By Miriam Raftery
Photo, left: Racquel Tejada Welch in 1976.
February 15, 2023 (San Diego) – Famed actress Raquel Welch, an international sex symbol who also drew acclaims and a Golden Globe award for her acting talent, died today at her home in Los Angeles after a brief illness at age 82. She was a star of movies, TV and Broadway, but her childhood and first acting jobs were here in San Diego County.
Born Jo Raquel Tejada in Chicago, Welch moved with her family to San Diego when she was two years old. She grew up in La Jolla and began winning beauty pageants at age 14. While still in high school, she was named Miss San Diego – Fairest of the Fair – at the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar. She attended San Diego State College (now SDSU) on a theater scholarship and married her high schools sweetheart, and had roles in several local theater productions.
She later became a weather presenter for KFMB, the CBS station ion San Diego, before moving with her husband and two children to Dallas, where she worked as a model and cocktail waitress before stardom struck.