There are those who say Raquel Welch is really fantastic-looking for someone who is 42. That’s not true. Raquel Welch is fantastic-looking, period. Though she brushes the compliment aside, she has been called the most beautiful woman in the world. Her vital statistics? She is 5’6″ and has an I.Q. over 140.
She was born in Chicago as Jo-Raquel Tejada, the daughter of a Bolivian-born immigrant who became an engineer. When she was two, the family moved to San Diego and later to La Jolla, where she went to high school. Early on, she was singing and dancing and acting in neighborhood theaters. She won a drama scholarship to San Diego State, where she married her high school sweetheart, Jim Welch. It was a short marriage, which begat two children.
Raquel became a tireless single working mother who fed her kids off bit movie parts. Her first film role of note was in One Million Years B.C., a 1966 epic that wasn’t nominated for much of anything. She went on to do some 30 other films, with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Jim Brown. She put together a nightclub act, did a few TV specials, yet many critics still didn’t take her seriously.
Then, late last year, her husband and business partner, French journalist Andri Weinfeld, helped land her a job on Broadway. She replaced Lauren Bacall for a short stint in the Tony Award-winning Woman of the Year. The critics raved and Bacall ranted. Raquel Welch was to be taken very seriously indeed.
We spoke with her in New York as she was nailing down the deal that would return her to Broadway. She wore leather and suede. We wore a dazed look. She was breathtaking and bright. After we finished a long talk about America’s role in El Salvador, we went on to other important topics. The conversation went like this:
PLAYBOY: What’s attractive in a man? What do you notice first?
WELCH: His face. It says so many things, even before the man himself says anything. Then I’ll watch the way a man moves, the way he carries himself. That’s more important than any individual part.
PLAYBOY: And the face is really the only individual part you notice?
WELCH: Well, maybe not just the face. My husband Andre has a great French ass.
PLAYBOY: What’s a French ass?
WELCH: Oh, generally high and round.
PLAYBOY: And what’s an American ass?
WELCH: Low and a bit droopy.
PLAYBOY: Okay, I won’t get up. What role, then, do clothes play? Do you notice what a man is wearing?
WELCH: Yes, I do, but their role depends on the man, Woody Allen, for instance, always looks like clothes are unimportant to him. He gives the impression that he’s making a token effort, but he’s not going to relinquish comfort. He puts incongruous things together—like tennis shoes with a tux—and there’s great humor in that, which says something very definite about personal style. In Woody’s case, it brings out maternal nurturing instincts in most women.
PLAYBOY: And it’s a look, right? Read the rest of this entry »