Raquel Welch
Image Source

Raquel Welch is a veteran Hollywood actress whose career in the industry spans five decades. She rose to fame in the mid-1960s following her appearance in the 1966 films Fantastic Voyage and One Million Years B.C.

In the second film, she was costumed with nothing more than a two-piece bikini made from the skin of a deer, which left most of her well-shaped body open. Consequently, this made her a favourite and the dream girl of a huge number of moviegoers, despite the fact that she had only three lines in the film.

A publicity poster of her dressed in the same costume became a bestseller, transforming the young actress into a pin-up model instantly. As a result of the film, Raquel Welch became the number one sex symbol of her time.

Raquel Welch Biography (Age)

Named after her father’s mother, the prolific actress was born with the full name Jo Raquel Tejada to Armando Carlos Tejada Urquizo and Josephine Sarah Hall on September 5, 1940, in Chicago, Illinois. She is the oldest of her parent’s three children with her younger ones being James “Jim” Stanford (brother) and Gayle Carole (sister).

Raquel Welsh’s father who died way back in 1976, hailed from La Paz, Bolivia, and worked as an aeronautical engineer while her mother, also passed on in 2000 and was an English woman. At the age of 2, Raquel moved with her parents to San Diego, California, where she worshipped every Sunday with her mother at the Pacific Beach Presbyterian Church.

Growing up, she aspired to become a ballerina and in a bid to make it a reality, she studied ballet for ten years, beginning from when she was 7. Sadly, she was forced to let it go after her instructor told her clearly that she was not physically built for ballet. Around that time, Raquel Welsh also got involved in pageantry, winning the title of Miss Photogenic and Miss Contour at the age of 14.

A former student of La Jolla High School, the actress won the Miss La Jolla title and also took part in the beauty contest during the San Diego County Fair and won the title of Miss San Diego – the Fairest of the Fair. Her victories as a beauty queen were eventually crowned with the title of Maid of California. The beautiful lady also proved to be a combination of beauty and brains as she graduated from high school in 1958 with honors. Sadly, her parents parted ways shortly afterwards.

Having decided to become an actress, Raquel Welsh got a theatre arts scholarship which took her to study in San Diego State College in 1958. Her acting talent won her many roles in local theatre productions. A year after she got into college, Raquel got married to James Welch, her high school lover. In addition to studying, she also took a job at KFMB-TV, San Diego, working as a weather forecaster but due to the demanding nature of her studies and new family, she chose to abandon drama school.

She eventually relocated to Dallas, Texas, where she worked as a model and cocktail waitress in order to earn a living. Later on, she moved back to Los Angeles in 1963 and began hunting for acting roles with film studios.

Professional Acting Career

In Los Angeles, she met Hollywood agent and former child actor,  Patrick Curtis and he became her personal and business manager. He came up with the idea of transforming Raquel Wesh into a sex symbol and also got her to agree to use her husband’s last name “Welsh” even though they had separated. This, Curtis did in order to save the actress from being typecast as a Latina.

She subsequently started getting acting jobs in films and television though they were small roles. Later on, she landed her first feature role in the 1965 beach film A Swingin’ Summer. That same year, she drew the attention of the wife of Saul David, a producer, who mentioned her to 20th Century Fox where she got an acting contract with the help of Curtis.

Raquel Welch
Raquel in “One Million Years B.C.” Image Source

Her first job for the company was the 1966 sci-fi film, Fantastic Voyage, in which she played the lead role. The movie turned her into a star as it was a hit. The same year, the actress was loaned to Hammer Studios and there, she starred alongside John Richardson in One Million Years B.C., in a role which finally gave life to her manager’s initial idea of making her a sex symbol. In the same year, the actress appeared in other works including Shoot Loud… Louder… I Don’t Understand, and Sex Quartet.

In the years that followed, Raquel was cast in many movies such as The Oldest Profession (1967), Fathom (1967), Bedazzled (1967), Bandolero! (1968) and also worked with stars like Frank Sinatra and Burt Reynolds in the 1968 and 1969 movies, Lady in Cement and 100 Rifles respectively, among numerous other films in subsequent years.

The successful actress also featured in many television shows, stage plays, and equally had a brief singing career which saw her release the single, This Girl’s Back In Town.

Raquel Welsh won a Golden Globe Award for her performance in The Three Musketeers in 1974 and in 1994, her contributions to the film industry in America earned her a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard. She also received the Imagen Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 for positively promoting Americans of Latin heritage throughout the period of her career. This was followed in 2012 with a special presentation of Raquel Welch’s films at the Walter Reade Theater by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

See Also: Antonia Thomas – Bio, Father (David Thomas) and Other Interesting Facts

Spouse, Husband And Children

Although Raquel had a highly successful acting career, the same cannot be said about her love life. She has been married four times and after the last fell apart like the others, she probably gave up on love as she clearly stated that she has no intentions of getting married again.

Her first marriage was to James Welch, her boyfriend from high school and it lasted from May 8, 1959, to 1964, meanwhile, they separated 2 years before their divorce. She got married the second time to Patrick Curtis from 1967 to 1972.

Eight years later, Raquel Welsh tied the knot with André Weinfeld and their union lasted for ten years, ending in 1990. In 1999, she fell in love again, this time with Richard Palmer but their relationship also went sour, leading to a separation in 2008 and a divorce later on.

The actress had two children with her first husband. The first, named Damon Welch, was born on the 6th of November 1959 while the second, a daughter named Tahnee Rene Welch, was born on December 26, 1961. Tahnee is toeing her mother’s career path.

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