Image of Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch

More a sex goddess than an actress, the statuesque Raquel Welch was one of the most popular celebrities of the 1960s and 1970s. While she appeared in dozens of films, they earned little notice, her success depending almost exclusively on her stature as a buxom pin-up. Born Raquel Tejada on September 5, 1940, in Chicago, she began taking dancing lessons as a child and by her teens was already winning beauty contests. At the age of 18, she married high school sweetheart James Welch; the couple had two children before divorcing in 1961. After working in Dallas, TX, as a waitress and model, Welch relocated to Hollywood in 1963; within three days, she had already landed a manager, Patrick Curtis, and soon they formed a promotions company, Curtwell Enterprises. After appearing in Life magazine in a revealing bikini, she began working on the ABC series Hollywood Palace, and in 1964 made her feature debut with an unbilled appearance in the Elvis Presley vehicle Roustabout. Welch next appeared as a prostitute in 1964's A House Is Not a Home, followed by another uncredited appearance a year later in Do Not Disturb. In 1965, she scored her first lead role in the pop musical A Swingin' Summer, resulting in a contract with 20th Century Fox, which cast her in the sci-fi hit Fantastic Voyage before loaning her to the British horror studio Hammer. There she starred in a 1967 remake of One Million Years B.C.; clad in little more than strategically placed strips of fur, Welch's publicity stills appeared everywhere, and she became a major sex symbol -- still, few went to actually see the movie itself. Despite the publicity, Fox was clearly wary of her talents, and did not ask her to return to Hollywood; instead she remained in Europe, starring with Edward G. Robinson and Vittorio de Sica in 1968's The Biggest Bundle of Them All and with Monica Vitti and Claudia Cardinale in Le Fate. While in Paris, Welch and manager Curtis married, issuing a series of provocative wedding night publicity photos. After appearing as Lust incarnate in Stanley Donen's seven-deadly-sins comedy Bedazzled, Welch finally returned to the U.S. Fox used her judiciously in pictures like the 1968 James Stewart Western Bandolero! and the Frank Sinatra mystery Lady in Cement. Following in 1969 was 100 Rifles, a controversial Western which paired Welch with Jim Brown, and a year later she earned her first real starring role in the disastrous Myra Breckenridge. Her situation was unusual; she was certainly a star and a household name, yet few people ever went to see her movies -- neither 1971's Hannie Caulder nor the following year's Fuzz did anything to alter the dilemma, and when the 1973 roller-derby melodrama Kansas City Bomber also tanked at the box office, Welch divorced Curtis and returned to Europe to appear in Bluebeard. While both 1973's The Three Musketeers and its sequel The Four Musketeers were well received, she earned little credit for their success, and when the 1976 black comedy Mother, Jugs and Speed failed, Hollywood largely washed their hands of her. Welch instead turned to nightclubs, concert stages, and television; she also continued making films in Europe, including 1977's The Prince and the Pauper and L' Animal, co-starring Jean-Paul Belmondo. In 1980, she was tapped to star in Cannery Row, but was fired a month into production; she filed suit against MGM for damages, and was awarded 11 million dollars. Welch spent the entirety of the 1980s away from theaters, focusing primarily on television productions like 1982's The Legend of Walks Far Woman and 1987's Right to Die, in which she delivered one of her strongest performances as a woman suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease. After an absence of over a decade, in 1994 Welch returned to cinema in the comedy The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult. Throughout the decade, she also made a number of infomercials and exercise videos, and in 1995 also starred in the short-lived nighttime soap opera CPW. In 1997, she took over for Julie Andrews in the troubled Broadway musical Victor/Victoria, which closed less than a month after Welch's debut performance. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi

