Raquel Welch has been here forever. When we say forever, we really mean forever. How do you explain who started to gain attention for her talent in 1966 and is still relevant today? We can tell you though. She is immense and her talent is undeniable.
Okay, do you want to talk about singing? Welch is a force. Acting? She has her awards to show for her excellence. And it is a joy to watch that even in her old age, she still delivers top-notch performances on the screen. For someone who was a sex symbol in the 1960s, 1970s, it is hard not to remember her exploits in her youth.
She wasn’t just a sex symbol, she was also a movie persona. As a matter of fact, there were roles that were assigned to her, not because no one else can play it well, but because nobody would play that role better than Raquel Welch.
Quick Facts About Raquel Welch
Let us gradually introduce to you the stunning, sterling actress in Raquel Welch. Welch is an American actress and singer. She first gained attention from her dashing role in Fantastic Voyage (1966). It was this movie that spurred 20th Century Fox to give her a contract.
Welch was tentatively borrowed to other film studios as a cast on their movies. Let’s tell you this for free: Raquel Welch was irresistible. Her sexual appeal was mind-blowing. And this wasn’t all, she could hold down roles with the best of performances. She was the representation of the epithet; “I didn’t come to play.” Do you doubt us? Look at this:
In 1966, after her appearance in One Million Years B.C, the scene where she wore a bikini became a global sensation. To think that she only made three lines of dialogue in the film is crazy. The images of her in a doe-skin bikini became best-selling posters. This, fortunately, turned her into a sex symbol around the world. Do you still doubt our claim about her? Now, we doubt that.
When someone becomes a sex symbol, you’d expect that they become regulars on magazines covers, TV shows, and every other entertainment outlets. Well, sure as hell this happened to Raquel Welch.
Her characters in movies often painted the picture of an unconventional woman who was set out to break the conventional ideology of sex symbol. And my my, did she win awards for her unusual roles? You bet she did.
Early Life of Raquel Welch
Raquel Welch was born Jo Raquel Tejada in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America. She was born on September 5 1940 to Armando Carlos Tejada Urquizo and Josephine Sarah Hall. Both of her parents are late now.
Her father, Carlos Tejada was the son of Agustin Tejada and Raquel Urquizo from La Paz, Bolivia. He was an aeronautical engineer while he was alive. Raquel Welch is affiliated with the President of Bolivia, the first female head of state in America. Actually, she is her cousin. Welch also has siblings; James Jim Tejada and Gayle Tejada. However, Gayle passed on in 2020.
Welch’s family moved from Illinois to San Diego in California for reasons best known to her parents when she was only two years old. She and her mother developed a strong relationship, that saw her follow her mother to Pacific Beach Presbyterian Church every other Sunday.
As a young girl, she became interested in ballet dancing but gave up after her teacher discouraged her from it. When she became 14, she won beauty titles as Miss Photogenic and Miss Contour. Welch also won Miss San Diego amongst many other beauty contests she entered for. After her high school days, the unfortunate thing happened: her parents divorced.
She graduated from the San Diego State College department of theater arts. Welch’s talent bloomed as she kept on winning several parts in local theater productions. In 1959, she was a key role in the okay The Ramona Pageant, based on the novel Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson.
Raquel Welch Career
Welch’s first job was at KFMB, a local TV station in San Diego, as a weather forecaster. She was here for a while before deciding to move to Los Angeles in 1963. Knowing that Los Angeles has several opportunities, she applied for roles with movie studios.
In one of her searches, she came in contact with Patrick Curtis who became her personal and business manager. From then, it was an upward scale for her. It was Curtis who convinced her to use her husband’s name “Welch” so as not to be typecasted as a Latina.
So, she starred in A House is Not a Home (1964), Roustabout (1964), a musical by Elvis Presley. She also got roles on television series like Bewitched, McHale’s Navy and many others.
After her role in the beach film, A Swingin’ Summer (1965), she was recommended by the wife of producer Saul David to 20th Century Fox. At first, they wanted her to change her name from Raquel to something else. Their reason being, the name was hard to pronounce, but this didn’t deter her. She stuck to her name.
What Made Raquel Welch Famous?
It wasn’t just about her acting skills, there was something about Welch that endeared her to fans. It was her doggedness and her will to do things her own way without looking like a fool. Take, for instance, one time Fox wanted her to play a role that she feels wouldn’t represent her well, and she turned it down. That’s right! Well, Fox studios had no other option than to listen to her.
Another scenario was in the film 100 Rifles in 1969. It was a movie Raquel played a starring role as a freedom fighter leader. This movie transcended the screens and generated a public discussion. One scene that generated controversy from the movie was where Welch and Brown breached the then Hollywood taboo of interracial romance.
Again, there is also the issue of Welch refusing severally to play nude roles in movies. Even though she was a sex symbol at the time, she still refused to act naked.
Welch’s popularity saw her present at the Academy Award several times in the 1970s.
Raquel Welch as a Sex Symbol
In the 1970s, Playboy couldn’t resist her looks and dubbed her the “Most Desired Woman”.
Raquel Welch’s Awards.
Welch won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy for The Three Musketeers in 1974.
She is also on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A star she received in 1994.
Raquel Welch Relationships.
Raquel Welch has married four times. The first was her high school sweetheart, James Welch. They married on May 8, 1959, but they separated and finally divorced in 1964.
She would later marry her producer, Patrick Curtis in 1967. Five years later, she filed for a divorce. In 1980, she married Andre Weinfeld but things didn’t work out and she divorced him in 1990. Nine years later, she fell in love with Richard Palmer. Again, she divorced in 2003. Since then, Welch has vowed not to marry again.
Here is a woman who typified the classic sex symbol. One who would not succumb to the pressures of going nude even though she is eye candy. Her resolve to hold on to her values is something we can learn from.