Raquel Welch Says She Thought Burt Reynolds Was ‘The Hottest Thing’ When She First Laid Eyes On Him

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Raquel Welch says she was starstruck when she first met Burt Reynolds 50 years ago—even though she didn’t know who the young actor was at the time.

While Welch was one of the hottest movie sex symbols at the time, coming off of her fur bikinied role in One Million Years, B.C., she met her match when she met Reynolds in 1968.

After Burt Reynolds’ sudden death last week at age 82, Welch, 78, told People she had never heard of the actor when he was hired to co-star with her in the movie 100 Rifles because she was living in Europe at the time. Welch first met her future co-star while waiting for a private plane to take them to the film set in Spain, and she admits she was blown away by his good looks and ’60s swagger.

“The first time I laid eyes on him, he came strolling across the tarmac towards the plane and, well, he had a walk that was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. He was somewhere between a jock and a cowboy, which was just about perfect. I was thinking he’s just the hottest thing. And I haven’t even seen his face!”

Welch went on to say she had never seen a walk like that in her life. Later, as they shot their scenes, the actress says she wondered how she could stand out next to Reynolds, who was loved by the camera.

“I thought, ‘I haven’t got a hope in hell.’ I mean, nobody is even going to see me in this scene. You can’t take your eyes off him.”

Welch also recalled Reynolds’ “crooked smile and very naughty sense of humor.

“In my book, you can’t get much better than that,” Welch said of Reynolds’ magnetism.

“You know, he was like catnip, you couldn’t take your eyes off of him. And he pretty much owned everything that he was in.”

Raquel Welch and Burt Reynolds, two of the hottest and best-looking stars of their era, never had a romantic connection. But they did appear in several films together. In addition to 100 Rifles, the superstars co-starred in the 1972 police action comedy Fuzz and the 2005 comedy Forget About It.

Unfortunately, Reynolds’ recollection of their time together wasn’t as fond as Welch’s. In 2015, the Daily Mail published a passage from Burt Reynolds’ memoir in which he revealed that Raquel Welch was angry about his top billing in the movie Fuzz so she refused to work with him. Reynolds revealed he and his co-star had to work with doubles to shoot their scenes.

“So I’d come to work, and Raquel’s double would be there instead, with her back to the camera,” Burt Reynolds wrote. “I’d say my lines to her and the director would say: ‘Cut.’ As I was driving out of the studio gate, the guard would pick up the phone and say, ‘He’s leaving now’ — and then Raquel would go in and say her lines to my double. We made the whole movie like that, never together in the same scene. Put it this way: we don’t send each other Christmas cards.”