Happy 81st Birthday Raquel Welch!
What an iconic photo – Raquel Welch wearing the American flag – an incredible image from an Actress who has had an amazing career that should be appreciated more!
September 5th is Raquel’s 81st birthday – she is a national treasure for all the reasons I am about to share!
First, where is all began: she was born Jo Raquel Tejada on September 5, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois, the first of three children born to Bolivian Armando Carlos Tejada Urquizo, an aerospace engineer, and his Irish-American wife Josephine Sarah Hall.
She grew up in San Diego, was a TV “weather girl” there, did modeling, married and divorced, and ended up in Hollywood in the mid-6o’s, where she had a variety of small parts before the “Reign Of Raquel” kicked in!
“Introducing Raquel Welch, the amazing star discovery of this, or any year!”
What a way to make your major motion picture debut – with a trailer making that proclamation, – and wearing THIS!
Raquel Takes Over The World!
All it took was one role – and one costume – to turn Raquel into the most popular Pin-Up Model in the world!
The Best Selling Pin-Up Of The 60’s!
This image, of Raquel in an animal skin bikini, was the best-selling pin-up poster of the 60’s, and turned her into an international star – a picture that was taken originally from the set of her first movie, the smash hit “One Million Years B.C.”
One Million Years B.C.
The movie was a massive hit, and she was as big a selling point as the dinosaurs!
Narrator: This is a story of long, long ago; when the world was just beginning.
Check out the trailer that proclaims, “Introducing Raquel Welch, the amazing star discovery of this, or any year!”
And it included such memorable dialogue between Raquel and her co-star:
Loana: [pointing to Ahot] Ahot.
Ahot: [pointing to himself] Ahot.
Loana: [pointing to Ahot] Ahot.
[pointing to herself]
Yes, this is dialogue from the movie. But it didn’t matter, as it catapulted Raquel to stardom, and she followed up with a wide variety of roles that showcased both her beauty as well as her acting ability…and for awhile, her bikinis!
She had quite a string of hit movies, including the smash hit “Fantastic Voyage” – about Scientists who are shrunk down and go inside the human body!
This was a rare mis-step for Raquel at the time: “Myra Breckinridge” was a controversial film about the lead character, who had a sex change…apprently no one wanted to see Raquel that way!
She didn’t have a good experience on this western either, and it was just a few years later she would end up in a film with Burt Reynolds again:
This is an action comedy from 1972. Police in Boston search for a mad bomber trying to extort money from the city. The cops in charge of finding this “mad bomber” are Burt Reynolds, Raquel Welch and Tom Skerritt.
Check out the vintage trailer:
According to IMDB, Raquel did not like Reynolds because of unsavory comments he made while they were filming “100 Rifles” together.
So, in this movie Welch insisted that she not have any direct scenes with Reynolds. The closest they get is during the interrogation. Even when in the same room they never have direct eye contact!
Raquel also starred in the 1971 western “Hannie Caulder”, a gritty revenge thriller.
A few years later, she starred in one of my favorite films of all time:
“The Last Of Sheila!”
One of her best films is this classic murder mystery from 1974…an all-star cast and a razor sharp script from Composer Stephen Sondheim and “Psycho” star Anthony Perkins!
if you haven’t seen this film, it is amazing! See the trailer and more about the film here:
One of Raquel’s biggest hits was also one of the most blatant:
Mother Jugs & Speed!
Raquel starred with Bill Cosby and Harvey Keitel..this goofy comedy had a very simple plotline: A new law says that the first ambulance that arrives at an accident obtains the contract to transport the injured person. The result is ruthless competition between several companies. Raquel showed up to look pretty and live up to the title…
It was a good example of the raucous comedies of the 70’s – she played Jugs and had this to say about “Speed”:
Tony Malatesta: “They don’t call me Speed for nuthin’.”
Jugs: “Well, let’s hope they don’t call you Speed for everything!”
There are many more from that era – but as the 80’s arrives, she moved into more TV work, but has continued to work in the decades since, including in one of the great TV sitcoms of all time!
Raquel Kicks Kramer’s Ass!
Raquel was an under-rated comedic Actress: I loved her cameo on “Seinfeld” when she gets into a “c-c-c-catfight” with Elaine!
Happy 81st birthday to this legendary Icon – and bravo to Raquel for still giving us so many great movies and TV shows to enjoy!
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Let me know your favorite Raquel role!