The Story Behind Raquel Welch’s Most Controversial Photo

March 20, 2023
back to news
Terry ONeill Raquel Welch on the Cross Los Angeles 1970 featured

The late Raquel Welch left behind an incredible legacy as an actor, starring in countless cult classics, as well as winning a golden globe for her role in The Three Musketeers. However, there is one role and one outfit that perhaps defines her most.

Despite only having three lines in the film, Raquel Welch is arguably most famous for her role as Loana the Fair One in the 1966 Hammer film One Million Years BC, and almost every obituary of an actor who had an exceptionally eclectic career starts by mentioning this film and her fur bikini.

The poster and accompanying pin-up photograph was taken by a unit photographer who to this day has not been identified despite becoming such a famous image.

However, there was another publicity shot taken that was amongst the most controversial of Terry O’Neill prints, and was ultimately only seen over three decades later.

The photograph, known as Raquel Welch On The Cross, was an artistic and personal statement for both Raquel and Terry, made at the turning point of the 1960s when the old conservative ways were giving way to a sexual revolution that Raquel Welch would become one of the faces of.

Despite this, Ms Welch was shy and worried about being filmed in the fur bikini, worried that she might be crucified in the press for it. Mr O’Neill quickly asked 20th Century Fox to set up a crucifix, and he got to work taking several photographs from many different angles.

The picture is a metaphor for being trapped and strung up by the press, particularly at that time as they believed she only had the career she had because of her looks.

Ultimately, Mr O’Neill, being raised Catholic, was worried that people would read the photograph not as the piece of feminist art it is seen as now but as blasphemous and did not publish the photos until much later.

Share this...