RAQUEL WELCH Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Raquel Welch                                                                           
Birth name: Jo Raquel Tejada                                                                 
Born: 5 September 1940 Chicago, Illinois, United States                                       
Raquel Welch (born September 5, 1940) is a Golden Globe-winning American actress             
who reached fame during the 1960s.                                                           
Welch, oldest of three children, was born Jo Raquel Tejada in Chicago, Illinois,             
the daughter of Josepha Sarah (nee Hall) and Armando Carlos Tejada Urquizo.                   
Her father, who immigrated from La Paz, Bolivia, was an aerospace engineer of                 
Spanish-Castilian descent; her mother was an Irish-American.                                 
Welch is a relative of the only female president of Bolivia, Lydia Gueiler                   
In 1942, Armando Tejada was transferred to San Diego, California. The family                 
moved to the suburb of La Jolla, where Welch 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 attending La Jolla High School ( Class of 1958 ), she entered             
San Diego State College on a theater arts scholarship. The following year she                 
married a high school sweetheart, James Welch.                                               
In 1959, Welch played the title role in the famous Ramona Pageant, a yearly                   
outdoor play at Hemet, California, which is based on the novel Ramona by Helen               
Hunt Jackson.                                                                                 
She became a weather forecaster at KFMB, 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, Welch 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 two             
films and in the television shows 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 (1966),           
which made her a star.                                                                       
On loan out to Hammer Studios in Britain, Welch starred in the remake of One                 
Million Years B.C.. After her appearance as Lust incarnate in the hit 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. Welch's first real starring role was in Myra Breckinridge with                 
Mae West. She took the role as the film's transsexual heroine in an attempt to               
be taken seriously as an actress, but the movie turned out to be a dismal                     
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. Playboy called her the "Most             
Desired Woman" of the 1970s. Ironically, despite her iconic sex symbol status,               
having acted in numerous films and been subject of countless magazine layouts,               
including Playboy, Welch has never appeared or posed nude. Welch was due to star             
in the 1982 adaptation of Cannery Row, but was fired by the producers only a few             
days into production (allegedly, she was taking too long to get ready each day).             
She was replaced with Debra Winger. Welch successfully sued, collecting a multi-million       
dollar award, but this effectively ended her film acting career until the mid-1990s.         
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 Central Park West and made                     
infomercials and exercise videos. While she never appeared on the show, her name             
was frequently used as an all-purpose answer on the game show Match Game. In                 
1987, she flirted with a pop singing career, releasing the dance single This                 
Girl's Back In Town.                                                                         
She has performed in a nightclub act in Las Vegas, and she has starred on                     
Broadway in Woman of the Year, receiving praise for following Lauren Bacall in               
the title role, and in Victor/Victoria, having less success following Julie                   
Andrews and Liza Minnelli in the title roles. In a 1997 episode of the comedy                 
series Seinfeld entitled "The Summer of George" Welch played a highly                         
temperamental version of herself, assaulting series stars Kramer and Elaine, the             
former because he fired her from an acting job and the latter because Welch                   
mistakenly thought that Elaine was mocking her.                                               
On July 18, 2007 Liz Smith reported that Welch has been invited to play Eva                   
Longoria's sexy aunt on Desperate Housewives. She joined the cast of Welcome                 
to the Captain, which premiered on CBS television on February 4, 2008.