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Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch

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Also Known As: Jo-Raquel Tejada Died:
Born: September 5, 1940 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, USA Profession: actor, singer, model, producer, screenwriter, cocktail waitress

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The last of the Hollywood sex symbols, Raquel Welch began appearing in films in the mid-1960s and enjoyed a run as pin-up girl after capturing the public's imagination clad in a well-tailored fur bikini in the prehistoric fantasy "One Million Years BC" (1966). Who would have known she was a single mother of two? Her packagers never let on. They just continued to push the fantasy, creating an uphill battle for her to earn any respect as a serious actor. Welch ornamented a number of lightweight vehicles before bombing in the title role of "Myra Breckinridge" (1970--Mae West walked off with most of the publicity), then took a measure of control over her screen persona, producing and starring in "Hannie Calder" (1971), the first of her macho femme Western roles. She altered the image further with "Kansas City Bomber" (1972), insisting on doing her own stunts as good-hearted roller derby star Diane 'KC' Carr.Welch had one of her finest hours displaying her comic timing as Constance in Richard Lester's version of the "The Three Musketeers" (1973), winning a Golden Globe for her efforts. She appeared again as Constance in Lester's follow-up "The Four Musketeers" (1975) and shone as the Jugs of Peter Yates'...

The last of the Hollywood sex symbols, Raquel Welch began appearing in films in the mid-1960s and enjoyed a run as pin-up girl after capturing the public's imagination clad in a well-tailored fur bikini in the prehistoric fantasy "One Million Years BC" (1966). Who would have known she was a single mother of two? Her packagers never let on. They just continued to push the fantasy, creating an uphill battle for her to earn any respect as a serious actor. Welch ornamented a number of lightweight vehicles before bombing in the title role of "Myra Breckinridge" (1970--Mae West walked off with most of the publicity), then took a measure of control over her screen persona, producing and starring in "Hannie Calder" (1971), the first of her macho femme Western roles. She altered the image further with "Kansas City Bomber" (1972), insisting on doing her own stunts as good-hearted roller derby star Diane 'KC' Carr.

Welch had one of her finest hours displaying her comic timing as Constance in Richard Lester's version of the "The Three Musketeers" (1973), winning a Golden Globe for her efforts. She appeared again as Constance in Lester's follow-up "The Four Musketeers" (1975) and shone as the Jugs of Peter Yates' "Mother, Jugs, and Speed" (1976), the easygoing camaraderie of the three principles (with Bill Cosby and Harvey Keitel) providing a refreshingly strong role for her. Hollywood, however, cast her body more than anything (she was a sex symbol after all) and refused to see an actress of any depth. In order to branch out into more dramatic fare, Welch moved to the small screen during the 80s earning plaudits for her work in NBC TV-movies like "The Legend of Walks Far Woman" (1982), "Right to Die" (1987, in which she was convincing as a woman stricken with Lou Gehrig's disease) and "Scandal in a Small Town" (1988).

Welch sued MGM in 1980 for firing her from "Cannery Row" (1982), eventually pocketing $14 million. In 1981, she made her Broadway debut succeeding Lauren Bacall in "Woman of the Year" and upped her credibility immensely. She made her series debut as a regular in the revamped version of Darren Star's "CPW" (CBS, 1996) before replacing Julie Andrews on the Great White Way the following year in "Victor/Victoria". Perhaps it strained credulity (not to mention challenging costumers) to present her as a woman passing for a man, but her presence could not keep the show from closing. Despite the setback, Welch has remained committed to developing her craft, appeared onstage in a revival of George Bernard Shaw's "The Millionairess" in 1998 (having previously played the role in a British tour). She also returned to features that year playing Grace Kosik the nemesis of comedian Carrot Top in the uneven comedy "Chairman of the Board".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 House of Versace (2013)
2.
 Forget About It (2008)
4.
 Legally Blonde (2001) Mrs Windham Vandermark
5.
 Tortilla Soup (2001) Hortensia
6.
 Get Bruce (1999) Herself
7.
 What I Did For Love (1998) Jacqueline
8.
 Chairman of the Board (1998) Grace Kosik
9.
 Legends in Light (1995)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1943:
Moved with family to La Jolla, California (date approximate)
1947:
First taste of the stage at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre as member of a children's theater group (date approximate)
1955:
Won La Jolla beauty competition at age 15 (date approximate)
:
Worked as a cocktail waitress and model in Dallas in early 1960s
:
Moved to L.A. as a single mother with two children from her first marriage; worked several jobs to support family
1964:
Broke into show business as billboard girl on the "Hollywood Palace" TV show
1964:
First film appearance (as walk-on) in Elvis Presely vehicle "Roustabout"
1965:
Film acting and singing debut ("introducing Raquel Welch") in "A Swingin' Summer"
1966:
Indelibly entered the public's consciousness as the bikini-clad cave woman of "One Million Years B.C."
1968:
First (of many) appearance on a Bob Hope TV special
1970:
Played title role in "Myra Breckinridge"
1970:
Hosted first variety special, "Raquel" (CBS)
1971:
Produced and starred in "Hannie Caulder"
1972:
Portrayed Diane 'KC' Carr in "Kansas City Bomber"
1973:
Acted the part of Constance in Richard Lester's "The Three Musketeers"
1975:
Reprised role in Lester's "The Four Musketeers"; films were shot simultaneously
1976:
Contributed her Jugs to "Mother, Jugs, and Speed"
1980:
Sued MGM over dismissal from the film "Cannery Row"; eventually won a $14 million judgment in her favor
1981:
Broadway debut in "Woman of the Year"; succeeded Lauren Bacall in role of Tess Harding; songwriters John Jander and Fred Ebb added new material for her to sing
1982:
TV-movie debut in title role as "The Legend of Walks Far Woman" (NBC)
1987:
Offered a convincing turn as stricken Emily Bauer in NBC-movie, "Right to Die"
1988:
Starred as Leda Beth Vincent in NBC-movie, "Scandal in a Small Town"
1993:
Headlined TV-movie "Tainted Blood" (USA Network)
1993:
Made frequent guest appearances on sitcoms, including "Evening Shade", "Seinfeld" "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" and "Spin City"
1994:
Was TV spokesperson for Equal sweetner
1995:
British stage debut touring in George Bernard Shaw's "The Millionairess"; production's London booking canceled
1996:
TV series debut as regular on the primetime CBS soap opera "CPW", a revamping of "Central Park West"; played the bitchy, wealthy ex-wife of a businessman
1996:
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
1997:
Returned to Broadway, replacing Julie Andrews in "Victor/Victoria"
1998:
Portrayed Grace Kosik in "Chairman of the Board"
1998:
Starred in Foxborough, Massachusetts stage production of "The Millionairess"
2000:
Had featured role in the TV pilot "An American Family", written and directed by Gregory Nava; series picked up for airing by PBS in 2001-2002
2001:
Had supporting role in "Legally Blonde"
2001:
Co-starred with Hector Elizondo in "Tortilla Soup", a remake of "Eat Drink Man Woman" set in L.A.'s Latino community
2002:
Played Aunt Dora on the television series "American Family," also starred Edward James Olmos and Sonia Braga
2006:
Plyayed an ex-Las Vegas showgirl opposite Burt Reynolds in the madcap comedy "Forget About It"
2008:
Appeared in the CBS comedy "Welcome to the Captain"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

