Born Raquel Tejada, on September 5, 1940, in Chicago, Illinois.
Welch entered beauty contests as a teenager, and worked
as a model, waitress, and television weather-girl before
making her film debut in 1964 with a bit part in the Elvis
Presley vehicle Roustabout.
Launched as a sex symbol after her scantily clad appearance
Million Years BC (1966), Welch was rarely challenged
by later roles, which included The Biggest Bundle of
Them All (1968) and 100 Rifles (1969).
In an effort to shed her sex kitten image, Welch starred
in the disastrous film adaptation Myra
Breckenridge (1970), based on the intellectual and
risqué novel by Gore Vidal.
Although for her part in The Three Musketeers (1973)
she received a Best Actress Golden Globe Award, Welch failed
to find success in her subsequent projects, garnering little
attention in Hollywood after the failure of the 1976 black
Jugs and Speed.
Despite mediocre film work, Welch continued to be regarded
as a great beauty, and her career went on to include nightclub
entertaining, the Broadway musical Woman of the Year
(1982), and the publication of a Total Beauty and Fitness
She starred in the TV movies Right to Die (1987)
and Scandal in a Small Town (1988), before returning
to film with cameo appearances in the comedies Naked
Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994) and Legally
Blond (2001) .