Raquel Welch’s Lookalike Daughter Followed In Her Mom’s Footsteps

1960s actress and sex symbol Raquel Welch passed away on February 15, 2023, at the age of 82. She will forever be remembered for her star-making turn in the fantasy adventure One Million Years B.C. — but to her kids, she was just mom. In an act of genetic good fortune, Raquel passed on her famous looks to her daughter, Latanne "Tahnee" Welch. But the bond between the pair has not always been tight — despite mother and daughter having led surprisingly similar lives.

Stardom takes its toll

Being a famous actress and a mother wasn’t always easy for Raquel. "When I'm running around the world and being Miss Sex Symbol and having this big career in film and everything and I'm running from place to place, I couldn't always be with my children when I wanted to be," she told Oprah in 2010. "Eventually, I could see that this was taking its toll on my kids, and it used to just break my heart."

Repairing their relationship

"I just started out realizing that I really needed to swim out to the wave," she continued. "I needed to take a lot more initiative and just keep letting them know that I wanted to be there in their lives with them, that I had something I could offer to them. Little by little, the disappointment or the lack of confidence they had in me melted away."

Coming in hot

Tahnee could tell you, of course, exactly what it was like to have a movie legend as a mom. She was born in 1961, a good few years before Raquel shot to fame. Following stints as a TV weather girl, model, and barmaid, Raquel's first significant part came in the 1965 beach party movie A Swingin’ Summer. This helped to land her a contract with 20th Century Fox. However, Raquel’s breakthrough came when she briefly joined Hammer Studios for a new version of Man and His Mate.

Iconic outfit

Retitled One Million Years B.C., the prehistoric adventure saw the actress sport a now-iconic furry bikini as she emerged from the sea. This particular image was undoubtedly one of the defining shots of 1960s Hollywood and established the actress as the natural sex symbol successor to Marilyn Monroe. But Raquel soon proved that there was more to her than just good looks.

A bedazzling performance

In fact, Raquel more than held her own against Dudley Moore and Peter Cook in the devilish comedy Bedazzled. She also landed high-profile roles in westerns 100 Rifles and Bandolero! But it was her supporting turn in the 1973 swashbuckler classic The Three Musketeers that finally saw her talent officially recognized. For that part, she went on to scoop a Golden Globe. Unfortunately, though, Raquel’s big-screen career wasn’t an entirely easy ride.

Trouble in paradise

She famously incurred the wrath of silver-screen legend Mae West on the cult flop Myra Breckinridge. Then, in the early 1980s, Raquel won a lawsuit against MGM after being abruptly dismissed from the production of Cannery Row. As a result of the legal proceedings, her reputation suffered, and she was branded a troublemaker. But then Raquel was just as renowned for her eventful love life as her Hollywood career.

A broken engagement

Although she walked down the aisle four times, Raquel headed for the divorce courts on just as many occasions. Her last husband was Richard Palmer. The Los Angeles restaurant owner, who was 15 years Raquel’s junior, was due to wed another woman when he first met the Hollywood star. After breaking off his engagement, however, Palmer ended up tying the knot with Raquel instead in 1999. The pair went their separate ways nine years later.

Husband number three

It was marriage number three that was Raquel’s longest — lasting for ten years from 1980. A French-American journalist and producer called Andre Weinfeld was the man who managed to capture the popular actress’ heart on this occasion. And in a chat with Closer Weekly, Weinfield later described himself as a champion for achieving such a feat.

Calling it quits

Raquel's second husband was the film producer Patrick Curtis. This allegedly proved to be the sex symbol’s unhappiest marriage, and she reportedly admitted to feeling manipulated by the man she once loved. So, after six turbulent years with Curtis, Raquel decided that she’d had enough and walked out on the relationship for good in 1972. She didn't have kids with any of these men, though.

Her one true love?

Interestingly, it appears as though Raquel’s very first husband was her one true love. And he was also the father of her children. The star began dating James Welch while she was studying at La Jolla High School in California. And in her autobiography, Beyond the Cleavage, the star recalled the incredible effect he had on her when the pair first met.