San Diego State College: San Diego , California -
La Jolla High School: La Jolla , California - 1958

Notes

" ...I made decisions based on, What will my kids think of this? I tried not to trash myself. I felt I owed them that, because there were sacrifices of time away, and they had enough difficulty dealing with the fact that I was there mother. The compromise of being a career woman and having children is ... My failings as a mother weren't intentional--and my kids grew up to be good people--but the failings were there. And I look at things now, and I go, Hmmm, maybe that was too high a price to pay for what I got out of it." --Raquel Welch to TV Guide, June 8, 1996

About "Myra Breckinridge" co-star Mae West: "She was a genius of sorts, but I was seeing her at a very sad moment in her life. She was frightened to be on camera with me. I thought, 'You never want to get to the point in your life when you're hanging onto this kind of thing. It's too painful.' And do you know that she never dropped her persona while on the set? It was all 'Come up and see me sometime.'" --Welch quoted in USA Today, June 26, 1997.

"I remember a long, long time ago, George C. Scott said you can't teach acting. You know, you either have it or you don't. Well, I think that's great for him. He definitely had it. He's fabulous; he's one of my idols. But for the loads of us on the planet who are not as gifted as Mr. Scott, there are tried and true techniques that are available. Most of the time, an actor is left pretty much on his own with a script in his bedroom or hotel room to struggle it out and try to find the character. Some people do it easliy, but I'm personally not one of them. I mean, I can fake it easily enough when all I have to say is, 'Hello, goodbye.'

" ... But with theater, you have to make a commitment of 2 1/2 hours of doing more than saying 'Hi.'

"It's like swimming along in the deep end and you don't see the shore in sight. You just keep swimming anyway in some kind of blind faith that soon there will be land, you know?" --Welch quoted in The Boston Globe, May 24, 1998.

Welch is president of her own production company, RWP Inc, and is currently developing projects, including her own feature-length screenplay.

Welch has her own wig and beauty product lines.

"Americans have always had sex symbols. It's 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 sterotyped that way. That's why I'm proud to say I've endured."-- Welch Biography Magazine July 2002

In 1994, Raquel Welch received a star on the Walk of Fame

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
James Westly Welch. Married on May 8, 1959; separated in 1961; divorced in 1965; father of two of her children.
husband:
Patrick Curtis. Press agent, actor. Born c. 1938; married in 1967; divorced in 1971; reportedly appeared as an infant in scenes in "Gone With the Wind" (1939).
husband:
Andre Weinfeld. Photographer, screenwriter. Married on July 5, 1980; divorced in September 1990; French photographer; seven years Welch's junior; appeared in "Pacific Palisades" (1990).
husband:
Richard Palmer. Restaurateur. Born c. 1955; owned and managed Mulberry Street Cafe; formerly involved with Cathy Moriarty; divorced with one son; met in 1997; announced engagement in July 1998; married on July 17, 1999; seperated as of August 2003.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Armand Tejada. Engineer. Bolivian.
mother:
Josephine Esterly. Died on October 17, 2000 at age 91.
brother:
Castillo Tejada.
sister:
Gayle Pate.
son:
Damon Welch. Born in 1960, computer consultant and aspiring actor.
daughter:
La Tahn Welch. Actor. Born on December 26, 1961 in San Diego, California.
step-son:
Richard Palmer Jr. Born c. 1989; father, Richard Palmer.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program"
"Raquel: The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program"

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