to seventeen. She gave up ballet after her instructor told her that she did not have the proper body. While a student at La Jolla High School in 1958, she won the Fairest of the Fair beauty pageant at the San Diego County Fair.
She changed her surname to that of her first husband, James Welch, in 1959. That year, she played the title role in The Ramona Pageant, a yearly outdoor play at Hemet, California, which is based on the novel Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson and Bob Biloe.
She reported the weather at KFMB, a local San Diego television station. Because of her heavy schedule at the time, she decided to leave her studies at San Diego State University (then known as San Diego State College). Her first marriage broke up and she moved with her two children, Damon and Latanne, to Dallas, Texas, where she modeled for Neiman Marcus and worked as a cocktail hostess, intending to move on to New York City from there.
Instead, Welch moved back to California, settling in Los Angeles, and started making the rounds of the movie studios. She was cast in small parts in two films and in the television shows Bewitched, McHale's Navy, and The Virginian, as well as on the weekly variety series The Hollywood Palace as a billboard girl and presenter of acts. She was one of many women who auditioned for the role of Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan's Island.
Welch's first featured role came in the beach film A Swingin' Summer, which led to a contract with 20th Century Fox. She was subsequently cast in a leading role in the sci-fi film Fantastic Voyage (1966), which was a hit and made her a star. She was the last star to be created under the studio system.
On loan out to Hammer Studios in Britain, Welch starred in the remake of One Million Years B.C. striking an iconic pose in a prehistoric animal-skin bikini. She was described as "wearing mankind's first bikini" and the fur bikini was described as a "definitive look of the 1960s". One author said, "although she had only three lines in the film, her luscious figure in a fur bikini made her a star and the dream girl of millions of young moviegoers". Her publicity still for the film became a bestselling poster, and helped her be seen as one of the leading sex symbols of the 1960s and 1970s. After her appearance as lust incarnate in the hit Bedazzled, she returned to the United States and appeared in the Western film Bandolero!, with James Stewart and Dean Martin, which was followed by the private-eye drama Lady in Cement with Frank Sinatra. Her looks and fame led Playboy to dub her the "Most Desired Woman" of the 1970s. Welch presented at the Academy Award ceremony several times during the 1970s due to her popularity. She accepted the Best Supporting Actress Oscar on behalf of fellow actress Goldie Hawn when she couldn't be there to accept it.
Welch's most controversial role came in the notorious Myra Breckinridge. She took the part as the film's transsexual heroine in an attempt to be taken seriously as an actress, but the movie turned out to be a failure.
In 1970 Welch teamed up with Tom Jones and producer/choreographer David Winters of Winters-Rosen Productions for the TV special Raquel!, considered by some viewers to be a classic pairing together of 1970s pop-culture icons in their prime. The multi million-dollar TV song-and-dance extravaganza was filmed around the world, from Paris to Mexico. The show featured lavish production numbers of classic songs from the era, extravagant costumes, and notable guest performances, including John Wayne and Bob Hope in the Wild West. She also appeared in a season three episode of The Muppet Show (1978).
She then returned to film between the 1970s and 1980s: some of the films she did worked, like The Three Musketeers, and some like The Wild Party did not. The actress was due to star in an 1982 adaptation of John Steinbeck's Cannery Row, but was fired by the producers a few days into production (they claimed that the 40 year old was too old to play the character). She was replaced with Debra Winger. Welch successfully sued, collecting a $10.8 million settlement.
In addition to her TV special, Raquel!, her television appearances include the TV movies The Legend of Walks Far Woman and Right to Die in which she turned in a stirring performance as a woman stricken with Lou Gehrig's disease, and in the PBS series American Family, about a Mexican American family in East Los Angeles. She has appeared in the night-time soap opera Central Park West and made infomercials and exercise videos.
In 1987 she flirted with a pop singing career, thus releasing the dance single "This Girl's Back In Town". She has performed in a one-woman nightclub musical act in Las Vegas and has starred on Broadway in Woman of the Year, receiving praise for following Lauren Bacall in the title role. She also starred in Victor/Victoria, having less success following Julie Andrews and Liza Minnelli in the title roles.
In a 1997 episode of the comedy series Seinfeld, entitled The Summer of George, Welch played a highly temperamental version of herself, assaulting series characters Kramer and Elaine, the former because he fired her from an acting job and the latter because Welch mistakenly thought that Elaine was mocking her. She also appeared as a guest on the American TV series Sabrina the Teenage Witch, as Sabrina's flamboyant Aunt Vesta.
Achievements and awards 
In 1974 Welch won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy for The Three Musketeers. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in the TV drama Right to Die (1987).
Beauty and business career 
The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program book and videos were first released in 1984. The book, written by Welch with photographs by André Weinfeld, includes a hatha yoga fitness program, her views on healthy living and nutrition, as well as beauty and personal style. The Multi-Platinum collection of Fitness and Yoga videos were produced and directed by André Weinfeld. As a businesswoman, Welch succeeded with her signature line of wigs. She also began a jewelry and skincare line, although neither of those ventures compared to the success of her wig collection HAIRuWEAR.
In January 2007, Welch was selected as the newest face of MAC Cosmetics Beauty Icon series. Her line features several limited-edition makeup shades in glossy black and tiger-print packaging. As of June 2010, she is featured in several television ads for sunglasses by Foster Grant.
Personal life 
Welch has been married to:
- James Welch (1959–1964), publicist and agent; divorced
- Patrick Curtis (1967–1972), director and producer; divorced
- André Weinfeld (1980–1990), producer, director and journalist; divorced
- Richard Palmer (1999), divorced.