An instant connection

Raquel wrote, “I’ll never forget the day I came running up the steps to my American government class, and there [Jim] was. Whoa! Who’s that? He looked at me and smiled his crooked grin. It was [an] instant attraction. We were both 15... Here was a young man who didn’t ask anything much of me but showered me with the affection I was hungry for.”

On again, off again

But the pair’s relationship didn’t always run smoothly. Raquel continued, “We kept breaking up and getting back together again. By our senior year, Jim — who never took much interest in his classes — dropped out of high school altogether. I was devastated! I had just become an honors student when he bailed and went off on a tuna clipper to Peru! I thought I’d never see him again.”

A romantic reunion

Fortunately, the two did meet again — although by the time he returned from Peru, James looked very different. The actress wrote, “He was all tan and lean and muscled up from pulling those giant tuna nets aboard. He had also grown a rather dashing goatee and looked — for all the world — like John Derek in a pirate movie. Well, it was all over for me. I kept thinking [about] what beautiful children we could make together.”

Her parents weren't happy

Raquel was so smitten, in fact, that she ended up dropping out of college. And in 1959 she walked down the aisle for the first — but certainly not the last — time. Recalling their Las Vegas nuptials in her memoir, the star wrote, “His mother, Tahnee, was there with us at the ceremony. We had her blessing. My [mom] was less than thrilled. My father was furious!”

Refusing to settle

Raquel had to put her career ambitions on hold when she fell pregnant with her son, Damon, just a few months after tying the knot. Two years later, the star also gave birth to a daughter, Tahnee, named after James’ mother. But Raquel refused to settle for a life of domesticity, and by 1962 she and her husband were in very different places.

Leaving marriage behind

In her autobiography, Raquel reflected, “As things evolved, opportunities did come a-knocking from Hollywood, but I wanted to go to New York and do theater. However, Jim had his own ideas, and unfortunately, they didn’t include either option for me. The breach that grew between us over the next few years gave me the license to gather up my two kids and leave my hometown and my marriage behind.”

Painful regret

Raquel still had regrets about the decision that changed her life forever. She wrote, “My breakup with Jim remains the most painful decision of my entire life. For our children’s sake, I should have stayed.” The actress also acknowledged that the pair were “just too damn young” to cope with the trials and tribulations of married life at the time.

The love was real

Raquel didn’t have any misgivings about her frequent trips to the wedding chapel, either. She claimed in a 2015 interview with the Daily Mirror, “I don’t regret the marriages. I had real feelings for all of them. At the time, I thought it was love and we could make a great life, but it wasn’t in the cards.”

High-profile issues

Why did Raquel believe that things never worked out with her four husbands? She told the same newspaper that her high profile was often a major factor. The star said, “They were swanning around being married to Raquel Welch. I never did get it right. And a lot of men don’t like the fact that when we go somewhere I am the one who gets focused on.”

Jim was The One

Yet Raquel also reiterated how much her first husband meant to her. She said, “I know that often I look back and think of all four [marriages], and the lovers in between, and I say the one with the best character and the one I was most devoted to was Jim. That will never change.”

Going her own way

Raquel continued, “I told Jim I was going to go to Hollywood. He said he wouldn’t go to that town, it’s such a phony town. I suddenly thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I always thought he knew who I was.’ I suddenly realized [that] I couldn’t make him go. He doesn’t do what he doesn’t want to do. It was an epiphany... It was hard, but I felt I’d resent him all my life if I didn’t go.”

Like mother like daughter

Of course, James gave Raquel something that none of the star’s three other husbands did: children. Apart from a solitary acting credit on 1971’s The Beloved, their son, Damon, has largely stayed out of the spotlight. However, daughter Tahnee has followed in the footsteps of her famous mother in more ways than one.

Trying to catch a break

While Tahnee’s mother and father reportedly did everything they could to deter her from the showbiz industry, their talk perhaps inevitably fell on deaf ears. Tahnee went on to quit school, leave home and spend several years holding down dead-end jobs while attempting to land her big break. Sound familiar?

