Walter Mercado Salinas
9 March 1932
|Died||2 November 2019 (aged 87)|
|Resting place||Señorial Memorial Park, Cupey, San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Education||University of Puerto Rico|
|Awards||Mr. Televisión (N.Y.C.)|
Señor Televisión (D.R.)
Walter Mercado Salinas[a] (9 March 1932 – 2 November 2019), also known by his stage name Shanti Ananda, was a Puerto Rican astrologer, actor, dancer, and writer, best known as a television personality for his shows as an astrologer. His astrological prediction shows aired for decades in Puerto Rico, Latin America and the United States, and he became a cultural phenomenon in the Hispanic community.
Mercado was born on 9 March 1932, in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where he spent his early childhood. His parents were José María Mercado, from San Germán, Puerto Rico, and Aída Salinas from Catalonia, Spain. Mercado believed that he had spiritual abilities, even as a child. He attended university majoring in pedagogy, psychology and pharmacy, and used these skills to teach others, to study the human mind and to learn about the healing properties of medicinal plants.
Dancing and acting
Mercado Salinas studied singing and had a talent for dancing. He also studied classical and modern ballet. He was one of the most prolific dancers in Puerto Rico. He was the dancing partner of comedian Velda González.
Walter Mercado worked as an actor in the 1960s Puerto Rican telenovelas Un adiós en el recuerdo (A Farewell to the Memory) and Larga distancia (Long Distance), and also had a dramatic arts school called Walter Actors Studio 64.
Walter Mercado to WLRN
His TV debut as an entertainer came when Puerto Rican producer Elín Ortíz invited him to perform on his TV show when one guest artist did not show up. Walter Mercado happened to be at the station and Ortiz asked Mercado to use the 25-minute allotment scheduled for the other guest, to make astrological predictions wearing colorful and extravagant robes. After that, Mercado was made a regular in the show making astrological predictions. He would frequently appear in heavily-decorated costumes and capes.
In 1970, Mercado started his regular astrology segment in El Show de las 12. He enhanced his studies with formal study into astrology, tarot, and other occult disciplines. Mercado hosted a weekly astrology television show at WKAQ-TV, Channel 2/Telemundo. After several years, when the network changed its programming, Mercado moved his show to WRIK-TV (channel 7 in Ponce) where he hosted it for many years. Westinghouse was a steady and long-time sponsor. In the 1980s, his show was seen on several TV channels throughout Latin America and the United States. When Tommy Muñiz bought WRIK-TV, Mercado stayed for two years then moved his show to WKBM-TV, Channel 11/Tele Once (later renamed WLII-TV/Univision). In addition to the TV programs, Mercado also wrote his predictions for newspapers, magazines, and web pages. He was a syndicated writer in the Miami Herald. He also appeared on various radio segments.
In 1986, Mercado was awarded the title Mr. Televisión by the Asociación de Cronistas del Espectáculo de Nueva York (Association of Latin Entertainment Critics of New York). By the end of the 1980s, Mercado had authored seven books, of which one, Más allá del horizonte (Beyond the Horizon), was published in three languages (Spanish, English and Portuguese).
From the mid 1990s until 2010, Mercado's show aired in the Univision network throughout the Americas, but on 8 January 2010, after a fifteen-year relationship, he announced that he and Univision had parted ways. He was managed by entrepreneur Bill Bakula. In 2005, he was invited to appear on Welsh singer/songwriter Lisa Scott-Lee’s show Totally Scott-Lee to give her a special reading. From 1994 to 2009, he also appeared on Primer Impacto, which airs on the Univision network in the United States.
Other ventures Mercado was involved with in the mid-2010s included a dating website; a line of Zodiac-themed soaps and hygiene items; and a popular personal website and app offering daily horoscopes and more. His eponymous website received over 1 million visits in the first month. On a limited basis, Mercado continued to make public appearances during this time period as well.
Name change and legal challenge
In October 2010, Mercado changed his name to "Shanti Ananda", a translation in Sanskrit of "peace happiness." He says a "being of light" imparted a spiritual revelation to him, which he refers to as his "authentic mystic name."
In January 2012, Mercado lost a lawsuit against Bart Enterprises International. He was trying to prevent it from using his name and likeness in future commercial ventures. Mercado signed a contract with the company in 1995. He severed ties with the company in 2006, which resulted in litigation being filed by both parties against each other. Chief Judge Sandra Lynch of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that Bart Enterprises can continue using Mercado's name and likeness in future commercial projects. When asked about his legal case over the rights to his name, he replied, "I worked for many years, and gave some releases without thinking much about human wickedness."
In 2003, he announced that he maintained a "spiritual relationship" with the Brazilian actress and dancer Mariette Detotto, with whom he shared a TV program. In archival and recent interview clips on his life shown in a 2020 documentary, Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado, Mercado defines himself as androgynous and insists that the primary relationship of his life is with his fans; he also joked about being a virgin into his 80s. He always maintained his residence in Puerto Rico.
Decline in health and death
In January 2012, Mercado was flown to Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, with cardiac problems. He said he "had gone and seen death and came back to life again". Since the experience he said he had changed. He said he wanted to work with Puerto Rican youth, he planned to establish the Shanti Ananda foundation, create a mystic center, and donated three of his capes to a museum. Most of his capes had already been sold at auctions.
Mercado died on the night of Saturday, 2 November 2019, reportedly from kidney failure, at Auxilio Mutuo Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, according to hospital spokeswoman Sofia Luquis. He was 87. He is buried at Señorial Memorial Park in Cupey barrio, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- Awarded Mr. Televisión title by the Association of Latin Entertainment Critics of New York.
