Raquel Welch Wasn’t Cast In A James Bond Movie, But Thunderball Still Launched Her Career

As Raquel Welch told it in her book:

“I was tested for ‘Thunderball.’ Producer Cubby Broccoli had seen my photo in a Life magazine layout called ‘The End of the Great Girl Drought!’ He called Jack Gilardi, my agent at GAC, and the subsequent buzz around town created so much excitement that it enabled me to bag a long-term contract at 20th Century Fox. But because of a technicality involving start dates and contract options, Fox put me in the sci-fi classic ‘Fantastic Voyage.'”

The Life Magazine in question was, incidentally, the October 1964 issue. You can read it online.

“Fantastic Voyage,” incidentally, was a sci-fi story about scientist who was shot and develops a blood clot in his brain. The only way to cure the ailment is for the U.S. and Soviet Union to pool their resources and put into practice a novel shrinking technology. They then shrink a team of scientists and their own personal submarine to microscopic size and inject them into the comatose scientist’s blood stream. The film was a notable hit, and feature some rather eye-popping special affects which won the film one of its two Academy Awards (the other was for its art direction). Welch played one of the miniature scientists and spent the bulk of the movie in a white jumpsuit, and had several scenes swimming through human plasma. She admitted she would have rather gone to a beach with James Bond:

“I was disappointed. Here I was ready to snuggle up to Sean Connery but was assigned to eight months floating through the human bloodstream in a wet suit instead.”

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