Success in Italy

Ultimately, Tahnee’s career only kickstarted when she relocated to Italy in the 1980s. It was there that she was cast opposite national icon Virna Lisi in the romantic comedy Amarsi Un Po. And the movie’s success gave Tahnee the impetus to further chase her dreams, meaning she returned to New York City with a spring in her step.

Hitting her stride

The move to NYC paid off, too, when Tahnee joined Hume Cronyn, Maureen Stapleton, and Jessica Tandy in Ron Howard’s box office hit Cocoon. She also showed up in its sequel and added to her list of Hollywood credits with roles in Sleeping Beauty and Lethal Obsession. And the young beauty even enjoyed a brief stint as Shannon Taylor in the long-running soap opera Falcon Crest.

Back to Italy

But Tahnee didn’t forget the country that helped to give her career a boost. In 1989 she showed up once again on Italian screens with a role in Disperatamente Giulia — a miniseries helmed by the legendary Enrico Maria Salerno. Then, two years later, she took top billing in another Italian comedy called La bocca.

On a roll

Yet while it seemed as though Italy would always hold a dear place in her heart, Tahnee switched focus back to her homeland in the 1990s. She racked up credits in I Shot Andy Warhol, The Criminal Mind, and Night Train to Venice. The actress was also cast in the TV movie Body and Soul before her final screen appearance of the decade in the 1999 short Pyrite.

Runs in the family

But as Tahnee’s profile grew, increasing numbers of people began to realize just how similar she looked to her mother. Many commented on the thin lips, striking eyes, and face shape that she appeared to have inherited from the Hollywood icon. And Tahnee often took full advantage of what her momma gave her.

Model material

Just like Raquel, Tahnee also enjoyed success as a model. She reportedly appeared in fashion shoots for several high-end publications such as Vogue and Interview. And in 1995, Tahnee posed for the same provocative men’s magazine as her mother had 16 years previously: Playboy.

Unlucky in love

Tahnee also appears to have shared her mother’s luck when it comes to love. In 1991 the actress walked down the aisle with Jared Harris, the English actor who would later achieve Golden Globe-winning success with his role in Chernobyl. After just five years together, though, the pair decided to split.

Italian lover

And Tahnee’s break-up with Harris wasn’t her first failed relationship with a fellow actor. Before meeting that British star, Raquel’s daughter had been romantically involved with Luca Palanca. The Italian-American first made a name for himself on the stand-up circuit but later landed roles in movies including Made in Brooklyn, Break, and Gerald.

Rocky relationship

Yet while Tahnee has regularly followed in her mother’s footsteps, the two didn’t always have the closest relationship. On Piers Morgan’s Life Stories in 2015, a tearful Raquel admitted that her family often played second fiddle to her career in earlier years. She told the host, “I can’t replace those times, and it hurts me... It’s hurt them probably worse because that’s their childhood and I’m their mother.”

Staying focused

In 2012, though, Raquel explained why she hadn’t been around so much. She told AARP, “When I first came to Hollywood, other people may have thought, ‘You poor thing. You don’t have a car, you have two children, what possessed you?’ But it made me focus. I didn’t know if I did right to leave Jim and thought, ‘This thing better work for me, and I better really keep my eye on the ball and be careful.’”

Proud mama

In her memoir, Beyond the Cleavage, Raquel revealed that she had a much closer bond with her two kids. She wrote, “Fortunately, my children and I have a good relationship, and they’re still my great joy. My son Damon became a computer consultant engineer, and my daughter Tahnee [is] a talented actress known for her role in Cocoon. They are a source of pride and hope to me because of the kind of people they’ve turned out to be.”

Great expectations

Nonetheless, there was still one thing that Raquel expected from them. She continued, “They have always grounded me and given me purpose as well as the moral courage to follow my better convictions. Now if they’ll just give me grandchildren, I’ll be complete. That’s an ambition of mine only they can fulfill.”

