For decades, Walter Mercado’s voice could be heard in Spanish-speaking households as he read daily horoscopes on television. The astrologer garnered attention with his bejeweled capes and unique flair. Now, Netflix’s documentary Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado is sharing his legacy.
At his peak, the Puerto Rico native reached over 120 million Latino viewers with whom he shared messages of light, love, and peace. For years, many tuned in to watch his segment Walter y Las Estrellas at the conclusion of Univision's Primer Impacto.
But suddenly, in the mid-2000s, everything changed, and from one moment to another, fans were left wondering: what happened to Walter Mercado, and why was he no longer on television?
Through the years, there have been many interesting theories, but the truth is Walter disappeared from the spotlight because of a legal dispute with his former manager Bill Bakula.
Like everyone else, Bill first saw Walter on TV and was immediately mesmerized by his presence. Bill reached out to Walter with a pitch for a new TV show and the two began working closely together.
“Every talent needs somebody behind him,” Bill said in the documentary. “I was the coach for one single purpose: Walter’s message to get out to as many people as possible.”
Eventually, Walter’s readings were heard in Brazil, Italy, Holland, the U.K., and the U.S. “Bill made me the most well-known psychic of this world, the prophet of the new age,” Walter said in Mucho Mucho Amor .
Walter saw a friend and business partner in Bill for many years. That is until 2006, when Walter didn't like how Bill was re-using his old material, and wanted to cut ties. It was then that the star realized that back in 1995, he "blindly" signed a contract that gave "his past and future work to Bill’s company." More importantly, Bill owned Walter’s name, image, and likeness, indefinitely.
The astrologer and his former manager went to court, ensuing a six-year legal battle. Although Bill said he didn’t want to hurt Walter financially — stating that he only asked for $1 in damages — court papers shown in the documentary reveal he was actually seeking around $15 million.
While the trademark dispute was ongoing, Walter wasn’t allowed to use his name and his segment on Primer Impacto was cut. Ultimately, in December 2011, Walter won his rights back, but the stress and hurt took a toll on him. Two days after leaving court, the TV personality suffered a heart attack. He eventually made a full recovery and tried to make a comeback, but it was never the same.
In November 2019, at the age of 87, Walter died in San Juan, Puerto Rico surrounded by his family and friends. Today, he continues to be loved and remembered by the Latino community, who affectionately say his famous sign off, “Mucho, mucho amor.”
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