Raquel Welch stars in One Million Years B.C in 1966
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Overnight, Raquel Welch, the legendary American actress and model, was confirmed dead. The star had suffered a “brief illness” and died “peacefully” on the morning of Wednesday, February 15, 2023. She was 82-years-old. While she conquered the silver screen throughout her time in Hollywood in such massive pictures One Million Years BC, Bedazzled and 100 Rifles to name a few, she did have one major regret. She never got to become a Bond girl.
Throughout the 1960s, Sean Connery embodied James Bond across six movies with countless Bond girls on his arm. And, considering Welch was the biggest sex symbol of the 1960s, it would have only made sense for her to join the series, as well.
And there was a time when she was destined to become a Bond girl, as well. In Connery’s 1965 007 movie, Thunderball, he went up against Domino, a femme fatale that began her journey attacking the hero before switching sides.
Welch recalled in her 2010 memoir, Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage, that Bond bosses wanted her to play Domino.
She penned: “I almost became a Bond girl! I was tested for Thunderball. [Bond boss] Cubby Broccoli had seen my photo in a ‘Life’ magazine layout called ‘The End of the Great Girl Drought!'”
Before long, the Bond bosses had contacted Welch’s managers and arranged a meeting.
Welch wrote: “The subsequent buzz around town created so much excitement that it enabled me to bag a long-term contract at 20th Century Fox.”
Unfortunately, this ended up being the beginning of Welch’s downfall.
She continued: “Because of a technicality involving start dates and contract options,” she added. “Fox put me in the sci-fi classic Fantastic Voyage [instead of Thunderball].”
Fantastic Voyage was a 1966 movie that Welch starred in alongside Stephen Boyd and Donald Pleasence. The picture involved a submarine crew being shrunk to a microscopic size before exploring the human body from the inside.
While Fantastic Voyage ended up becoming a cult hit – earning a staggering $12 million (approximately $110 million in 2023) at the box office on a meagre $5 million budget – Welch confessed the role did not fulfil her.
Welch explained in her memoir she was “disappointed” at losing out on joining the James Bond history.
“Here I was ready to snuggle up to Sean Connery,” she bemoaned. “But was assigned to eight months floating through the human bloodstream in a wet suit instead.”
Although Welch and Connery never worked together on Thunderball – or any other James Bond movie – rumour has it they met up later on down the line.
The two Hollywood superstars were reportedly involved in a sordid tryst together (Via Purple Clover). Things never went further than that, though, as Connery later married Micheline Roquebrune, with whom he stayed until his death in 2020.
Welch married four times throughout her life. And in 2011 she vowed that she would never tie the knot again.
She said: “I’m just not suited for it any longer. I love men and I love their company, but I am too independent and self-motivated.” She added that she would be happy to continue seeing men, but anything more she was not interested in.
She confessed: “I’m willing to date but, quite frankly, there is a diminishing group of eligible people at my age. I don’t mind the traditional roles of male and female but, as you can tell, I am a very strong-minded woman. I’m sure I would be a challenge for an awful lot of men. They wouldn’t want to deal with it or, if they would like to deal with it, maybe I’m just not that interested.”
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