A new mission

And Raquel was doing her best to make up for the lost time. She continued, “I wasn’t impossible before, but in the past ten years I’ve made a concerted effort to think about what I have to do for other people, what I owe [and] what my part is in whatever relationship or situation I find myself in. It’s getting older, I guess, that makes you think that way.”

Branching out into new areas

So, what has Tahnee been up to since she seemingly lost the acting bug? Well, she has shown up on screen on at least one other occasion in more recent times. That said, the film in question doesn’t quite have the same cachet as the rest of her filmography… In 2016 Tahnee joined her Cocoon co-star Steve Guttenberg in 2 Lava 2 Lantula!

Forever glamorous

As for Tahnee’s mother, well, she took things easy as she approached her 80s. We last saw Raquel on the big screen playing Celeste in the 2017 comedy How to Be A Latin Lover. And pictures taken in the summer of 2019 captured her out and about running errands in Los Angeles proving that she remained just as glamorous as ever. News of her passing was hard for many to take.

Glowing tributes

Reese Witherspoon tweeted, "[Raquel] was elegant, professional, and glamorous beyond belief" when they worked together on Legally Blonde. And even Miss Piggy was quick to praise her one-time co-star. "Raquel Welch was one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever worked with," the Muppet tweeted. Other glowing tributes came in from around the globe, too. And to pay our own tribute to the late icon, we look back on some of her most breathtaking and misunderstood moments.

Unknown Year: A star is born

Welch adored acting, but she was more interested in ballet dancing as a youth. She even fell for her teacher, Irene Clark. “Then came the day when this ballet goddess broke my heart,” Welch wrote in her 2010 autobiography, Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage. “When I was 17, Irene told me that I would never become a classical ballerina. She thought I would make a better comedienne.”

1960: Doe eyes

Even from a young age Welch got attention from males, which she described in her book as “uncomfortable, but intoxicating.” Most of it was unwanted though, with guys making various advances and even trying to lure her into their car. Luckily she learned to fend off creepers, a talent which served her well throughout the rest of her life. 

1960: Starting out

Welch’s popularity gave her the edge in landing a job as weather girl for San Diego news channel KFMB. The actress wrote in her autobiography, “It was a popular morning show called Sun Up and a great opportunity I didn’t want to miss. So I didn’t mind that I had to rise and shine each morning at 5:00 a.m. and leave early to tape the show.” 

1960: Picture perfect

Of course, Welch became famous for her allure, both on- and off-screen. This was something she and Curtis purposefully played up to for her rebranding. A 1964 issue of The Journal News wrote a feature of her titled “Starlet is Seeking Sultry Roles,” in which Welch said, “I think I can fit into roles that ask for glamor, sultriness and sexiness.”

1965: Over-the-shoulder smolder

Raquel’s surname was actually Tejada, but Patrick Curtis — her Hollywood agent and future husband — didn’t want her unfairly typecasted. Instead, he recommended Raquel used the surname of the husband from whom she was separated. At his insistence she started using the stage name Raquel Welch, and several small TV roles followed her rebranding.

1965: On reflection

Welch attributed her famous figure to years of ballet training, but after the ballet, when she next stood on stage, it wasn’t as a stand-up comic. You won’t be surprised to hear that she found success as a beauty-queen contestant. The future actress won several titles, including Miss San Diego, Miss Photogenic, and Miss Contour. And unlike many other girls her age, Welch enjoyed wearing high heels!  

1966: Size does matter

That doesn’t mean Welch was content to be typecast in the stereotypical beauty role, though: she had her sights set on bigger things. “I want to play the girl with problems,” she informed The Journal News, “not the pretty dumb girl who lives next door. There are too many who fit the part around town right now. I’m not the Anne Bancroft type.”

1966: Through the lens

Welch’s sultry image actually went against the conservative values of her family upbringing. All the same, she later told the magazine Closer Weekly that she considered it a role, like any other in an actress’ arsenal. And Welch admitted to feeling more intimidated by the expectations of her image than anyone else was. She feared she wouldn’t live up to it, but she remained glamorous through it all.

