PORTLAND, Oregon — Thousands of fans and people close to Walter Cole, also known as Darcelle XV, met at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Tuesday, 25 April 2023 to remember him. The longtime Portland performer died at the age of 92 at the end of March.
Cole was best known for his 56-year run as the famous drag queen Darcelle at Darcelle XV in Portland’s Old Town. Darcelle loved to act and gave people a place where they could be themselves without fear of being judged. During the tribute, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek praised her for being a good leader.
“Darcelle made a clear distinction between her life as a performer and Walter Cole’s life as a husband and grandparent,” said Kotek. “This included changing pronouns on and off stage.” “That’s what it looks like to be free.”
The Guinness Book of World Records said in 2016 that Darcelle was the oldest drag queen who was still acting. Now, the show goes on at Darcelle’s in Old Town without the person who gave the club its name.
“Darcelle wouldn’t have wanted people to mourn without celebrating the fact that she’s changed so many lives,” said Syles, who went to the memorial.
“He left a legacy, which you can see by how many people are here,” said Pete, who was also at the event.
Many people thought it was only right to remember Darcelle on a stage, where she had brought so many people to their feet, including Governor Kotek.
“We know that Walter Cole’s superpower was being Darcelle,” Kotek said. “And many people have said that this superpower saved lives.”
Celebration of life for Darcelle XV
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