- Awarded Señor Televisión title at the 1972 Festival de Codazos in the Dominican Republic.
- Historia de mi vida (1963)
- Ana Rosa (1965)
- La mujer de aquella noche (1968)
- Recordar (1968)
- Entre el puñal y la cruz (1969)
- Una sombra (1970)
- La intrusa (1970)
- Renzo el gitano (1971)
- Totally Scott-Lee (2005)
- Doritos advertisement (PepsiCo, 2016)
- Bodas de sangre
- La dama de las camelias
- Androcles y el león
- Los cuatro coroneles
- El tríptico de amor, dolor y muerte
- Todos los hijos de Dios tienen alas (1960)
- Look Back in Anger (Mirando hacia atrás con ira) (1970)
- Walter '84 (1984)
- Walter '86 (1986, Sonotone)
- Walter Mercado (1986)
- Guía para una vida mejor (1997)
- Una mujer sin precio (1966) (choreographer)
- Hoy (2003)
- Chasing Papi (2003)
- Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado (posthumous Netflix documentary, 2020)
- Mensajes Para Vivir, co-authored with Dr. Leon Alberto Vasquez (unknown date)
- Enciclopedia De Walter Mercado (Tomo 1) (1983)
- Más allá del horizonte (Beyond the Horizon: Visions of the New Millennium) (1997)
- Guia Para Una Vida Mejor (1997)
- El Mundo secreto de Walter Mercado (Spanish Edition) (2010)
- Puerto Rican Psychic Loses Rights to His Name Barbara Leonard. Court House News Service. 4 January 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
- "Walter Mercado." (in Spanish). Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular. Archived from the original on 22 September 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
- "Most Popular People Born In "Ponce/ Puerto Rico": Walter Mercado." (in Spanish). IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 17 May 2016.[dead link]
- McBride, Jessica (3 November 2019). "Walter Mercado Dead: A Tribute to the Astrologer". Heavy.com. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
- "De Walter Mercado a Shanti Ananda: Metamorfosis del astrólogo más famoso de América Latina". Archived from the original on 15 January 2012. El Nuevo Dia. 10 January 2012.
- Redaccion (11 April 2019). "Así lucía y actuaba Walter Mercado cuando hizo telenovelas". El Diario NY (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 January 2021.
- "La prolífera carrera de Walter Mercado [The prolific career of Walter Mercado]" (in Spanish). San Juan, Puerto Rico: National Foundation for Popular Culture.
- Martinez, Alejandra (1 August 2019). "Legendary Astrologer Walter Mercado Wants You To Come Get A 'Touch Of Love' At HistoryMiami Exhibit". www.wlrn.org. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
I always give the touch of love and they call me the Walter of Miracles
- Douglas Wood. "Popular astrologer Walter Mercado dies at 87". CNN. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
- Walter Mercado sin Univisión en su futuro. Ana Enid López Rodríguez. Primera Hora. 8 January 2010.
- "Walter Mercado Still Losing". Property, intangible®. 28 December 2011. Archived from the original on 28 May 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- "Totally Scott Lee, Episode 3".
- Walter Mercado. "Walter Mercado Sitio Oficial". waltermercado.com. Archived from the original on 21 November 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
- "Línea Cautivadora". waltermercado.com. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015.
- "Category Archive for "Medios de Comunicación" – Walter Mercado". Walter Mercado. Archived from the original on 17 June 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
- "Entretenimiento". HuffPost Voces. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- Walter Mercado: Vengo de la Tumba. Patricia Vargas. El Nuevo Dia. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 15 February 2012. Page 74.
- Vengo de la Tumba. vLex Puerto Rico. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- Wood, Douglas (3 November 2019). "Popular astrologer Walter Mercado dies at 87". CNN. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
- EFE (6 November 2019). "Sepultan en Puerto Rico al astrólogo Walter Mercado". Telemundo Nueva Inglaterra (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 July 2020.
- Walter Mercado. Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 6 July 2014. Accessed 19 March 2017.
- "Muere el astrólogo Walter Mercado". Primera Hora (in Spanish). 3 November 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
- "La mujer de aquella noche (TV Series 1968– )". IMDb. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- E. Garcia, Sandra (3 November 2019). "Walter Mercado, Celebrity Astrologer, Is Dead". NY Times. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
- "Totally Scott-Lee, Episode 3".
- Ochoa, Mariana. "Walter Mercado Has Just Blessed Us With This Doritos Commercial". Vix. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
- "Walter Mercado". Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 November 2019.
- Olivares, Vianey (14 February 2019). "Actuación, danza y la historia detrás de la fama de Walter Mercado que no conocías". Cultura Coletiva (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 November 2019.
- KNGINE Movies Archived 25 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- FILM Annex Archived 13 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- Mercado, Walter; Vasquez, Dr. Leon Alberto (1988). Mensajes Para Vivir. SIBI. ISBN 0918901618.
- Mercado, Walter (1983). Enciclopedia De Walter Mercado (Tomo 1). Retrieved 4 November 2019.
- Mercado, Walter (1997). Mas alla del horizonte: Visiones del nuevo milenio (in Spanish). Grijalbo / Tres Lunas. ISBN 9700508439.
- Mercado, Walter (1997). Guia Para Una Vida Mejor. Sony Music. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
- Mercado, Walter (20 April 2010). El mundo secreto de Walter Mercado (Spanish Edition). Spain: Rayo. ISBN 978-0061780059.