About this Famous Person
American actress, author and sex symbol
Published by : Tim DOWLING
Welch was born Jo Raquel Tejada in Chicago, Illinois, the older sister to brother James and sister Gayle. She is the daughter of Josephine Sarah (née Hall, 1909–2000) with English ancestry dating back to the Mayflower, and Armando Carlos Tejada Urquizo (1911–1976), a Bolivian of Spanish descent. Her father, an aeronautical engineer, emigrated from La Paz, Bolivia at age 17; her mother was American, the daughter of architect Emery Stanford Hall and wife Clara Louise Adams. Raquel was raised in the Presbyterian religion and continues to attend church.
As a young girl, she wanted to be a performer. Her first love and ambition was ballet, which she studied from ages seven to seventeen. She gave up ballet after her instructor told her that she did not have the proper body. While a student at La Jolla High School in 1958, she won the Fairest of the Fair beauty pageant at the San Diego County Fair.
She changed her surname to that of her first husband, James Welch, in 1959. That year, she played the title role in The Ramona Pageant, a yearly outdoor play at Hemet, California which is based on the novel Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson and Bob Biloe.
She reported the weather at KFMB, a local San Diego television station. Because of her heavy schedule at the time, she decided to leave her studies at San Diego State University (then known as San Diego State College). Her first marriage broke up and she moved with her two children, Damon and Latanne, to Dallas, Texas, where she modeled for Neiman Marcus and worked as a cocktail hostess, intending to move on to New York City from there.
- Category Actor