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Walter Mercado: Flamboyant TV astrologer, venerated by millions, dies

  Walter Mercado can be seen at the opening of

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For many in the Spanish-speaking world, Walter Mercado was a gay icon, though he did not discuss his sexuality

"When I was younger, I thought he was a superhero."

"I remember sitting too close to the television and straining my ears to listen …"

"An angel gracing this planet in our lives Living with such a divine spirit has us It would have been an honor to meet you, but I am so grateful for the memories I have of watching you with my grandmother Mima. "

Honors, the last of the actress Rosario Dawson from Sin City, is one of the thousands of warm words shared online to honor Walter Mercado, an extravagant Puerto Rican astrologer whose television horoscope readings have enchanted audiences of millions for decades.

Mercado was one of the Latin Americans the most popular faces of entertainment, but stumbled by pure chance into his career. He was allegedly 87 or 88 years old when he died on Saturday, but when he was asked about it, he simply replied, "Soy Timeless …" [I̵

7;m ageless…”]

Never heard of him, but I wish you have it? Continue reading …

& # 39; As a child, I would ask myself, "he or she?" but I have literally always loved him. "

Walter Mercado was known in Latin America and the US for his melodramatic predictions and colorful appearance, which often included cloaks and huge gemstone rings.

Although he never publicly expressed his sexuality, for many he was a gay icon because they refused to accept the traditional gender norms.

The comedian Gabe Gonzalez described the sequin-decorated showman as "weird and beautiful and eccentric and dressed in extravagant cloaks that I would try to imitate with my grandmother's sheets". he resisted everything that was taught me how to act as a Puerto Rican man.

He never identified himself as queer, but it felt like refusing to be forced by gender norms and antiquated masculinity ideas. "

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Mercado poses for a portrait in 2001 in Los Angeles, California

On Twitter, a user with the Scam handle has probably put it this way:

"[Mercado was] My first true detection and normalization of noncompliant gender identity." As a child, I would ask myself a long time. " he or she "but I have literally always loved him, it did not matter."

In a sense, the star set his own rules, regardless of television standards and traditional Latino machismo.

The writer Glen Weldon recalled: "I married into a Cuban family 20 years ago and promptly – crazy promptly – learned of the primacy of Walter Mercado.

" He received a pass from their initial reflective homophobia because he was WALTER MERCADO was. Live loud in a caftan. "

Alex Fumero, a Los Angeles – based producer who worked on a documentary about Mercado for two years, told AP that the refusal to comment on his sexuality allowed the celebrity to maintain the respect for the Conservative Idea of ​​an openly gay TV star could have avoided.

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Mercado's cloaks, opening at "Mucho, Mucho Cupid: 50 Years of Walter Mercado" at the HistoryMiami Museum

While some debates about his year of birth are being conducted, Mercado is said to have been brought on a ship from Spain to Puerto Rico in 1932.

He grew up as the youngest of three children in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and began his career as an actor and dancer.

His great breakthrough in astrology came in 1969 by chance, when he was asked to speak for a guest who had not appeared for the El Show del Medio Día, a television program in which he advertises a play during the day.

Mercado released a segment on horoscopes and secured his own one-hour show within three months.

In the 1980s he was an important part of Latin American television, reading all 12 signs of the zodiac with dramatically scrolled letters and signing with his slogan "Pero sobre todo, mucho, mucho, mucho amor." [“Above all, lots and lots of love.”]

Spanish speakers in the US revered him in the 1990s via Primer Impacto, a Spanish-language newscast.

The HistoryMiami Museum reports that Mercado has reached up to 120 million viewers per day for more than 30 years. Some happy spectators were promised romance, others were strongly advised not to hold a grudge any longer.

One of his most memorable predictions was that Bill Clinton was elected US President and Madonna would take the lead role of Eva Perón in the movie Evita.

In the 2016 US elections, he said, "I'm totally, totally, for Hillary, and astrologically she's the better perspective."

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He was known for high-profile statements, including the fact that Madonna would star in Evita

Many of those who pay tribute to Mercado noticed the great role he had played in their childhood and how his readings had brought generations together.

"If you grew up in a Hispanic household, you know you should stay quiet when it comes to it," noted journalist Jennifer Martinez on Twitter.

"I felt this in my stomach, so much of my childhood," wrote Karla Monterroso.

"It was something rare for US Latinos," said reporter Adrian Carrasquillo, telling a video in which Mercado was brought to the HistoryMiami Museum on a golden throne. "An icon family that has been watched for decades."

One of the charms of Mercado was, whatever the stars were (allegedly) held for you, he took the time to wish you well.

As the Cuban-American actress Chrissie Fit puts it: "Every day #WalterMercado asked us to look up to the stars, to dream, to find peace, and most of all … LOVE!"

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