This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," August 12, 2005, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: When you think of Hollywood legends or at least when I think of Hollywood legends, my next guest really comes to mind. She's a Golden Globe (search) winner, she's a Broadway star, and did I mention, she is — oh gosh — she is a knockout. On Saturday, actress Raquel Welch (search) will be honored by the Vietnam Veterans of America for entertaining the troops with Bob Hope (search) back in 1968.
From Los Angeles I am happy to introduce actress Raquel Welch.
Good to have you.
RAQUEL WELCH, ACTRESS: Hi, Neil. A pleasure to be here.
WELCH: I am a fan of your show. I catch it in the afternoons sometimes.
CAVUTO: No way. You no more watch my show than the man on the Moon.
WELCH: I do. I actually do. Oh absolutely I do.
CAVUTO: That's so cool.
WELCH: I see all your interviews and everything. Do you think I would have said yes if I didn't know what I was getting into?
CAVUTO: There you go. You know, I know you don't hide your age.
WELCH: Oh, really?
CAVUTO: You are 65 years old. There is no way. No way.
WELCH: Not yet, don't push it.
CAVUTO: So 64?
WELCH: Not until September.
WELCH: But, yes, I am. I am close to being 65 years old. And that is why I was one of those entertainers who was able to go over, had the good fortune to go over to Vietnam and see some of the amazing soldiers over there. You know, some of them, when I went over with Bob Hope for the USO tour, they were just barely shaving. They were in their late teens. There were some women also, too, men and women, and I just feel very privileged to have had that experience because I didn't really know what I was going to get into at the time. I just figured if Bob Hope was doing it, it had to be ok.
CAVUTO: Well, obviously you know, it was dangerous for you to do it, and you did it. And I know one of the people you met was then a very young soldier by the name of Tommy Franks.
WELCH: I know. Isn't that amazing? I didn't know that that was in the cards. You know, and for years and years, I saw it was just a couple of years ago I was at the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C., and somebody said, there is someone really important who would like to meet you. And I sort of like made my way through the crowd and there was this very tall, elegant, distinguished looking man in uniform with a load of medals on his shoulder. And I said, wow, you know. And he leaned over to me and said, I don't know if you remember me, but I remember you. And isn't that sweet?
CAVUTO: Well, he never forgot it. I guess the story was that he felt that you lifted all of the men's spirits. It came at a time when a lot of entertainers would not join Bob Hope because they were concerned about their safety. Why did you go?
WELCH: Well, to tell you the truth, I think part of it was Bob. But I think the other part of it is that, you know, I grew up in a time where my mother's generation was from the Depression and there was just a code of behavior, a kind of standard of loyalty that was built into me. I group up as a kid, I was born in 1940, so you could think World War II and I came in the door together. But I had this feeling that not to support the troops, not to be part of a good message to our team was kind of unconscionable.
So I did it kind of in that way. But they touched my heart so much when I got there. They were the best audiences in the world. And you could really see that here these guys were that were in their late teens and suddenly they are required to be men. And in a way, I'm glad that I had this opportunity to draw attention to them because I feel like they really got a kind of bum wrap.
CAVUTO: Yes. I think you had said years later that it wasn't so much whether you were for or against the war, but you had to be for the troops. Do you think the same applies to our solders in Iraq today?
WELCH: I do so much. And I think that if the guys in Vietnam, whether they were drafted or whether they enlisted, you know, that they left a legacy of commitment and courage and heroism that has been carried over to our troops in Iraq today. Think of what would have happened if they didn't participate, they didn't rise to the call of duty? We would have barely anyone out there to protect us.
I think that this is always a question of when you are alive at a certain moment you do leave a memory, you do leave something behind. You set an example. And I think these men and women set an extraordinary example.
CAVUTO: Yes, but Raquel, you didn't get into the political heat that, let's say, Jane Fonda did and does today. She is doing this tour around the country to protest the Iraq war. What do you think of that?
WELCH: Well, I like Jane Fonda very much as an actress. I think she is an extraordinary actress. I think she's a beautiful woman. I don't agree at all with her stance or with her timing. I feel that, you know, as a member of the '60s generation, this was a generation which was like a protesting generation. And it hurts the guys very, very much.
When they were in the trenches under fire and then later on when they came home, they were insulted, they were treated with cruelty, when they came back home to the country that they just fought for. And you have to think.
CAVUTO: Do you think there is a danger that our Iraq soldiers are going to experience that? I mean, many, not all, I should stress, by far not all.
WELCH: No, not as many.
CAVUTO: But many in the Hollywood community have criticized this war. Does that get back, do you think, to the men and women?
WELCH: So much so. That is what I learned when I went to Vietnam. They heard every single newscast. They heard every derogatory thing about what they were doing. And here is the thing, we all value our privileges. And among them, free speech. But it is kind of a terrible paradox when the same rights that they fought for, this free speech, the freedom, is turned around and used against them.
That seems to me unconscionable. It seems to me unfair. And if you have any sense of fairness in your heart, I don't know how you cannot support the troops. I don't know how you can speak out against somebody when they are in the line of fire. I don't mean you can't disagree in a way, but I think it is the manner in which you do so and how far you go with it. You know, going over and visiting the.
CAVUTO: Yes. Well, you did you a lot of good there. While I've got you, Raquel, we always have these commercial breaks that are unavoidable, I apologize for that. But what do you think your best movie was?
WELCH: Oh, gosh, it is hard to say, really. I liked "Three Musketeers" because it was funny.
WELCH: And I think it's important to be an entertainer and.
CAVUTO: Where does "One Million Years B.C." stand, just out of curiosity?
WELCH: Well, that's the thing that put me on the map. And it is still following me around to this day as probably everyone is well aware. You know, they think I should still be the girl from "One Million Years B.C. and.
CAVUTO: Well, you still are. Why aren't you aging, by the way? What is going on there?
WELCH: Well, I think I am. I know that I am. I look at those old movies and the posters and the things that the guys, and the women, send in the mail. And I think, gosh, if i could look more like that.
CAVUTO: Oh, please. How the Oscars missed you for "One Million Years B.C." is beyond me, but that is just the arrogance of Hollywood.
CAVUTO: But, Raquel Welch, thank you very, very much, a real pleasure having you on.
WELCH: Oh, you know, my pleasure. I did nothing that a lot of other entertainers didn't do. And my hats are off — my hat is off — all my hats, to the veterans of Vietnam, and I don't feel that I have given to them the same gift that they have given to me by a long shot.
CAVUTO: Well, I think, Raquel, this would quibble with you. But thank you very, very much. Best of luck to you. Congratulations.
WELCH: Thank you so much, Neil.
CAVUTO: All right. Raquel Welch. All right. I can go ahead and die now.
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