The Coast News Group

Raquel Welch wowed Marines at fair

DEL MAR — Recent L.A. Times piece by Susan King featured Raquel (Tejada) Welch observing her 70th birthday and noted that she could be mistaken for a young 40. Very true.
That would be difficult because her son is 50.
When she played Ramona at the Hemet pageant she was learning to sing and act and that was irritable to other members of the cast. Harry Hofman, who was special events director at the County Fair, also had an interest in the affairs of the Ramona Pageant and it was his influence that won her the role.
Her reign as Fairest of Fair began on May 31, 1958 — 52 years ago!
She was elected Fairest by the near perfect score of five judges and the acclamation of a bevy of Marine recruits.
When County Fair officials surveyed the cavernous Marine Corps Recruit Depot auditorium they expressed concern it would appear near empty with only a couple hundred spectators. The Depot’s commanding officer assured them that would not be the case. Sure enough, several companies of recruits were marched into the hall that sunny Saturday afternoon with instructions to display their “ho rah” enthusiasm. They did just that when Raquel hit the runway. Even at her tender age her ambition was to be a tinsel town celebrity and she knew the importance of playing to the audience and particularly young Marines. They shook the building with approval.
Although her singing and acting ability was limited early on, Raquel’s goal was to become a great actress even while attending La Jolla high school where she was an outstanding student.