Raquel Welch Was a Hilarious Menace on ‘Seinfeld’
Raquel Welch, iconic star of Fantastic Voyage and One Million Years, B.C., passed away today at the age of 82. While many remember Welch for her 1970s sex symbol status, she was supremely funny as well. Not many big Hollywood stars would be willing to play themselves as a villain for laughs, but Welch did one hell of a heel turn in the Season Eight finale of Seinfeld.
It all takes place on the first day of the Summer of George. Kramer has a gig as a seat-filler at the Tony Awards, and unfortunately for one of the restroom-visiting producers of Best Musical Scarsdale Surprise, Kramer finds himself on stage accepting the trophy in their place. Rather than being angry, the producers are willing to let Kramer keep the Tony — but on one important condition: He has to fire Raquel Welch.
The problem? “She’s a trainwreck,” cries one of the producers. More specifically, she performs in a big production number, “but Raquel Welch doesn’t move her arms when she tap dances.” The producers would fire Welch themselves, but they’re absolutely terrified of her. Kramer tells Jerry a story of what happened when they cut one of Welch’s lines — she climbed a rope on the side of the stage and started dropping klieg lights on peoples’ heads. But what can Kramer do? If he’s keeping the Tony, he’s got to try.
It’s not going to be easy, though. Kramer finds Welch in her dressing room mid-phone call, and she sounds pretty scary. “If you bring it up again,” she tells whoever’s on the other line, “I will feed your genitals to a wolf.” A frightened Kramer hems and haws before finally telling Welch that she’s canned. He almost makes it out of her dressing room before she grabs him by the neck for a severe beatdown.
But Kramer isn’t the last of the Seinfeld crew to get a thrashing from Welch. Later on the street, Elaine is complaining to a couple of cops about another woman who doesn’t move her arms when she walks (it’s Molly Shannon, but that’s another story). As Elaine demonstrates the stiff-armed stride, she runs into Welch, who assumes Elaine is ridiculing her. “What the hell is that?” she growls. “Are you making fun of my dancing?”
While Elaine marvels at meeting such a celebrity, Welch hurls her purse to the ground. “That’s it,” she says, grabbing Elaine by the shoulders. “You’re going down.” Beatdown #2!
Kramer and Elaine, the two bruised-and-battered pals, meet up with Jerry, faces scarred and Tonys broken. “The woman is a menace,” whimpers Kramer. All in all, an inauspicious start to the Summer of George. But was she truly evil?
“It can be cathartic to play such a horrible ball-breaker,” Welch once told Men’s Health. “But I thought of her more as a diva than a villain.”
Spoken like a true diva.