Ms. Raquel Welch was born in Chicago, in 1940, and was given the birth name of Jo Raquel Tejada. At an early age Ms. Welch had her heart set on the performance arts. She was a dancer from age 7 until 17. Once her dance instructor said she didn’t have the body to be a dancer she started her acting career at the age of 19.
Welch began on stage in 1959 playing the title role in “The Ramona Pageant.” She moved to Los Angeles in the early ’60s and began to pursue roles through studios in the area. In the beginning, she didn’t have many large parts though she was acted in both films and television. Then in 1965 Welch landed her first feature role in “A Swingin’ Summer”, a film that earned her a contract with 20th Century Fox.
A year later Welch had a lead role in “Fantastic Voyage” which launched her as a star. Welch then went to Britain to star in a remake of “One Million Years B.C.” Despite the fact she said so little in this movie, it was this film that launched her appeal sky-high due to one publicity still. This poster went on to be one of the best-selling posters of all time, helping Welch become one of the leading sex symbols of the ’60s and ’70s. Welch was named “Most Desired Woman” of the 1970s.
After “One Million”, she appeared in “Bedazzled” . Then before returning to America she appeared in “Bandolero!” and “Lady in Cement.” Her appearance in the 1969 film “100 Rifles” marked another large milestone in Latino cinema, becoming one of the first films to ever feature an interracial sex scene between Welch’s character and actor Jim Brown.
Then in 1970 Welch starred in her own TV special “Raquel!” The special was made up for a variety of classic song-and-dance routines and took place in countries all around the world.
Welch went on to evolve into a singer, releasing a single and performing in a one-woman musical act in Las Vegas in 1987. She has also appeared on Broadway in the shows “Woman of the Year” and “Victor/Victoria.”
Also in the ’80s, “The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program” book hit the market. Welch also created a line of wigs called HAIRuWEAR
Welch’s accomplishments include winning a Golden Globe for “Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy” for her role in the 1973 film, “The Three Musketeers.” She also was nominated for another Golden Globe three years later for her performance in “Right to Die.” In 2007 she was chosen as the newest face of MAC Cosmetics Beauty Icon series. Welch’s line featured many items that were limited and packaged in a tiger-print.
Currently Ms. Welch is featured in Foster Grant sunglasses commercials. She has also recently published a new memoir called “Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage.”