Raquel Welch Has Died At 82

February 15, 2023 / Posted by:

We’re barely into 2023, and we have already lost yet another absolute legend. Heaven is much more charismatic, gorgeous, and glamorous today because Raquel Welch has died. Members of Raquel’s family tell TMZ that she died this morning after a short illness. She was 82.

Raquel Welch was born Jo Raquel Tejada on September 5, 1940 to parents Josephine Hall and Armando Tejada. Armando, who was Spanish, was an engineer from Bolivia. Raquel grew up in San Diego, CA, and knew at a very young age that she wanted to get into the business that is SHOW. Raquel won several local beauty pageants before graduating high school. After high school, she went to San Diego State College on a theater degree. Around that time, she married her first husband, high school sweetheart James Welch. They had two children together: Damon Welch, born in 1959, and Latanne “Tahnee” Welch born in 1961. She and James split in 1962, and one thing she kept in the divorce was the last name Welch!

Raquel did the weather at a local news station in San Diego for a bit before moving her and her children to Dallas, TX where she did some modeling. In 1963, she moved back to California, specifically Los Angeles, and began trying to make her Hollywood dreams come true. Raquel met agent (and future husband) Patrick Curtis, and they made a plan to turn her into a sex symbol. Their plan came true, obviously. AND HOW! Raquel was in TV shows like Bewitched and McHale’s Navy and the movie A Swingin’ Summer. When 20th Century Fox signed Raquel to a seven-year deal, they wanted to change her name to Debbie. What shit-brained studio exec thought that Raquel Welch looked like a Debbie Welch? Thankfully, Raquel slapped that request down, and she never became Debbie Welch.

Her first big break came when she starred in 1966’s Fantastic Voyage. And that same year, she starred in One Million Years B.C. Raquel only had three lines in that movie but talk is cheap when you deliver the amount of cavewoman glamour that she did. The image of Raquel in a historically accurate deer skin bikini became an iconic one and graced the walls of garages, locker rooms, and boys bedrooms everywhere. Fantastic Voyage made Raquel a star, and One Million Years B.C. made her an even bigger star.

Raquel went on to star in The Oldest Profession, Fathom, Bedazzled, Bandolero!, and The Lady in Cement. In 1970, Raquel played a transgender woman in Myra Breckenridge, which had an ALL-STAR cast including Mae West, Farrah Fawcett, John Huston, Rex Reed, Toni Basil, and Tom Selleck. It may have been a flop but it will forever live in my mind:

About ten years ago, Raquel did a Q&A after a screening of Myra Breckinridge at Film Society of Lincoln Center, and gifted the audience with a taste of her Mae West impersonation:

In the 1970s, Raquel played the title role in the revenge drama Hannie Caulder and also starred in The Beloved, Fuzz, Kansas City Bomber, The Last of Sheila, Mother, Jugs & Speed, The Wild Party, and The Three Musketeers. Raquel worked with Faye Dunaway on The Three Musketeers (and also won a Golden Globe for her performance) and later told a story about how everyone on set thought the two were going to go at it. But instead of giving those bitches a catfight, Raquel and Faye gave them a love fest. via The New York Post:

“My first day on set, Faye Dunaway comes over to me all dolled up, and she was so cute. She said, ‘Darling, I just want you to know, I’m a big fan of yours. But don’t you know, they’re all just waiting for us to tear each other’s eyes out. So let’s have fun with them,’” Welch told The Post in 2012.

“Everyone on set was going, ‘Uh-oh, here they come,’ standing there watching. And Faye gets out her fan and starts fanning herself, saying, ‘Darling, I adore your work.’ And I say, ‘Everything you do is genius!’ Everyone was so disappointed.”

Raquel made her Broadway in 1981 in the musical Woman of the Year, replacing Lauren Bacall. Raquel starred on Broadway again 1997 when she took over the title role in Victor/Victoria.

In 1982, Raquel was supposed to star in a movie adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row for MGM but was fired and replaced with Debra Winger after she requested to have her hair and makeup done at home before coming to set every day. It turned into a multi-million-dollar legal fight and ended with Raquel winning $10 million from MGM. via Deadline:

After trying to make peace by taking another role and being rebuffed by the studio then run by David Begelman, Welch hit back and sued MGM for $24 million.

Making headlines all over the world, Welch alleged in her suit that the studio had built the movie and its financing around her and then used the hair-and-makeup dispute as a way to get a younger actress in the hooker role.

The matter dragged on through the courts and appeals, but Welch ultimately was awarded a $10 million verdict in 1987 — which, of course, generated a whole new set of headlines for her.

Raquel may have come out of that legal fight richer, but it cost her roles. She was blackballed by the industry for a time. But she still graced our screens in Right to Die, Evening Shade, Trouble in Paradise, Torch Song, the Emmy-winning hit (in my head) Central Park West, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Seinfeld, Legally Blonde, Tortilla Soup, Spin City, American Family, and How to Be a Latin Lover.

Raquel was married four times including to James Welch, her agent Patrick Curtis, filmmaker André Weinfeld, and Richard Palmer. She is survived by her two children.

And now I leave you with Raquel Welch joining legendary forces with Cher to perform I’m A Woman in 1975:

Rest in peace, Raquel Welch.

Pic: Herbert Dorfman/Corbis via Getty Images

Our commenting rules: Don't be racist or bigoted, or post comments like "Who cares?", or have multiple accounts, or repost a comment that was deleted by a mod, or post NSFW pics/videos/GIFs, or go off topic when not in an Open Post, or post paparazzi/event/red carpet pics from photo agencies due to copyright infringement issues. Also, promoting adblockers, your website, or your forum is not allowed. Breaking a rule may result in your Disqus account getting permanently or temporarily banned. New commenters must go through a period of pre-moderation. And some posts may be pre-moderated so it could take a minute for your comment to appear if it's approved. If you have a question or an issue with comments, email: [email protected]

alt="drupal analytics" >