Jo Raquel Welch was an American actress best known for her work in One Million Years B.C. and the 1966 film Fantastic Voyage when she made a famous scene wearing a doe-skin bikini (1966).
Later, she appeared in several additional movies, such as Bedazzled (1967), Hannie Caulder (1971), and television variety shows. On Friday, February 15, 2023, Welch passed away.
Jo Raquel Tejada, the first child of Armando Carlos Tejada Urquizo and Josephine Sarah Hall, was born on September 5, 1940, in Chicago, Illinois.
Her mother was of English heritage, while her dad was an aeronautical engineer from La Paz, Bolivia. Jo Raquel has a younger brother named James “Jim” Tejada and a sister named Gayle Tejada.
She was given the name Jo Raquel in honor of her paternal grandmother. Lidia Gueiler Tejada, a cousin of Jo Raquel, was elected as Bolivia’s first female president and the continent’s second non-royal female head of state.
Jo Raquel Welch, who had intended to go from Dallas to New York City, returned to Los Angeles in 1963 and started going to film roles.
She connected with Hollywood agent Patrick Curtis, who later served as her personal and professional manager and assisted in making her a sex icon.
Curtis persuaded her to use her husband’s surname name so she wouldn’t be stereotyped as being of Latino descent.
Welch appeared in supporting roles in movies such as Roustabout (1964), A House Is Not a Home (1964) and on T.V. shows such as the Bewitched, McHale’s Navy, and The Virginian. She also appeared as a presenter and poster girl on The Hollywood Palace.
In 1965, Welch won the Deb Star and was discovered by the wife of producer Saul David, who suggested her to 20th Century Fox.
She signed a deal with the studio that comprised two floaters and five films over the following five years, thanks to Curtis’ assistance.
Welch insisted on using her true name, “Raquel Welch,” despite the studio’s considerations to rename her “Debbie.”
Welch had two children with her high school lover James Welch after marriage in 1959. They separated in 1964, but she kept his last name.
She later wed producer Patrick Curtis in 1972 and producer André Weinfeld in 1990, both of whom she later divorced.
She wed Richard Palmer in 1999; however, the two finally divorced in 2003.
Despite appearing in a Playboy photo shoot in 1979, Welch never underwent a full nudity shoot and refused to pose completely naked throughout her five-decade career.
Her daughter Tahnee Welch was shown in a Playboy magazine pictorial in November 1995 while completely bare.
Despite her status as a sex symbol in the 1960s, Raquel Welch’s personal life was completely different.
She made it clear that her on-screen character was not to be connected with her reputation for being understated and her dislike of attention in her personal life.
Welch claimed in her own words that she was not grown to be a sex symbol and that it was not in her nature to be one.
Instead, she claimed that her success as a sex icon resulted from a happy mistake, though she admitted that it was a pleasant and luxurious experience.