As Raquel Welch Net Worth attested, was as smart as she was stunning. Welch carved out a lucrative niche before it became normal for celebrities to brand everything from lingerie to entire lifestyles; as her acting career slowed down, endorsements picked up, allowing her to live comfortably until her death in February 2023 at the age of 82. Welch’s sex icon status may have garnered international attention, but it was her savvy that kept her going for decades, despite the system’s best efforts to quiet her.
Despite studio warnings that her first name, “Raquel,” might be difficult for audiences to pronounce, Welch stuck to her original plan of using it from the start of her career and even after her divorce, keeping the surname “Welch.” This helped her avoid being pigeonholed into playing only Latina roles in Hollywood. When a prominent movie studio allegedly tried to ruin her reputation, she went up against them and won.
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What Was Raquel Welch Net Worth?
At the time of her death in February 2023, Raquel Welch was reported to have a net worth of $40 million. She has made a lot of money via her acting and presenting gigs, as well as from endorsements and smart business decisions. Foster Grant eyewear, MAC cosmetics, a HAIRuWEAR wig line, a jewelry brand, and a skincare brand all used Welch as their spokesperson.
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The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program book and DVD series featured and was created by Welch. Welch’s court victory against MGM Studios, which she won for $10.8 million, accounts for around a quarter of her wealth. According to The Los Angeles Times, Welch was replaced by Debra Winger in the John Steinbeck picture Cannery Row in 1980. Welch was allegedly let go by the studio because she refused to have her hair and cosmetics done at the studio, preferring to do it herself at home.
As Winger had agreed to a lower wage, Welch claimed that MGM had made up the tale to avoid paying her $250,000 fee for the picture. In 1986, after the case was decided in her favor, Welch joked that she had won more money from the lawsuit than the film had made at the box office. She also revealed that, despite being confident in her case, she had attempted to settle with the studio before going to court.
“Legal still wouldn’t budge an inch on their position. Every time, the problem was easy to solve. When they let me go, they should have compensated me by the terms of my pay-or-play contract “As she explained to The Washington Post. “Their legal fees exceeded the amount I had originally been offered in settlement. Because of the smear campaign waged against me, I felt compelled to take action.
I strongly believed in this case. When the final tally was in, I couldn’t believe how many points I had accumulated. I would have been satisfied with a victory merely to avoid the embarrassment of having to explain my dismissal from the picture at cocktail parties for the foreseeable future.”
“In their opening testimony, the MGM executives made me angry by claiming the reason I was doing this following through with the trial was that I was an actress over the age of 40, and generally actresses in that age bracket can’t get roles anymore,” she said, adding that the studio had given her a bad reputation in Hollywood, which was a contributing factor to the fact that she hadn’t worked in the industry for five years.
While Welch hesitated to use the word “blackball,” he acknowledged that he had been passed up for opportunities that others with his background and experience should have been offered. “During this time, I was only able to receive two serious job offers. One was cast as a vampire in a horror film, and the other as a Nazi anti-Semite. It was clear that I was not at the top of anyone’s list of potential employees.” After the lawsuit was settled, she was able to get back to work, and her iconic performance as a highly irrational version of herself in Seinfeld helped her get back on track.
How Did Raquel Welch Become Famous?
Jo Raquel Tejada, the future Raquel Welch, was born in Chicago in 1940 to affluent parents. Her father was an aeronautical engineer and Bolivian immigrant, while her mother was the daughter of renowned Chicago architect Emery Stanford Hall. Welch and her family relocated to California’s San Diego when she was a small child, and even then, the young girl had already decided that she would one day make a living as an entertainer.
She started taking ballet classes when she was seven years old and continued through her tenth year when she was advised she didn’t have the correct body type for the art form. It’s possible that ballet was the only field where Welch’s body posed an issue. She entered and won several beauty pageants as a teenager. She got a full ride to San Diego State University thanks to a drama scholarship, where she met and wed her high school boyfriend, James Welch (to who she later legally changed her name).
After making her acting debut in a San Diego theatre production in 1958, Raquel went on to become a weather girl for KMFB. Raquel and her children relocated to Dallas, Texas following her divorce from James, where she found employment as a cocktail waitress and a part-time model for Neiman Marcus. She quickly relocated to the Los Angeles area and began working with former child star turned agent Patrick Curtis to establish herself as a sex icon.
She made a splash in Hollywood almost once, costarring with Elvis Presley in the film Roustabout, and in 1965 she got a seven-year deal with 20th Century Fox. It was the 1966 films Fantastic Voyage and One Million Years B.C., especially the latter’s iconic image of Raquel Welch in a deer skin bikini, that propelled Raquel Welch to fame. A photo of Raquel Welch in her role as Ishmael in “One Million Years, B.C.”