Raquel Welch, Ultimate '60s Sex Symbol, Then And Now

By Cyn Felthousen-Post
Left: Raquel Welch with Robert Culp in 'Hannie Caulder' (1971). Right: In 'Bluebeard' (1972). Source: IMDB

What's the definition of a 20th-century sex symbol? Raquel Welch works. The actress has been spicing up the screen since the mid-'60s, charming audiences and fans with her fur bikini in One Million Years B.C. Her movies have not all been critically acclaimed, but her presence in them has always been magnetic -- Fathom, Bedazzled, Bandolero!, 100 Rifles, Myra Breckinridge, The Magic Christian, Kansas City Bomber -- these high-profile late-'60s and early '70s movies have faded into obscurity, but at the time they established Welch as the day's pre-eminent screen temptress. 

Jo Raquel Tejada aka Raquel Welch was born on September 5, 1940 to Armando Carlos Tejada Urquizo and Josephine Sarah Hall. Her father was of Bolivian descent while her mother’s family originated from England, dating back to the Mayflower.

From an early age Raquel Welch knew that she wanted to be a performer. She attended ballet classes from the age of seven until she was seventeen, when her teacher advised her that her body shape was not suitable for a career in ballet.