RAQUEL WELCH became an instant icon when she burst onto movie screens in the now-classic One Million Years, B.C. From this unforgettable beginning she went on to portray motion picture heroines in such films as The Three Musketeers (for which she won a Golden Globe Best Actress Award), 100 Rifles, The Last of Sheila, Fathom, Hannie Caulder and Mother, Juggs and Speed; the roller derby queen in Kansas City Bomber; the seductress Lillian Lust in the original Bedazzled; and the outrageous Myra of Myra Breckinridge.
In more than 35 films, Welch has shown remarkable versatility and staying power. She has starred opposite Richard Burton, Faye Dunaway, Robin Williams, Marcello Mastroianni, Mae West, James Stewart, Reese Witherspoon, Bill Cosby, Dyan Cannon, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, James Coburn, Alicia Silverstone, Burt Reynolds, Robert Culp, Harvey Keitel, Dudley Moore and Jodie Foster and has worked with such award-winning directors as Richard Lester, Herb Ross, Stanley Donen, Garry Marshall and Blake Edwards.
Not content to rest on her laurels, Welch made a remarkable leap when she took Broadway by storm in Kander and Ebb’s hit musical Woman of the Year. “We’ve never heard wolf whistles like that before on the Great White Way!” wrote Frank Rich in the New York Times. An unprecedented triumph, her run in the musical broke all records at the famed Palace Theater. And in 1997, Broadway warmly welcomed her back when she replaced Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria. She was praised by critics, and every night for the length of the run, the stage door was mobbed by adoring fans.
Welch once again reinvented herself as an actress of depth and sensitivity in the ground-breaking and multi-award-winning television series American Family for PBS, in which she starred as Aunt Dora, opposite Edward James Olmos, Sonia Braga and Esai Morales. And she exercised her comedy chops in guest-starring roles on Seinfeld and Spin City, and as a regular on CBS’ The Captain in a hilarious send-up of a fading sex symbol.
In 2007, she was asked to be MAC Cosmetics’ Icon Face, and the next year, at 67, she was named by People Magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world. She is the face and creative inspiration of the Raquel Welch Signature Collection, one of the best-selling wig lines in the world, and has been honored by the American Cancer Society for donations of more than $10 million in wigs to women undergoing chemotherapy.
And this year she adds “best-selling author” to her accolades, as her new book – Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage (Weinstein Books, April 1, 2010) – hits the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Publishers Weekly lists. Raquel Welch remains one of the great beauties of our time and one of our most delightful actresses. She is the proud mother of actress Tahnee Welch and internet consultant Damon James Welch, and makes her home in Los Angeles.