She was a Hollywood legend and a an idol of the 1960s, when she was widely regarded as one of the most beautiful women in the world.
As unbelievable as it may seem, Raquel Welch is already 82 years old.
It’s true that there are stunning ladies in the world, and then there’s Raquel Welch. Definitely a class by herself.
On September 5, 1940, the world was introduced to Jo Raquel Tejada, the iconic actress and icon. Their mother was of English ancestry, but her engineer father was from Bolivia.
Welch was born into an accomplished family; her grandfather was a renowned architect, and her cousin Lidia Guelier Tejada made history as the first female president of Bolivia. She held this position from 1979 to 1980.
Raquel is immensely proud of her Hispanic roots, despite the fact that she is unable to express them through her language. Taking her first husband’s surname, Raquel Welch, obscured her Latina ancestry, which she kept hidden.
”I think language is very important to your identity and not having that … I sometimes feel isolated from that part of me,” Welch said in 2015 and continued:
”Yet I still feel very, very Hispanic. The essence of who I am is a Latina.”
Welch trained hard for ballet as a child, but her instructor warned her that she didn’t have the “proper body” for the art form.
But Welch was also quite successful in another way: she was a beauty pageant queen. At age 14, she entered a beauty pageant and went on to win the title of Miss San Diego.
“I was happiest in fantasy,” she told Rolling Stone in 1974.
“I wasn’t good at dealing with reality… I wanted a storybook life, to be Rapunzel and Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, all the beautiful ladies that wonderful men came along on their big white horses and dragged away. Which is not remarkable, a lot of kids grow up that way. But I decided it was gonna happen.”
She tied the knot with her high school boyfriend, James Welch, at the tender age of 18. They separated in 1961 after having two kids together.
Welch and her children Damon (born in 1959) and Tahnee (born in 1962) relocated to Texas when their parents’ divorced (born 1961).
But things weren’t what she expected when she got there. Welch was having trouble paying her bills, but she refused to give up.
Still intent on realizing her dream of becoming a movie star, she moved to Hollywood in 1963. There, she met her future husband, Patrick Curtis, a press agent. She eventually made him her manager and her husband.
Welch’s life was drastically altered after he met Curtis. First, he took his wife on a European marketing trip to highlight her best features, which included a voluptuous body and a seductive face.
The end effect was astounding; Welch became a minor celebrity overnight despite his lack of filmmaking experience. Next, Curtis arranged for his wife to have cameos in a number of movies, including Elvis Presley’s Roustabout (1964).
It wasn’t until the American science fiction picture Fantastic Voyage, in which Welch starred, that she really broke through to the public eye, two years later (1966).
A year earlier, as a cave maiden in One Million Years B.C., Welch had caught the attention of the public.
“I had made another movie which was a big step up for me (Fantastic Voyage),” she said during an interview with the Sunday Post in 2018. That “should have been released before One Million Years B.C., but the special effects delayed it, so I was the dinosaur lady first and the science lady second,” Welch said.
Even though Welch’s performance as a cave girl in One Million Years B.C. was legendary, few viewers recall the three sentences she spoke.
Instead, her fur bikini went on to become a genuine cultural icon.
“I had no other credentials as an actress outside of that one laughable line of dialogue: ‘Me Loana… You Tumak.’ It felt like I’d stumbled into a booby trap – pun intended. I’m a living proof that a picture speaks a thousand words,” Welch said.
Throughout the 1970s, Welch was a popular movie star, and she even had her own TV show, Raquel!, on which she performed musical numbers and hosted celebrities like Bob Hope, John Wayne, and Tom Jones.
They were all released in the 1980s, and they covered topics like yoga and working out.
And she did it with a line of wigs that did quite well.
In spite of this, the stereotype of Welch as a stunning bombshell stuck.
On Men’s Health’s list of the 100 Hottest Women of All Time, she ranked #2 in 2013. Only Jennifer Aniston managed to outperform Welch.
During her life, she married four different men.
None of the relationships she entered into were particularly stable. As she reflected about her marriages last year, she told Piers Morgan:
“I had real feelings for all of those men.”
“At the time I thought I was legitimately in love and that we could make a great life together, but it was not in the cards.”
Welch has been an example for aspiring young Hollywood diva stars for the past decade.
Kim Kardashian once did a picture shoot wearing a bikini reminiscent of one worn by Raquel Welch. And during an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, model Emily Ratajowski paid tribute to Welch by becoming her inner cavewoman.
Welch will turn 83 years old in September of 2023.
Kim Kardashian, despite all her plastic surgery, is no match for this stunning woman.
In a word, Raquel is extraordinary. The way she presents herself is fantastic!
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