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DVD box set contains 3 Welch films

Collection features her big break in movies

SHARE DVD box set contains 3 Welch films

Raquel Welch looks as glamorous as ever but says she has to work to stay that way.

She stressed the importance of beauty in her career.

"I'm constantly on a diet. It's my job," Welch said. "I don't think anyone can say I'm the next Meryl Streep."

But Welch has shown she's intrigued by good characters.

Several movies featuring her characters — "Bandolero!" (1968), "Fathom" (1967) and "Mother, Jugs & Speed" (1976) — are on "The Raquel Welch Collection," a DVD box set that came out in March from Fox Home Entertainment.

The set, which is priced at $49.98, also features her big break in Hollywood, "One Million Years B.C." (1966) and Mae West's last movie, "Myra Breckinridge" (1970), in which Welch played the title character.

Welch's favorite characters include Constance de Bonacieux from "The Three Musketeers" (1973), but that's a Warner Bros. movie, so it's not part of this set.

The set is being released as Welch recovers from an August car crash in Los Angeles. "I had a very serious accident; it shattered my arm. It had to be rebuilt," Welch said. "I've got two metal plates."

But she's now well enough to act — on the small screen in "American Family" and on the big screen in an upcoming movie with Burt Reynolds, "Forget About It."

Welch will return as crazy Aunt Dora when "American Family" begins its second season April 4 on PBS. Dora is the sister of Jesse Gonzalez, played by series star Edward James Olmos. "Gregory (Nava) says he has an aunt like that," Welch said about the executive producer, director and writer of "American Family"; Nava also wrote and directed "Mia Familia" and wrote "Frida."

Welch said she can relate to Dora. "I have a romantic nature (like Dora has)," she said. "I have a feisty nature, and she's very feisty . . . . We have some funny episodes."

Welch, who guest-starred on Reynolds' 1990-94 sitcom, "Evening Shade," said she's glad to be working with him again in "Forget About It," set for a 2005 release. "He's got a great sense of humor. I've had a crush on him for years. I play his ex."

Welch also has been busy on the stage. "I loved doing 'Woman of the Year' on Broadway and singing and dancing," she said.

In looking back at her movies, Welch noted the difficulties in shooting "One Million Years B.C." For one thing, she wore that famous fur bikini on a cold location shoot.

" 'One Million Years B.C.' was not so much fun," Welch said. "Everybody was so nice, but it was so cold in the mountains where we filmed."

Welch said she found more enjoyment working on "Three Musketeers" and liked the film's characters.

When asked about another of her famous films, the sci-fi flick "Fantastic Voyage" (1966), she said simply, "That was a special-effects movie."

Dave Mason writes for the Ventura (California) County Star. E-mail: dmason@VenturaCountyStar.com