Raquel Welch was clad in a two-piece deer-skin bikini and had only three lines of dialogue in the epic movie, One Million Years B.C., but her image would go down in history as a global sex symbol of her era, an idea she found a little strange. Prior to her role therein, she has been in the eyes of her audience with impressive roles in the ’60s TV show Bewitched and Fantastic Voyage and also appeared in Legally Blonde (2001). Even now in her late 70’s, the actress and singer have not lost her appeal and still hold many a heart spellbound whenever she appears.
Raquel Welch Bio, Age
She was born Jo Raquel Tejada on the 5th day of September 1940 in Chicago, Illinois, US. Her father, Armando Carlos Tejada Urquizo (1911–1976) was a Bolivian immigrant who worked as an aeronautical engineer while her mother, Josephine Sarah Hall (1909–2000) was of English ancestry. She is the first of three children including her younger brother, James “Jim” Stanford, and younger sister, Gayle Carole.
Two years after she was born, her family to San Diego, California where she was a regular attendee at the Pacific Beach Presbyterian Church with her mother. Growing up, she was highly athletic, entered beauty pageantries, and soar high in her studies. She aspired to be a ballet dancer but gave up on her dreams after 10 years of intense practice when her instructor told her that she didn’t have the right figure. At age 14, she won beauty titles as Miss Photogenic and Miss Contour as well as Miss La Jolla in high school and Miss San Diego – the Fairest of the Fair – at the San Diego County Fair. With her impressive resume in the beauty contests arena, Raquel eventually snagged the state title of Maid of California.
Unfortunately, her parents divorced shortly after her graduation. She graduated with honors from La Jolla High School in 1958 after which she enrolled in San Diego State College on a theater arts scholarship to pursue an acting career. Subsequently, she joined a local theater where she scored several roles in their productions such as the titular role in The Ramona Pageant in 1959, the same year she got married to James Welch.
With intent to advance in the showbiz arena, Welch took up a job as a weather forecaster at a local San Diego TV station, KFMB. She also worked as a model in Dallas, Texas for Neiman Marcus and as a cocktail waitress before moving to Los Angeles in 1963.
In LA, she met Patrick Curtis who became her personal and business manager after severally applying for roles in movie studios. Curtis brought the idea of promoting her as a sex symbol and also convinced her to use her husband’s last name to avoid typecasting as a Latina. That settled, in time she started earning roles; first in A House Is Not a Home (1964) and then in an Elvis Presley film Roustabout (1964).
This was followed up with minor roles on the small screen such as in Bewitched, McHale’s Navy, and The Virginian, and a presentation gig on the weekly variety series The Hollywood Palace. In 1965, she scored her first feature role in the beach film A Swingin’ Summer. After a leading role in the sci-fi movie Fantastic Voyage (1966) which became a hit and put her on the star map, she inked a contract with 20th Century Fox and more films followed. However, it was One Million B.C. (1966) where she had just one costume; a doe-skin bikini, and only three lines that gave life to Curtis’ initial idea – changing her status to have a sex appeal.
In the following years, she had a myriad of roles in films, some in locations outside of the US such as Italy and Spain. Her work includes The Oldest Profession (1967), Fathom (1967), Bedazzled (1967), Bandolero! (1968) where she steered off a sexy role. Although she appeared in a variety of other films, starring opposite big names like Frank Sinatra in Lady in Cement (1968) and Burt Reynolds in the 1969 western 100 Rifles as a freedom fighter leader, Raquel wanted to be taken seriously as an actress.
She took the chance in 1970 when she played a transsexual heroine in the controversial film, Myra Breckinridge co-starring Mae West. Despite the film being a flop, Playboy dubbed her the Most Desired Woman of the 1970s.
From 1982, she had more roles on the small screen until 1994 when she appeared in the feature film Naked Gun 33⅓. She further appeared in other films and television works. Her recent works include How to Be a Latin Lover (2017) and Date My Dad (2017). Throughout her more than half a century career, Welch refused to go completely nude on the screen stating she is only reflecting on her upbringing.
In 1974, she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role in the 1973 film The Three Musketeers. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994 and was awarded for her positive promotion of Americans of Latin heritage throughout her career the Imagen Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.
In 1987, Raquel Welch launched a singing career and performed in a successful one-woman nightclub musical act in Las Vegas for many years. She turned to the stage in 1981, starring in the Broadway musical Woman of the Year (1982) and in Victor/Victoria in 1997. Moreover, her dance single, This Girl’s Back in Town (1987) peaked at No. 29 on Billboard’s dance club chart.
Her book and video series, The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program were released to rave success in the ’80s. She also authored two other books, The Secrets Of Timeless Appeal and Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage both released in 2010.
Talking about the secret of flawless beauty, Raquel launched a number of beauty products such as jewelry and skincare lines. She also owns a signature line of wigs, HAIRuWEAR that became a phenomenal success. In 2007, she became one of MAC Cosmetics’ newest faces for its Beauty Icon series.
Raquel Welch has made both fame and fortune for herself in the industry. She has over five decades of work therein and her beautiful collection and other business moves have contributed to her wealth. Her net worth is estimated at $30 million.
Family – Spouse, Kids, Daughter
Raquel hitched on to her first marriage a year after leaving high school to her high school sweetheart, James Welch in 1959 and they had two children together; a daughter named Tahnee and a son, Damon (b. 1959), before their divorce in 1964.
Her daughter was born Latanne Rene Welch on December 26, 1961, and like her mother, is a model and actress.
Three years after working with Patrick Curtis, the two moved from professional to a more personal relationship, exchanging their vows in 1967. The marriage was also short-lived. It was another divorce for Welch five years after in 1972. Then, she was married to the French and American director/journalist André Weinfeld from 1980 to 1990.
In 1999, Raquel Welch married Richard Palmer who she separated from in 2008 and divorced shortly after. The Hollywood sex symbol really had a colorful love life. Besides the men she married, she also dated Warren Beatty, Ron Talsky, Steve McQueen, and Dudley Moore. However, she expressed her doubt of walking down the aisle again.
Raquel Welch Height and Measurement
Her body figure cut short her dream of becoming a ballet dancer but went on to establish her as a beauty icon. Her great body, thanks in part to her 10 years of ballet training also helped transform America’s feminine ideal into its current state; ending Hollywood’s vigorous promotion of the blonde bombshell as typified by Marilyn Monroe among others.
The ageless beauty is indeed blessed with a naturally endowed body that measures 37-24-36 in (94-61-91 cm). Her height is 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in) and she weighs 121 lb (55 kg).