The life and legacy of Darcelle XV

Oldest performing drag queen dies


Well-known performer and drag queen from Portland, Oregon, Darcelle XV has been delighting crowds for more than 50 years. She has overcome several barriers throughout her career and rose to fame in the LGBTQIA+ community. Sadly, she passed away on March 23, 2023 due to natural causes.

Darcelle XV was born Walter Cole in 1930 in Silverton, Oregon. In the late 1950s, she relocated to Portland, where in 1967, she founded her first club, Darcelle XV. She has been performing ever since, and as a result, she has established herself as one of the most recognizable performers in the Pacific Northwest. She has performed for audiences of all ages, races, and sexual orientations in her presentations, which combine comedy, music, dance, and spectacular costumes.

During the course of her career, which has lasted more than five decades, Darcelle XV has established herself as an innovator and a champion of LGBTQIA+ rights. She has always been honest about her sexuality and her experiences with prejudice. Throughout her life, she has had to overcome many difficulties and barriers, including protests, arson in her club, and even death threats. She remained steadfast in her resolve to use her performances to convey happiness and acceptance, though.

The turning point in Darcelle XV’s career came when she turned 85 and broke the record for the oldest performer in drag. She was a guest on The Ellen Show, where she did a dance routine showcasing her dynamic energy and amazing dancing abilities. In addition to showcasing her talent, this incident disproved several misconceptions about aging and the LGBTQIA+ community.

Within the LGBTQIA+ community, Darcelle XV is a national treasure and an idol. Her life story is a tribute to tenacity and determination, and her performances have made countless people smile and laugh. She has demonstrated that a person’s value and capacity for greatness are not determined by their age, sexual orientation, or gender. As we honor her legacy, let us not forget the struggles she and other LGBTQIA+ community members have suffered and still experience. Together, let us build a society where everyone can live freely and honestly, like Darcelle XV has.