1966: Sliding to success

You see, despite her outward confidence, the actress wasn’t always comfortable in her own skin. And there was a lot on show for the time period! In 1985 Welch told Barbara Walters that she occasionally felt vulnerable in front of the camera. Even so, Welch admits that she never felt pressured by Hollywood to conform to the image. It was all her, and she owned it.

1966: Blast from the past

Welch became famous for her portrayal as Loana in 1966, which was even referenced over three decades later in 1994’s The Shawshank Redemption. Critic Camille Paglia described Welch’s depiction of Loana as “the indelible image of a woman as queen of nature. She was a lioness — fierce, passionate and dangerously physical.” In that sense, she had universal appeal. 

1967: Almost a Bond girl

Along her way through the annals of Hollywood, Welch was almost part of an exclusive and iconic group of sex symbols. She nearly featured in the 1965 James Bond movie Thunderball as Bond girl Domino! In the end, Welch was given permission to drop out of her contract to star in Fantastic Voyage, and Claudine Auger claimed the role in her stead. 

1967: Bedazzling

Welch once told The Newark Advocate, “I really got nowhere, even in Hollywood, until I bought a few sexy, clinging, low-necked dresses. And I’ve never stopped working since.” In Beyond the Cleavage she elaborated, “The irony of it all is that even though people thought of me as a sex symbol, in reality I was a single mother of two small children!” 

1967: Hollywood royalty

Welch wasn’t a star student at school by any means. Like many young teenagers, swirling hormones saw to that. “Love distracted me from my studies,” she explained in her book. The subject of her affections was no other than James Welch, her future husband and father to her children. So at least Welch’s feelings weren’t misplaced!

1967: Welch waters

Did you know that Welch was just as fiery as the tough characters she played such as skydiver Fathom in the movie of the same name? She even defended her mother against her abusive father by threatening him with a poker! It was a defining moment in Welch’s life that made her realize just how strong she could be in real life. 

1968: Bullies

“After four husbands, I don’t think I’m a good candidate for wifedom,” Welch wrote in her autobiography. “I like my independence too much... A life of female servitude doesn’t appeal to me mainly because I saw my mother being taken for granted.”

1969: Life is but a dream

Speaking of music, the popular sex symbols of her time were Welch’s idols. She was particularly fond of Elvis and his music, which apparently dominated her record player. Although she was new to the world of romance at the time, Welch had a big crush on The King — much like everyone else of her generation. She even went to his first live concert! 

1969: Enchanting

Elvis wasn’t the only star Welch found enchanting. She was also fond of Marilyn Monroe, although her feelings were mixed on the subject. Welch wrote, “Marilyn oozed availability…. What troubled me back then was the fact that as hypnotic as Marilyn was to watch, she gave the impression of someone who could be easily taken advantage of and who couldn’t fight back… like my mother.”

1970: Cloud Nine

Fantastic Voyage was a surprising success, and Welch had an uncanny observation on the topic. “Since the ’60s, sexy girls always seem to end up in sci-fi features,” she wrote. “And they’re still doing it. Look at Jessica Alba and Megan Fox.” She was overjoyed with the success and hoped it would lead to “more challenging roles.” 

1970: Loose lips sink ships

Welch proved that she didn’t have to wear skimpy clothes to be sexy, as evidenced by her conservative naval uniform in the 1970s movie Myra Breckinridge. But her most iconic role revealed more skin. Even so, Welch didn’t think she’d be remembered for her role as cavewoman Loana in One Million Years B.C. History reveals she was mistaken. 

1971: Camera shy

On the subject of her Loana role Welch wrote, “In one way the image was very apt, because I knew I was going to have to fight to stay afloat in the most treacherous of identities — the role of sex symbol. There I was, stranded and easy prey in that desolate realm of overnight success. But I was nobody’s pushover.” 

1971: Cold comfort

Despite only having four words in One Million Years B.C., Welch performed admirably using only body language. Still, while the rest of the cast were wrapped in warm layers, the lead actress’ bikini did little to protect her from the freezing cold. She came down with a case of tonsillitis during filming because, she was told, “Cave girls don’t have parkas.” 

