Title: Owner, Founder
Company: Darcelle XV Showplace
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States
Walter Cole, Owner and Founder of Darcelle XV Showplace, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Business Owners for dedication, achievements, and leadership.
In the late 1960s, Mr. Cole purchased the Demas Tavern and soon melded the establishment into what it has been for more than 50 years, a successful drag entertainment business. Inspired to develop his alter-ego, Darcelle, through his work with the Portland Civic Theatre and his partner, Roxy Neuhardt, he has crafted a resounding legacy through his work. In 2019, The Oregonian listed him among the 100 Greatest Oregonians Ever, and in 2018, Mr. Cole was named the Oldest Working Drag Queen by the Guinness World Records. He continues to perform six shows a week at the club and also makes public appearances on television, parades, fundraisers and special engagements. Furthermore, he is artistically involved in the show’s costumes and cabaret productions while overseeing the daily operations.
After serving in the United States Army during the Korean War, Mr. Cole returned to the United States and began working in a grocery store. Wanting to branch out on his own, he opened Portland’s first coffee shop and then an ice cream bar before purchasing the property that would become Darcelle XV Showplace. Throughout his career, Mr. Cole has worked as an author, playwright, actor, costume designer and headliner. In 2010, he published his biography with Sharon Knorr, “Just Call Me Darcelle.”
Mr. Cole is looking forward to celebrating his 90th birthday in 2020 and endeavors to continue performing. He hopes to be remembered as someone who made people laugh, enjoy their time, and forget their troubles. He encourages others to “be who you are and be happy with it.” In 2019, Darcelle was honored by the Oregon Historical Society with a fashion exhibition. Furthermore, Mr. Cole put on a limited run musical, “Darcelle: That’s No Lady,” in 2019.
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