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  • Raquel Welch

    4 posts, 3 voices, 481 views, started Jan 13, 2009

    Posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2009


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      Birth Name
      Jo Raquel Tejada  

      A new reigning 60s international sex symbol took her cinematic throne as soon as Raquel Welch emerged from the sea in her purposely depleted, furry prehistoric bikini get-up. Tantalizingly wet with her garb clinging to all the right amazonian places, One Million Years B.C. (1966), if nothing else, captured the hearts and libidos of modern men (not to mention their teenage sons) while producing THE most definitive and best-selling pin-up poster of that time. After a major dry spell following the death of Marilyn Monroe in 1962, the auburn-maned Ms. Welch effortlessly assumed Marilyn’s title and forever wiped away the notion that enduring sex goddesses came only in one form—bottled blonds.

      She was born Jo Raquel Tejada on September 5, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois, the first of three children born to Bolivian Armando Carlos Tejada Urquizo, an aerospace engineer, and his Irish-American wife Josephine Sarah Hall, the daughter of American architect Emery Stanford Hall (1869-1939) and wife Clara Louise Adams. The family moved to San Diego, California (her father was transferred) when Raquel was only two. Taking dance lessons as a youngster, she grew up to be quite a knockout and nailed a number of teen beauty titles (“Miss Photogenic,” “Miss La Jolla,” “Miss Contour,” “Miss Fairest of the Fair” and “Miss San Diego“). With her sights set on theater arts, she studied at San Diego State College on a scholarship starting in 1958 and married her first husband, a high school sweetheart named James Welch, the following year. They had two children Damon Welch (born 1960) and Tahnee Welch (born 1961). Tahnee went on to take advantage of her own stunning looks as an actress, most notably a prime featured role in Cocoon (1985).

      On the sly, Raquel became a local TV weather girl in San Diego and eventually quit college because of her responsibilities. Following the end of her marriage in 1961 (they divorced in 1965), she packed up her two children and moved to Dallas, Texas, where she modeled for Neiman-Marcus and worked as a barmaid for a time. Regrouping, she returned to California, migrated to Los Angeles, and made the rounds of film/TV auditions. Providing sexy/perky decoration on such shows as “Bewitched” (1964), “McHale’s Navy” (1962) and “The Virginian” (1962), she also paid her dues in filler bits with such movies as Elvis Presley’s Roustabout (1964) and Doris Day’s Do Not Disturb (1965). In the midst of the “beach party” craze, it’s not surprising to find that her first prime role would be in the obvious A Swingin’ Summer (1965), which concentrated more on musical guests The Righteous Brothers and Gary Lewis & The Playboys than on Raquel’s outstanding contributions. But 20th Century Fox certainly took notice and signed her up.

      With her very first film under contract (actually, she was on loan out to Britain’s Hammer Studios at the time), she took on the remake of One Million B.C. (1940) in the Carole Landis role and the rest is history. Raquel remained an international commodity for her first few years of celebrity. In England, she was quite revealing as the deadly sin representing “lust” for the comedy team of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in their vehicle Bedazzled (1967), and as the title secret agent in the sexy spy spoof Fathom (1967). In Italy, she appeared in mediocre vehicles opposite such heartthrobs as Marcello Mastroianni. Back in the U.S. by 1968, she caused quite a stir in her brazen sex scenes with black athlete Jim Brown in the “spaghetti western” 100 Rifles (1969), and as the trans-gendered title role in the unfathomable Myra Breckinridge (1970), adapted from Gore Vidal novel while locking horns with the aging diva Mae West. The instant cult movie was a laughing stock to all concerned and certainly damaged Raquel’s attempt at being taking seriously as an actress.

      Personal Quotes
      Once you get rid of the idea that you must please other people before you please yourself, and you begin to follow your own instincts - only then can you be successful. You become more satisfied, and when you are, other people will tend to be satisfied by what you do.

      Being a sex symbol was rather like being a convict.

      [in 1973] I couldn’t stand that my husband was being unfaithful. I am Raquel Welch - understand?

      The mind is an erogenous zone.

      Americans have always had sex symbols. It‘a time-honored tradition and I’m flattered to have been one. But it’s hard to have a long, fruitful career once you’ve been stereotyped that way. That’s why I’m proud to say I’ve endured.

      [about Mae West] I do think she was a spectacular talent. There’s no question she was a comedic genius, but I did, in person, actually feel like she was some kind of a dockworker in drag.

      If you have physical attractiveness you don’t have to act.

      My father was a perfectionist. We had to hop to everything and have marvelous table manners. I could only wear navy blue and gray and white. He wanted me to be interested in tennis and horses just like a little princess, but I couldn’t stand such things.

      [in 2008] I have pictures of me at 23 or 24 and I think, “Oh my God, I was really once that size!” But actually I think my face looks better now.


        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Cynthia Schmidt wrote Jan 13, 2009
        • She is a timeless beauty, one of the most stunning women of all time in my opinion. Next to Sophia Loren.

          I knew she was Hispanic. I don’t think she revealed that fact for years. Great chronoligical account of her life thus far. Wish she would do more entertaining. She’s still so beautiful.

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