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 Fast And Loose
Latest Project:
Movie How to Be a Latin Lover 2017-04-28
Known For
Poster of Seinfeld
Poster of Right to Die
Poster of Wild Party
Poster of Feuerdrache
Series The Norman Gunston Show Priestess of the Whip 2020
Series Fast And Loose K.C. Carr 2020
Series StarStruck Lust 2017
Movie How to Be a Latin Lover Celeste 2017-04-28
Series Stor I Japan Herself 2016
Movie Versace - Ein Leben für die Mode Lucia 2015-01-27
Movie Das ultimative Vermächtnis Miss Sally May Anderson 2015-12-04
Movie Top Priority: The Terror Within Herself - Award Winning Actress (archive footage) 2012-06-15
Series Mommy XXX Hannie Caulder 2009-06-18
Series Welcome to the Captain Charlene Van Ark 2008-02-04
Movie The Lost Boys 2: The Tribe Miss France 2008-07-29
Series Opium Alice 2008-10-15
Movie Blur Unknown 2007-04-17
Movie Forget About It Christine DeLee 2006-10-14
Series Class of 3000 College Girl in Blue 2006-11-03
Movie Seraphim Falls Unknown 2006-09-13
Series Meine wilden Töchter Unknown 2002-09-17
Movie Tortilla Soup – Die Würze des Lebens Hortensia 2001-08-21
Movie Natürlich blond Mrs. Windham Vandermark 2001-07-13
Movie Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood Herself (archive footage) 2001-01-01
Series The Early Show Unknown 1999-11-01
Movie Get Bruce - Mit der Lizenz zum Lachen Herself 1999-01-01
Movie Der Chaotenboss Grace Kosik 1998-03-13
Series The View Unknown 1997-08-11
Series E! True Hollywood Story Unknown 1996-03-29
Series Chaos City Unknown 1996-09-17
Series Central Park West 1995-09-13
Movie Flesh and Blood: The Hammer Heritage of Horror Herself 1994-08-06
Movie Die nackte Kanone 33⅓ Raquel Welch 1994-03-18
Movie Tainted Blood Elizabeth Hayes 1993-08-24
Series Seinfeld Unknown 1989-07-05
Movie Trouble in Paradise 1989-05-29
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 Die unzähmbare Indianerin Walks Far Woman 1982-05-30
Series Mork vom Ork Unknown 1978-09-14
Movie Ein irrer Typ Jane Gardner 1977-10-05
Movie Der Prinz und der Bettler Lady Edith 1977-06-03
Series Donny & Marie Unknown 1976-01-23
Movie C.R.A.S.H. Jugs 1976-01-01
Series Die Muppet Show Unknown 1976-09-05
Series Cher Unknown 1975-02-16
Series Saturday Night Live Unknown 1975-10-11
Movie Wild Party Queenie 1975-03-01
Movie Die vier Musketiere Constance de Bonancieux 1974-10-31
Movie Die drei Musketiere Constance de Bonancieux 1973-12-11
Movie Blaubart Magdalena 1972-09-01
Movie Auf leisen Sohlen kommt der Tod Det. Eileen McHenry 1972-07-14
Movie Heisskaltes Blut Elena 1971-01-01
Movie Myra Breckinridge Myra Breckinridge 1970-06-24
Movie 100 Gewehre Sarita 1969-03-26
Movie Flareup Michele 1969-11-10
Movie Die Platinbande Juliana 1968-01-17
Movie Die Lady in Zement Kit Forrest 1968-11-19
Series Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In Unknown 1968-01-22
Movie Bandolero! Maria Stoner 1968-06-01
Movie Das älteste Gewerbe der Welt Nini 1967-04-05
Movie Feuerdrache Fathom Harvill 1967-12-13
Movie Die Phantastische Reise Cora 1966-08-24
Movie Die Gespielinnen Elena 1966-09-14
Movie Eine Million Jahre vor unserer Zeit Loana 1966-11-28
Movie Shoot Loud, Louder... I Don't Understand Tania Montini 1966-10-26
Movie A Swingin' Summer Jeri 1965-01-01
Series The Hollywood Palace 1964-01-04
Series Verliebt in eine Hexe Unknown 1964-09-17
Movie Madame P. und ihre Mädchen Call Girl 1964-08-12
Series Wendy and Me Unknown 1964-09-14
Series Shindig! Unknown 1964-09-16
Series Die Leute von der Shiloh-Ranch Unknown 1962-09-19
Series The Academy Awards Unknown 1953-03-18
Series Today Unknown 1952-01-14