Welch is the mother of Damon Welch (born November 6, 1959) and actress Tahnee Welch (born Latanne Rene Welch, December 26, 1961). Tahnee followed her mother's December 1979 example and appeared on the cover of Playboy in the November 1995 issue, as well as in a nude pictorial in that issue.
- A House Is Not a Home (1964)
- Roustabout (1964)
- A Swingin' Summer (1965)
- Do Not Disturb (1965)
- Sex Quartet (1966)
- The Queens (1966)
- Fantastic Voyage (1966)
- One Million Years B.C. (1966)
- Shoot Loud, Louder... I Don't Understand (1966)
- The Oldest Profession (1967)
- Fathom (1967)
- Bedazzled (1967)
- Bandolero! (1968)
- The Biggest Bundle of Them All (1968)
- Lady in Cement (1968)
- 100 Rifles (1969)
- Flareup (1969)
- The Magic Christian (1969)
- The Beloved (1970)
- Myra Breckinridge (1970)
- Hannie Caulder (1971)
- Bluebeard (1972)
- Fuzz (1972)
- Kansas City Bomber (1972)
- The Last of Sheila (1973)
- The Three Musketeers (1973)
- The Four Musketeers (1974)
- The Wild Party (1975)
- Mother, Jugs & Speed (1976)
- Crossed Swords, a.k.a. the Prince and the Pauper (UK title) (1977)
- L'Animal (1977)
- Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994) (Cameo)
- Chairman of the Board (1998)
- What I Did for Love (1998)
- Get Bruce (1999) (documentary)
- Tortilla Soup (2001)
- Legally Blonde (2001)
- Forget About It (2006)
Television work 
- Raquel! (1970)
- Really Raquel (1974)
- NBC's Saturday Night Live (host, April 24, 1976)
- The Muppet Show (1978)
- Mork & Mindy 2 Episodes (1979)
- From Raquel with Love (1980)
- The Legend of Walks Far Woman (1982)
- Right to Die (1987)
- Scandal in a Small Town (1988)
- Trouble in Paradise (1989)
- Tainted Blood (1993)
- Torch Song (1993)
- Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby (1993) (voice)
- Lois & Clark (Diana Stride) Season 2 Episode 35 "Top Copy" (1995)
- Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Episode #07 ("Third Aunt From the Sun") as Aunt Vesta (1996)
- Central Park West (1996–1997)
- Seinfeld (1997)
- Spin City (1997, 2000) 3 episodes
- Jim Brown: All-American (2002)
- American Family (2002–2004) 8 episodes
- 8 Simple Rules (2004)
- Welcome to The Captain (2008) 5 episodes
- CSI: Miami (2012) 1 episode "Rest in Pieces" as Vina Navarro
- Raquel Welch: Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage, Publisher: Weinstein Books (March 29, 2010), ISBN 978-1-60286-097-1
See also 
- "Tavis Smiley. Shows. Raquel Welch. April 19, 2010". PBS. 2010-04-19. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- Ventura, R. (October 17, 2007). "Raquel Welch: «Si me ven como una ´sex symbol´ es que ésa es mi identidad profesional". www.levante-emv.com. (Spanish)
- "Read Chapter 1 of Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage". Oprah. 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- "Raquel Welch Biography (1940-)". Film Reference.com.
- Rogers, Daniel T. "Raquel Welch family tree". rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- Avery, Susan (July 10, 2010). "Raquel Welch, Reluctant Sex Symbol, Talks About Making Amends With Her Kids". ParentDish.com.
- Welch, Diane (March 19, 2006). "The way we were - 'Fairest of the Fair' part of Del Mar's history". San Diego Union Tribune.
- Filmfacts 1967. University of Southern California. Division of Cinema. 1967. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- Mansour, David (1 June 2005). From Abba to Zoom: a pop culture encyclopedia of the late 20th century. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 345. ISBN 978-0-7407-5118-9. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- Otfinoski, Steven (April 2007). Latinos in the arts. Infobase Publishing. p. 243. ISBN 978-0-8160-6394-9. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- "Brando spurns Oscar; Liza, 'Godfather' win". Chicago Tribune. March 28, 1973. p. 1.(registration required)
- "People In The News". Eugene Register-Guard. March 26, 1978. p. 10A.
- IMDB Raquel Welch
- AP (April 8, 1970). "Favorite, longshot take home Oscars". The Palm Beach Post.
- Brown, Les (1971) . "Raquel!". Television: The Business Behind the Box. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. pp. 187, 188. ISBN 978-0-15-688440-2.
- AP (June 25, 1986). "Raquel Welch Wins $10.8 Million Judgment". APnewsarchive.com.
- "Raquel: Total Beauty and Fitness" (1984) on IMDB
- "A Week With Raquel" (1986) on IMDB
- "Lose 10 Lbs. in 3 Weeks" (1988) on IMDB
- "Raquel: Body & Mind" (1989) on IMDB
- "Hairuwear". Hairuwear. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- Pittilla, Mary Jane (2007-02-02). "Raquel Welch becomes MAC beauty icon". Retrieved 2008-03-19.
- The commercials may be seen at fostergrant.com.
- Andrews, Emily (February 15, 2008). "Stunning at 67: Sixties sex siren Raquel Welch returns to TV". Daily Mail. Retrieved June 30, 2012.
- D'Orazio, Sante (November 1995). Playboy 42 (11) (U.S.). pp. 74–81.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Raquel Welch|
- Raquel Welch at the Internet Movie Database
- Bob Hope 1967 show in Vietnam, Raquel Welch at 21:21
- Raquel Welch Cover Art Gallery