Raquel Welch Biography (1940- )

Born Jo Raquel Tejada, Welch entered beauty contests as a teenager. She married at 19, but she and her husband divorced after having two children.

Raquel worked as a model, waitress, and television weather-girl, before making her film debut in 1964, with a small role in the Elvis Presley vehicle, ‘Roustabout’.

Increasingly famous as a sex symbol, after her scantily clad appearance in ‘One Million Years BC’ in 1966, Welch’s image was rarely challenged by later roles, which included ‘The Biggest Bundle of Them All’ (1968) and ‘100 Rifles’ (1969).

In an effort to shed her sex kitten image, Welch starred in the disastrous film adaptation of ‘Myra Breckenridge’ (1970), based on the intellectual and risqué novel by Gore Vidal.

She received a Best Golden Globe Award for her part in ‘The Three Musketeers’ in 1972, but failed to find much success in her subsequent projects, receiving little attention or respect in Hollywood after the failure of the 1976 black comedy, ‘Mother, Jugs and Speed’.

Despite mediocre film work, Welch continued to be regarded as a great beauty, and her career went on to include nightclub entertaining, and the Broadway musical ‘Woman of the Year’ in 1982.

She starred in the TV movies ‘Right to Die’ (1987) and ‘Scandal in a Small Town’, before returning to film with cameo appearances in the comedies ‘Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult’, and ‘Legally Blond’, in 2001.

She is a major activist for women’s rights and health issues, and has produced a fitness program as well as her own lines of wigs and beauty products.

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