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Walter Cole aka: Darcelle, Guinness World Record holder for oldest drag queen performer, dies at 92

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A post shared by Darcelle XV Showplace (@darcellexvshowplace)Walter Cole, better known as the iconic drag queen Darcelle XV, was crowned the oldest drag queen by Guinness World Records in 2016.

The Darcelle XV Showplace, which she owned, is “the West Coast’s longest running drag show,” according to Guinness.Off stage, Cole, an Army veteran, was a fearless advocate for Portland's LGBTQ+ community and much charitable work in Portland.Cole was born in 1930 and raised in Portland's Linnton neighbourhood.

He served in the US Armed Forces and was discharged in the late 1950s, according to the club's website, which says he used money he received from the military to start his first business.After dabbling in a coffee store and a jazz club, Cole purchased the space that would become the Darcelle XV Showcase in 1967.

Two years later, he had developed the “alter ego” named Darcelle and came out as gay, according to a profile on the club's website.The Darcelle XV Showplace was listed in 2020 on the National Register of Historic Places, making it the first site in Oregon to be nominated specifically for its significance in LGBTQ+ history.

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