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Sep 5, 1940 In Chicago, Illinois, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the series Today 1952-01-14
Latest Project:
Series Date My Dad 2017-06-02
Known For
Poster of Legally Blonde
Poster of Seinfeld
Poster of The Three Musketeers
Poster of Shoot Loud, Louder... I Don't Understand
Series Date My Dad Rosa 2017-06-02
Movie How to Be a Latin Lover Celeste 2017-03-06
Movie The Ultimate Legacy Sally May Anderson 2015-12-04
Movie And the Oscar Goes To... 2014-02-01
Movie House of Versace Lucia 2013-10-04
Movie Top Priority: The Terror Within Herself - Award Winning Actress (archive footage) 2012-06-15
Movie Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good Self 2011-07-29
Movie The World of Peter Sellers 2009-09-15
Series Welcome to the Captain Charlene Van Ark 2008-02-04
Movie Forget About It Christine DeLee 2006-10-14
Movie Sex at 24 Frames Per Second Herself - Interviewee 2003-09-23
Movie Jim Brown: All-American Herself 2002-01-01
Series 8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter Unknown 2002-09-17
Movie Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood Herself (archive footage) 2001-01-01
Movie Legally Blonde Mrs. Windham Vandermark 2001-07-13
Movie Tortilla Soup Hortensia 2001-08-24
Movie Get Bruce! Herself 1999-01-01
Series The Early Show Unknown 1999-11-01
Movie Chairman of the Board Grace Kosik 1998-03-13
Series The View Unknown 1997-08-11
Series Spin City Unknown 1996-09-17
Movie Sex, Censorship and the Silver Screen Narrator 1996-01-01
Series E! True Hollywood Story Unknown 1996-03-29
Series Central Park West 1995-09-13
Movie Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult Raquel Welch 1994-03-18
Movie Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror Herself 1994-08-06
Movie Torch Song Paula Eastman 1993-05-23
Movie Tainted Blood Elizabeth Hayes 1993-08-24
Movie The Flintstones : Hollyrock a Bye Baby Shelly Millstone (voice) 1993-12-05
Series Seinfeld Unknown 1989-07-05
Movie Scandal in a Small Town Leda Beth Vincent 1988-01-01
Movie Right to Die Emily Bauer 1987-08-12
Series Wogan Unknown 1982-05-04
Movie The Legend of Walks Far Woman Walks Far Woman 1982-05-30
Series Wanna bet, that..? Unknown 1981-02-14
Movie The Muppets Go Hollywood Herself 1979-05-16
Series Mork & Mindy Unknown 1978-09-14
Movie The Prince and the Pauper Lady Edith 1977-06-03
Movie Stuntwoman Jane Gardner 1977-10-05
Movie Mother, Jugs & Speed Jugs 1976-01-01
Series The Muppet Show Unknown 1976-09-05
Series Donny & Marie Unknown 1976-01-23
Movie The Wild Party Queenie 1975-03-01
Series Cher Unknown 1975-02-16
Series Saturday Night Live Unknown 1975-10-11
Movie The Four Musketeers Constance de Bonancieux 1974-10-31
Movie The Last of Sheila Alice 1973-06-14
Movie The Three Musketeers Constance de Bonancieux 1973-12-11
Movie Fuzz Det. Eileen McHenry 1972-07-14
Movie Kansas City Bomber K.C. Carr 1972-08-02
Movie Bluebeard Magdalena 1972-09-01
Movie Sin Elena 1971-01-01
Movie Hannie Caulder Hannie Caulder 1971-11-08
Movie Myra Breckinridge Myra Breckinridge 1970-06-24
Movie 100 Rifles Sarita 1969-03-26
Series Bracken's World Unknown 1969-09-19
Movie The Magic Christian Priestess of the Whip 1969-12-12
Movie Flareup Michele 1969-11-10
Movie The Biggest Bundle of Them All Juliana 1968-01-17
Series Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In Unknown 1968-01-22
Movie Bandolero! Maria Stoner 1968-06-01
Movie Lady in Cement Kit Forrest 1968-11-19
Movie Fathom Fathom Harvill 1967-08-25
Movie The Oldest Profession Nini 1967-04-05
Movie Bedazzled Lust/Lilian Lust 1967-10-30
Movie The Queens Elena 1966-04-21
Movie Fantastic Voyage Cora 1966-08-24
Movie Shoot Loud, Louder... I Don't Understand Tania Montini 1966-10-26
Movie One Million Years B.C. Loana 1966-11-28
Movie A Swingin' Summer Jeri Mason 1965-01-01
Series The Rogues Miss France 1964-09-13
Movie A House Is Not a Home Call Girl 1964-08-12
Movie Roustabout College Girl in Blue 1964-11-11
Series Wendy and Me Unknown 1964-09-14
Series Shindig! Unknown 1964-09-16
Series The Baileys of Balboa Unknown 1964-09-19
Series Bewitched Unknown 1964-09-17
Series The Virginian Unknown 1962-09-19
Series The Academy Awards Unknown 1953-03-18
Series Today Unknown 1952-01-14