1972: She's the bomb

In 1972 Welch played roller-derby skater K.C. Carr in Kansas City Bomber, and apparently it was the first filming experience she genuinely enjoyed. She found kinship with the professional skaters with whom she worked, since they were labeled with a butch image just as people had preconceptions about Welch herself. 

1973: Cannery Row row

Welch was once embroiled in a lawsuit over the film Cannery Row which she only worked on for a few weeks! MGM apparently let her go for contract violation: Welch, then 40, did her hair and makeup at home instead of on set. The studio quickly replaced her with Debra Winger, who was 25 at the time.

1974: Ruling bodies

When she wasn’t offered a replacement role, Welch took MGM to court for contract breach and announced they used her image as a marketing tool for Cannery Row. So how did it work out? The court ruled in Welch’s favor and awarded her $10 million, yet the incident damaged her Hollywood reputation. 

1978: Comparing beauty

In 2015, Welch told The Hollywood Reporter, “I needed to clear my name. But since that time, I’ve never starred in a major motion picture. That’s not the outcome I was looking for.” Fortunately, there were other avenues of entertainment, such as the stage and even the small screen. Where else would Welch get the opportunity to meet fellow sex symbol, Miss Piggy? 

1979: Standing out

That’s right, alongside a well-received performance on Broadway in the show Woman of the Year, Welch made a decent career appearing on TV shows such as Mork & Mindy, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and The Muppet Show. She also showed her acting range in a host of TV movies. 

1979: Every rose has its thorn

Even though Welch’s court case gave her a prickly reputation in Hollywood, she wasn’t ostracized entirely. You might have seen her in 2001’s Legally Blonde as Windham Vandermark. If you haven’t been following her life outside of film, you may be interested to know she went back to her roots, in a sense. 

1981: Bearhug

Actually, the fitness community welcomed Welch back with open arms! After all, the actress always had to keep a slim figure to conform to the Hollywood sex-symbol ideal. And remember that she had a history in ballet. Well, she filled the hole in her movie career with a range of videos and books called The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program.

1984: Fit and healthy

Back in 1984 when she released her first book, Welch revealed some of her fitness secrets. She wrote, “The fact is that the mind and the body are interrelated. When [women] hear that I have given up salt, sugar, oil and processed food, they are aghast.” She described her style, which incorporated Hatha yoga, as “when East meets Welch.” 

1987: Governing body

Welch also used her reputation to its full extent by adding sex appeal to her book, and even got the U.S. Olympic male swimming team to assist! She conceived the idea during her aforementioned Broadway show Woman of the Year as an alternative to celebrity fitness guru Jane Fonda. Welch wrote, “I love Jane, but that book was sort of, well, tacky.”  

1988: Mind and body

In dropping the name Jo, Welch had subconsciously moved closer toward her Latina heritage. During her life, the actress felt detached from her roots, especially since she only spoke a little Spanish. According to Fox News in 2017, Welch said, “I think language is very important to your identity and not having that... I sometimes feel isolated from that part of me.” 

2001: Blondes have more fun

Welch’s first marriage dissolved, but things worked out for her ex-husband James. They remained on friendly terms too. But Welch didn’t give up on marriage. She wed three other times — her relationship with Patrick Curtis began in 1961 and ended in 1972, while Welch’s decade-long marriage to Andre Weinfeld started in 1980. 

2002: Slice of life

Welch stated that her five-year marriage to Richard Palmer in 1999 would be her last. But she remained vibrant and outspoken until the end. Welch learned so much throughout her life and 50-year career in Hollywood and shared much of it in her book. She summed it up succinctly at the end of the first chapter of Beyond the Cleavage.

2014: Dressed to kill

Welch wrote, “I’ve noticed a tendency in my gender to underestimate the value of being a member of the female sex. I’ve fought that tendency in myself, and have come to adopt a more positive and empowering attitude toward the art of being a woman.”