Famous psychic Walter Mercado captivated millions of Latino families across the globe every night with his predictions and horoscope readings: sparking a modern interest in astrology. But the icon’s sudden death Nov. 2, sent shock waves in the Spanish-speaking world and LGBTQ community.
Family spokesperson Omar Matos confirmed Mercado died at 87 -years-old at the Auxilio Mutuo Hospital in San Juan. The cause of death was kidney failure. Mercado was laid to rest Friday at Señorial Memorial Park in Puerto Rico
Mercado’s Flair and Unique Style of Reading Paved Way To His Rise To Stardom
Mercado was born on a ship traveling from Spain to Puerto Rico on March 9, 1932, according to CNN. He began his career in the arts as a dancer and actor, appearing in Puerto Rican telenovelas, aka Spanish sitcoms. Earning a television show called: ‘Walter and the Stars’ on the island in his native country.
It wasn’t until 1969 when a Telemundo show producer asked Mercado to fill-in for a guest who didn’t make an appearance, by reading the horoscope. Following his debut, a flood of calls came into the station from viewers to bring back Mercado, starting his stellar career in astrology.
But it was his flair and spiritual knowledge that brought him to stardom. The way he delivered his predictions, trilled “r’s” and dramatic readings, making it both entertaining and thought-provoking.
Millions Watched As He Encouraged Latinos to Never Give-Up
In an interview about his style with the Miami Herald, Mercado said, “I have always liked to speak to people very directly. I have used astrology to send positive messages: You can do it, even if you fall, get back up again.”
His daily segment on the show Primer Impacto became an invaluable presence in Latin America and quickly gained worldwide fame as a celebrity psychic. At the height of his fame, he had a daily audience of about 120 million viewers.
Was His Psychic Ability A Gift From God Or Talent?
Walter says he found his psychic abilities as a child. Once he predicted a big bell at his elementary school would fall and healed a small bird by blowing air on him, earning him the name “Walter Miracles”.
“I would get home from school, sit in a small chair and people would come to meet me. They touched me and kissed my hand. Like I was a pope, and I was a little boy!” he told People en Español.
Beyond Fame, His Impact Inspired The Millenial LGBTQ Community To Be True With Their Identity
While Mercado never openly stated his sexuality, he was a gay icon to many people in the Spanish-speaking world.
“He never identified as a queer, but it felt like he refused to be constrained by gender norms and antiquated ideas of masculinity,” tweeted comedian Gabe Gonzales.
Many in the LGBTQ community felt he paved a way for them, to feel comfortable expressing themselves while being captivating as he predicted the future of millions. Especially for young millennials.
“Since I was a kid, I would just be like, ‘How do you get to be so fabulous and so queer and so strange and be on like television and be watched by my family and a lot of Latinos in the United States,” Celia Sagastume, a Latinx astrologer and the resident reader for two websites, told Latino USA.
His unique fashion and flavor for colorful robes, outfits accentuated with dazzling gems and brooches resonated with the LGBTQ community.
Mercado’s Signature Sign-off Gave Hope and Made Millions Feel Just A Little Better
The Spanish television icon’s image is forever ingrained in the sky and the minds of his beloved fans. He assured millions of Latinos glued to their television that no matter what was going on, he made everyone feel a little better with the words, “Sobre todo, mucho, mucho amor”: above all, much, much love.
In honor of Walter Mercado, I end as he would say:
“Paz, dinero y mucho, mucho amor” or “Peace, money and lots, lots of love”