"When I was younger I thought he was a superhero."
"I remember sitting too close to the TV and straining my ears to listen …"
"An angel who adorned this planet in our lifetime with such a divine spirit has left us. It had been an honor to meet you, but I am so grateful for the memories I have seen of you with my grandmother Mima. ¡Con mucho mucho mucho amor! "
These tributes, the last from Sin City actress Rosario Dawson, are among the thousands of warm words shared online in honor of Walter Mercado ̵
Mercado was one of Latin entertainment's most beloved faces, but stumbled into his career by chance. He was reportedly 87 or 88 when he died on Saturday, but when asked once, he simply replied: "Soy ageless …" [I’m ageless…”]
Have you never heard of him but started to wish that you had? Read on …
"As a child would I wonder" he or she? "but I literally always loved him.
Walter Mercado was known across Latin America and the United States for his melodramatic predictions and colorful looks, which often contained gowns and huge gemstones.
While never publicly voicing his sexuality, he was a homosexual icon for many to refuse to include traditional gender norms.
Comedian Gabe Gonzalez described the subsequent showman as "strange and beautiful and eccentric and dressed in extravagant gowns. I would try to imitate my grandmother's bed sheet, "adding," he defied everything I had learned about how I "should" act like a Puerto Rican man. "
" He never identified himself as a queer, but it felt like that he refused to be restricted by gender norms and outdated ideas of masculinity. "
On Twitter, a user with the handle Scam Likely said this way:
"[Mercado was] My first real exposure and normalization of non-conforming gender identity. For a long time as a child I would wonder" he or she "but I literally always loved him, it didn't matter. "
There was a feeling that the star was making his own rules, regardless of both TV norms and traditional Latino machismo.
Author Glen Weldon recalled: "I married a Cuban family 20 years ago and quickly – crazy fast – learned that Walter Mercado had before.
" He got a pass from their reflexive baseline homophobia because he was WALTER MERCADO. To live high in a kaftan. "
Alex Fumero, a Los Angeles-based producer who has spent two years working on a documentary on Mercado, told AP that refusing to comment on his sexuality allowed the celebrity's psychic to maintain respect for conservatives who may have discouraged the idea of an open gay television star.
While discussing his birth year, Mercado is believed to have entered the world in 1932 on a ship traveling from Spain to Puerto Rico.
He grew up in Ponce, Puerto Rico, as the youngest of three children, and began his career as an actor and dancer.
His big break in astrology came by chance in 1969, when he was asked to go in for a guest who had not appeared at El Show del Medio Día, a television show of the day that he seemed to be promoting a play.
Mercado ad lived a segment on the horoscope, and within three months he had secured his own hour-long show.
By the 1980s, he was an important part of Latin American television and read all 12 zodiac signs with dramatically rolled r and log off with his catch phrase, "Pero sobre todo, mucho, mucho, mucho amor." [“Above all, lots and lots of love.”]
Spanish-speaking in the United States came to admire him in the 1990s through Primer Impacto, a Spanish-language news show.
HistoryMiami Museum says Mercado reached up to 120 million viewers per day for more than 30 years. Some happy viewers would be promised romance, others were encouraged to stop adhering.
Some of his most memorable predictions included Bill Clinton being elected US President and Madonna landing the lead role of Eva Perón in the movie Evita.
During the 2016 US election, he said, "I totally, completely for Hillary, and astrologically, she is a better prospect."
Many of the shelves of Mercado noted the great part he had played in his childhood, and how his readings had united generations.
"If you grew up in a Spanish household, you know that when he arrived you would remain silent," journalist Jennifer Martinez noted on Twitter.
"I felt this in my gut. So much of my childhood," wrote Karla Monterroso.
"He was somewhat rare for American Latinos," said reporter Adrian Carrasquillo, sharing a video of Mercado being transported into the HistoryMiami Museum on a golden throne. "An icon family watched for decades."
One of Mercado's charms was that whatever the stars (allegedly) contained for you, he had time to wish you well.
As Cuban-American actress Chrissie Fit put it: "Every day, #WalterMercado would ask us to look up at the stars, dream, find peace and above all else … LOVE!"