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Jo Raquel Tejada best known by her stage name Raquel Welch, is an American actress who reached fame during the 1960s as one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood.
Welch was born in Chicago, Illinois, the oldest of three children born to Armando Carlos Tejada Urquizo and Josephine Sarah Hall. Her father, who immigrated from La Paz, Bolivia, was an aerospace engineer of Castilian Spanish descent; her mother was an Irish-American 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, 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.
Raquel Welch as Loana in One Million Years B.C. (1966)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. She auditioned for the part of "Mary Ann" on Gilligan`s Island but lost out to Dawn Wells.
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 finally 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 hitBedazzled, 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.
Myra Breckinridge (1970)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 failure.
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. Despite her iconic sex symbol status and having appeared in numerous films and 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.
Playboy, December 1979She has also performed in a nightclub act in Las Vegas and has starred on Broadway in Woman of the Year and in Victor/Victoria, replacing Julie Andrews.
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.
La Jolla High School, La Jolla, CA
San Diego State College
Full Name at Birth
Jo Raquel Tejada
Armando Carlos Tejada Urquizo (immigrated from La Paz, Bolivia)
Josephine Sarah Hall (English-American)
Tahnee Welch (daughter) (actress)
Damon Welch (son)
Raquel Welch (born Jo Raquel Tejada; September 5, 1940) is an American actress and singer.
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==Raquel Welch== (born [[Jo Raquel Tejada]]; September 5, 1940) is an American actress and singer.
===She first won=== attention for her role in [[Fantastic Voyage]] (1966), after which she won a contract with 20th Century Fox. They lent her contract to a British studio, for whom she made [[One Million Years B.C.]] (1966). She had only three lines in the film, yet images of her in the doe-skin bikini which she wore became best-selling posters that turned her into a celebrity sex symbol. She later starred in notable films including [[Bedazzled]] (1967), [[Bandolero!]] (1968), [[100 Rifles]] (1969) and [[Myra Breckinridge]] (1970). She made several television variety specials. In late 2008, she became a spokeswoman for [[Foster Grant]]'s reading glasses campaign, created by [[Ferrara and Company]].
===Welch's unique persona=== on film made her into an icon of the 1960s and 1970s. She carved out a place in movie history portraying strong female characters and breaking the mold of the submissive sex symbol. She won a [[Golden Globe Award]] for [[Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy]] in 1974 for her performance in [[The Three Musketeers]]. She was also nominated for a [[Golden Globe Award]] for [[Best Actress in Television Film]] for her performance in the film [[Right to Die]] (1987). In 1995, Welch was chosen by [[Empire]] magazine as one of the "[[100 Sexiest Stars in Film History]]". [[Playboy]] ranked Welch No. 3 on their "[[100 Sexiest Stars of the Twentieth Century]]" list. In 2011, Men's Health ranked her No. 2 in its "[[Hottest Women of All Time]]" list.
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