On February 15, local time, legendary Hollywood actor Raquel Welch died at the age of 82 at her home in Los Angeles after a long illness.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Welch was a hot Hollywood sex icon, no less influential than Marilyn Monroe and other former actors.
Raquel Welch, whose real name is Jo Raquel Tejada, was born on September 5, 1940 in Chicago to a Bolivian immigrant family and grew up with a strong desire to perform and dream of stardom.
She studied ballet for ten years at an early age, but was eventually forced to give it up because her body type did not meet the specific requirements of a ballerina.
At the age of 18, she was admitted to San Diego State University with excellent grades in acting, but gave up her studies early in her sophomore year when she entered into a marriage with her high school friend James Welch.
At the age of 22, Raquel Welch separated from her husband and lived alone with her two children, which was a difficult life. It wasn’t long before she met Patrick Curtis, and the course of her life changed forever.
Curtis is a year older than Raquel, but has been in Hollywood for a long time, not only because of his own efforts, but also because he has a famous relative: the great director Billy Wilder.
Under the care of Patrick Curtis, Raquel Welch quickly transformed from a single mother to a sexy girl, and also on his advice, dropped her original surname and changed her husband’s surname to Welch, the reason is that the surname Tejada is too strong Latin American flavor, not conducive to development in Hollywood.
She soon won the attention of Hollywood producer David Soul, who brokered a seven-year deal with 20th Century Fox Film Corporation and cast her as the female lead in the Fox sci-fi film ‘Fantastic Voyage’, which he executive produced.
‘Fantastic Voyage’ tells the story of five American brain surgeons who are shrunken, placed in capsules and infiltrated into the scientist by vascular injection to perform cerebrovascular surgery on him in order to save a defunct scientist whose life is in danger.
Raquel Welch is finally out of the limelight as one of the members of the science team in ‘Fantastic Voyage. Fantastic Voyage’ was a box office hit after its release, and Raquel Welch quickly became a household name in the United States and a first-rate Hollywood star.
Soon after, Hammer Films paid 20th Century Fox to second Raquel Welch to star in ‘One Million Years B.C.’, which depicted the story of primitive human savagery.
In the film, Welch played the primitive Loana from beginning to end wearing a set of animal skin bikini can cover the sensitive parts, fully showing the female health beauty and wild charm, instantly caused a huge sensation.
According to incomplete statistics, during the promotion and release of the film, at least 90 magazines across Europe used Raquel Welch’s ‘One Million Years B.C.’ stills as the cover of their publications.
After the film’s release in the United States in 1967, its movie posters were sold like wildfire, making Raquel Welch completely synonymous with the sexual liberation movement of the 1960s.
In the classic film ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ released in 1994, Tim Robbins’ character Andy had three posters on the walls of his cell, in addition to the classic posters of Rita Hayworth and Monroe, the third one was the bikini poster of Welch from ‘One Million Years B.C.’ in Welch’s bikini poster.
Near the end of the film, the reason why the warden will find Andy’s escape route, it is also through this poster.
Since then, Welch has made a number of films in Italy, including ‘Shoot Loud, Louder…’ with Marcello Mastroianni, ‘I Don’t Understand’ and ‘The Oldest Profession’ and ‘Le Fate’. I Don’t Understand’ as well as the platter films ‘The Oldest Profession’ and ‘Le Fate’.
The rest of the female stars in these two platter films also include Monica Vitti, Claudia Cardinale , Jeanne Moreau and Anna Karina and other big European stars, almost only Welch one from the United States, she has become a representative of Hollywood beauty in Europe.
However, compared to the previous generation of Hollywood sex icons exemplified by Monroe, Welch, who officially became popular with ‘One Million Years B.C.’, has a wilder, healthier side to her sexiness, which corresponds to the title of the memoir published years later – ‘Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage’.
Western society in the 1960s and 1970s was in the midst of dramatic changes, and Hollywood films could not stay away from them, but the specific how and which scenes were received fully reflected the individual differences.
In the 1969 western ‘One Hundred Rifles,’ Raquel Welch played a rebellious heroine who dared to defy Hollywood taboos when she fell in love with the African-American man Jim Brown; the following year, in the comedy ‘Myra Breckinridge,’ she played a gender-blurred transgender protagonist who was criticized by conservative groups. In the following year’s comedy film ‘Myra Breckinridge’, she played a gender-blurred transgender protagonist and was criticized by many conservative groups.
In 1973, Welch also won the Ballon d’Or Best Actress Award for ‘The Three Musketeers’.
However, as he aged into the 1980s, Welch was able to get fewer and fewer film deals and had to retreat to television most of the time.
In 1981, MGM Studios planned to cast ‘Cannery Row’ based on John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name, and had originally agreed to cast Welch in the lead role, but the company executives changed their mind before the start of shooting and cast Debra Winger, who was 15 years younger than Welch, to play the role.
Moreover, in order to shut up the mouth, MGM claimed that the reason for the temporary casting change was because Welch lacked professional ethics, deliberately played a big name, refused to attend rehearsals and so on.
Welch was outraged when her reputation was inexplicably tarnished. In the Hollywood environment at the time, most people would have chosen to take it lying down and let things go, but Welch, who has always had a strong personality, was not willing to back down and decided to take up the legal battle, even if she had to burn the stone.
This movie lawsuit lasted for years, but it was not until 1986 that the court made a final ruling, sentencing MGM to lose the lawsuit and pay $10.8 million in damages to Welch. The testimonies given by the relevant witnesses also clearly showed that the Hollywood studios at that time did have an unwritten internal rule that actresses over the age of forty were no longer eligible to be the female lead.
In the end, Welch won the case, but also because of the unspoken rules of Hollywood, attracting the secret boycott of the studios, it is difficult to get any good roles and good resources.
Raquel Welch, in her later years, still has a good way of looking good, having played supporting roles in films such as ‘Legally Blonde’, and spending the rest of her time working on her own beauty and wig brands, as well as being active in various charitable causes, and also disclosing her Bolivian descent, hoping to remind the world of Hollywood’s past discrimination against Latinos. The film is a reminder of Hollywood’s past discrimination against Latinos.
Divorced from her first husband at the age of 24, she went on to marry three times and divorce three times, including a five-year marriage to her uncle, Patrick Curtis.