Raquel Brings Leather to New Heights
A beauty contest winner in the '50s, Raquel Welch was an aspiring actress who kicked around Hollywood for a bunch of years before being noticed. She even auditioned for the role of Mary Ann on "Gilligan's Island" and failed to get it. How she could ever have been overlooked is hard to figure out, but eventually she got the recognition she deserved.
Many people don't realize that Raquel traces her roots back to the Mayflower on her mother's side. On her father's side, she is of Bolivian/Spanish descent. Raquel is her real first name, and Welch the name of her first husband - the one she says was the best.
Basically building her career on leather outfits, Raquel Welch continues working in Hollywood to this day. Some of these shots may not have much (or any) leather, but they all have that "look." Raquel has specialize in that "look" throughout her career, and she excels at it and may even be said to have originated it.
Herewith, a look at Raquel's iconic outfits over the years, which invariably involved leather in some way.
One Million Years B.C.Raquel Welch shot to fame in "One Million Years B.C.," a 1966 film which she carried by prancing about in a leather bikini. Raquel didn't really want to do it, pleading "Please, please don't make me do the dinosaur movie," but the studio insisted, and it made her a star.
There wasn't much, if any, dialog. It was all about Raqueland her iconic leather look. Most teenage boys in the late '60s to early '70s had a picture of Raquel from this film on their walls or in their basement or out in the garage or, well, somewhere. Not a great film, but great shots of Raquel, who apparently spent days shooting promo stills for it.
|"One Million Years B.C." received a lot publicity|
|This is the famous poster shot that became a sensation in the 1960s.|
The Magic Christian"The Magic Christian" was based on the Terry Southern novel. Southern was the writer who penned "Dr. Strangelove," so there were high hopes for this film. Like many films of the period, though, it tried to do too much and lost its way.
The one standout, though, was Raquel Welch in a cameo as a whip-wielding dominatrix in charge of rowers of a pleasure barge. Nobody really remembers the film anymore, which starred Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr, but lots of viewers remember Raquel and her sexy leather outfit.
|With Ringo Starr in "The Magic Christian." Several slightly different versions of this follow|
Myra Breckinridge"Myra Breckinridge" was a disaster. The studio, Twentieth Century Fox, was facing a generational shift and lost its footing. Seeking to capture the youthful audience that was more interested in rock concerts and protests than standard films, it hired a young, inexperienced director in the hope he could infuse a swingin' 60s vibe to the hit Gore Vidal novel. Unfortunately, it didn't work, the film turned out to be an incoherent mess, and the film only managed to ruin the comeback of Mae West and the attempted breakout of Farrah Fawcett. Mae never really came back, Farrah had to wait long years until Charlie's Angels rescued her career from oblivion, and Raquel, well, she just marched on to her next film.
|Nice chaps, posing during the filming of "Myra Breckinridge" in front of poster of John Wayne's "True Grit" (1969).|
Random ShotsWhile "One Million Years B.C." opened a lot of doors for Raquel Welch, "Myra Breckinridge" closed many of them again. Still, she persevered and did some fine work in the early '70s, including lead roles in outstanding films such as "Hannie Caulder," "The Three Musketeers" and "Mother, Jugs and Speed." By the middle of the decade, though, the leading roles had dried up and Raquel turned to television movies. More recently, she has been a semi-regular on a string of television series, with the occasional movie role such as in the "Legally Blonde." It is a classic career arc, and Raquel has played it perfectly. Below are various shots, all from her heyday in the 1970s.
|"Fantastic Voyage" (1966).|
|"Mork and Mindy" (1979).|