Raquel Welch was born Jo Raquel Tejada in Chicago, Illinois.
She was cast in bit parts in two films and in the television shows Bewitched, McHale's Navy, and The Virginian, as well as on the weekly variety series The Hollywood Palace as a billboard girl and presenter of acts.
Raquel Welch's first featured role came in the beach film A Swingin' Summer, which led to a contract with 20th Century Fox.
She was subsequently cast in a leading role in the sci-fi hit Fantastic Voyage (1966), which made her a star.
Welch's most controversial role by far came in the notorious Myra Breckinridge with Mae West.
She took the part as the film's transsexual heroine in an attempt to be taken seriously as an actress, but the movie turned out to be a dismal failure.
Welch became one of the leading sex symbols of the 1960s and 1970s.
Her most memorable publicity still for One Million Years B.C. became a bestselling poster.
Playboy called her the "Most Desired Woman" of the 1970s.
Despite her sex symbol persona in films and countless magazine layouts, including one for Playboy, Welch never appeared nude in a film or posed nude for a magazine.