Happy Birthday to an Icon: When Raquel Welch Was ‘The Hottest Thing on Wheels’

Random Musings


She may be best remembered for a revealing deer-skin bikini, but when LIFE Magazine profiled Raquel Welch in 1972, she donned roller skates instead. According to LIFE, the actress, who turns 75 on Sept. 5, was the “hottest thing on wheels,” throwing elbows and sustaining multiple injuries while filming the roller derby flick Kansas City Bomber.

The film, in which Welch plays a hardened derby star and single mother to a young Jodi Foster, may not have been a critical success, but Welch still believes it had something important to say. In a 2012 interview with GQ, when the Film Society of Lincoln Center was celebrating her body of work, Welch reflected on Kansas City Bomber’s depiction of gender relations in the early 1970s. “You have all those women out there, but the men in the front office are really running it,” she said of the…

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