For two decades, Walter Mercado was the biggest name in televised horoscope readings. While that might seem strange to some, he was arguably the most famous figure on television for many years.
Then, seemingly overnight, Mercado disappeared.
Netflix has a new documentary about the flamboyant and beloved figure that brought joy into people’s lives for over 20 years and reveals what happened to the man who made the send-off “Mucho Mucho Amor” such an iconic saying.
Here is our review of Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado, the latest documentary on Netflix.
This documentary is a spectacular look at the complete life of a spectacular man.
While there is not much here about his childhood (although he mentions a picture of his mother, father, and brothers as “depressing” later in the film), his entire life started with an over-the-top and bombastic event.
According to Mercado, he was never like his brothers. He would play the piano and read with his mother while his brothers were out working in the field.
One day, while he was a child, he found a bird that had fallen to the ground and was dying. He picked it up and began to blow on it, trying to will it back to life. Soon, the bird opened its eyes and flew off.
A local woman from the village saw this and told everyone that he was a healer, a miracle child. Soon, people began to bring their sick and ill to young Walter so he could lay his hands on them and potentially heal them.
This was how the legend of Walter Mercado began.
This was just the start for the man that would capture the hearts and love of the world.
The documentary traces his life as an actor to the day where Telumundo asked him to give horoscopes on a talk show. His segment had so many people calling in that they made it a daily segment.
That turned into a spot on the news, his own television show, and eventually worldwide acclaim.
However, this is also the story of what happened to Walter Mercado. That is where the story takes a hard turn.
Mercado was very trusting, and one of his most trusted confidants was his manager Bill Bakula. This man is who was responsible for Mercado getting his own show and becoming a worldwide star.
However, Bakula was also responsible for bringing Mercado crashing back to Earth. Because of all his hard work in making Mercado a profitable brand, he got the astrologist to sign over the full rights to his name and image, meaning that Bakula owned Mercado.
This led to six years of lawsuits before the two settled and then Mercado was gone. Six years is a long time, and fans forget their celebrities easily.
A lot of credit goes to the documentary bringing in Bakula to talk about their relationship, including that lawsuit that ended the career of Walter Mercado.
However, this documentary is not a sad story. There are twists and turns, but the second that Mercado received a call from a fan who wanted to meet him, his life changed again.
That fan was Lin Manuel Miranda, the man who created Hamilton. While Mercado was a fan of Miranda, the fandom was stronger the other way. Miranda was very emotional in this meeting and revealed to Mercado that no one had forgotten.
Miranda was in tears and let this man know what he meant to the world.
When Miranda shared an Instagram photo of the two of them, it instantly proved that fans not only remembered Walter Mercado but loved him as much as their parents and grandparents before them.
Mercado was an iconic, gender non-conforming astrologer – but he was not gay … or straight. He claimed to be a virgin and said he never saw the need to have another person in his life to make him complete.
That is, outside of his caretaker for years, a man who said that the two spent their lives together, as they traveled together but have never touched each other outside of him fixing Walter’s hair and makeup and making sure he remains healthy.
Despite this, Mucho Mucho Amor is about a man who made many LGBTQ+ individuals feel they were not different, and it was okay to be who they were. He was also someone who touched the lives of young and old, straight and gay, men and women, and everyone loved him for who he was.
The documentary also has a bittersweet ending. At a museum in Miami, Mercado finally received recognition, in his 80s, for what he meant to the world. It was a great moment, although it also showed how much pain this man lived in toward the end of his life.
Mercado said it best as he performed for his people once again.
“Once I was a star. Now I am a constellation.”
Heading into Mucho Mucho Amor, I knew very little about Walter Mercado. Coming out of this documentary, I love this man as much as the people who grew up watching him with their grandmothers.
This story is about a man who had a dream and knew who he was from the start. He never changed to achieve his dreams and never let the world change him. Instead, he set out to change the world for the better.
The ending is emotional, starting with the appearance of Lin Manuel Miranda and going through the museum showcase. It is a wonderful story of a wonderful man, and I can’t recommend this documentary enough.
Whether you have heard of Walter Mercado or not, once you watch this film, you can’t help but fall in love with this inspiring man.