From Academic Kids
She was born Jo Raquel Tejada in Chicago, Illinois, the oldest of three children born to Armando Carlos Tejada and Josephine Sarah Hall. Her father was an immigrant from Bolivia of Castilian Spanish extraction who was an aerospace engineer, and her mother an United States native of Irish descent.
In 1942, Armand Tejada was transferred to San Diego, California. The family moved to the suburb of La Jolla, where Raquel grew up. She took dancing lessons as a child, and was winning beauty pageants by the time she was a teenager. Among her titles were "Miss Photogenic," "Miss La Jolla," "Miss Contour," and "Miss San Diego." In 1957, she was named "Miss Fairest of the Fair" at the San Diego County Fair. After high school she entered San Diego State College on a theater arts scholarship. The following year she married a high school sweetheart, James Welch.
Welch became a weather forecaster at a local San Diego television station. Because of her heavy schedule, she decided to leave college. Her marriage broke up and she moved with her two children to Dallas, Texas, where she modeled for Neiman-Marcus and worked as a cocktail hostess, intending to move on to New York City from there.
Instead, she moved back to California. She found a place in Los Angeles and started making the rounds of the movie studios. She was cast in bit parts in 2 films and television shows such as Bewitched, McHale's Navy, The Hollywood Palace, and The Virginian. Welch's first featured role was in A Swingin' Summer, which led to a contract with 20th Century Fox. She was then cast in the Sci-fi hit Fantastic Voyage, which finally made her a star.
On loan out to Hammer Studios in Britain, she starred in the remake of One Million Years B.C.. After her appearance as Lust incarnate in Bedazzled, she returned to the United States and appeared in a Western with James Stewart and Dean Martin titled Bandolero!, which was followed by Lady in Cement with Frank Sinatra. Her first real starring role was in Myra Breckinridge with Mae West, which turned out to be a dismal failure.
Despite box office disappointments, Welch became one of the leading sex symbols of the 1960s and 1970s. Her most memorable publicity still, where she was clad in a furry animal-skin bikini for One Million Years B.C., became a bestselling poster.
Her television appearances include the series The Hollywood Palace, the made for TV movies The Legend of Walks Far Woman and Right to Die, in which she turned in a stirring performance as a woman with Lou Gehrig's disease, and in the PBS series American Family, about a Mexican American family in East Los Angeles. She has also appeared in the night time soap opera CPW and made infomercials and exercise videos.
She has been married to James Welch (1959)-(1962), publicist and agent; Patrick Curtis (who played the baby of Olivia de Havilland in Gone With The Wind) (1967)-(1972), writer; Andre Weinfeld (1980-1990); and Richard Palmer (1999).
She is the mother of Damon Welch and actress Tahnee Welch.
Achievements and awards
In 1974, Raquel Welch won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy for The Three Musketeers. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in the TV drama Right to Die (1988).
- A House Is Not a Home (1964)
- Roustabout (1964)
- A Swingin' Summer (1965)
- The Queens (1966)
- Fantastic Voyage (1966)
- One Million Years B.C. (1966)
- Shoot Loud, Louder... I Don't Understand (1966)
- Think Twentieth (1967) (short subject)
- The Oldest Profession (1967)
- Fathom (1967)
- Bedazzled (1967)
- The Biggest Bundle of Them All (1968)
- Bandolero! (1968)
- Lady in Cement (1968)
- 100 Rifles (1969)
- Flareup (1969)
- The Magic Christian (1969)
- The Beloved (1970)
- Myra Breckinridge (1970)
- Hannie Caulder (1971)
- Bluebeard (1972)
- Fuzz (1972)
- Kansas City Bomber (1972)
- The Last of Sheila (1973)
- The Three Musketeers (1973)
- The Four Musketeers (1974)
- The Wild Party (1975)
- Mother, Jugs & Speed (1976)
- The Animal (1977)
- Crossed Swords (1978)
- Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994) (Cameo)
- Chairman of the Board (1998)
- What I Did for Love (1998)
- Tortilla Soup (2001)
- Legally Blonde (2001)
- Jim Brown: All American (2002) (documentary)
- Forget About It (2005)
- The Hollywood Palace (regular performer in 1964)
- Raquel! (1970)
- Mork & Mindy (1979) - "Captain Nirvana" in "Mork vs. The Necrotons"
- The Legend of Walks Far Women (1982)
- Right to Die (1987)
- Scandal in a Small Town (1988)
- Trouble in Paradise (1989)
- Tainted Blood (1993)
- Torch Song (1993)
- Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby (1994) (voice)
- Central Park West (1995) (pilot for series of same name)
- Central Park West (cast member in 1996)
- Spin City (1997,1998 and 2000) - "Abby Lassiter" in the episodes "Porn in the U.S.A.", "A River Runs Through Me" and "Balloons over Broadway"
- American Family (2002-2004)
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- Raquel Welch Tribute (http://www.triviatribute.com/raquelwelch.html) (photos)
- Facts About The Ramona Pageant (http://www.ramonabowl.com/ramona/funfacts/index.shtml) (with photo)
- Interview with Welch when she turned sixty (http://www.crankycritic.com/qa/pf_articles/raquelwelch.html)
- Cult Sirens: Raquel Welch (http://www.cultsirens.com/welch/welch.htm)de:Raquel_Welch