Walter Mercado's Niece Shares Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of 'Mucho Mucho Amor'
Watching the Netflix documentary Mucho Mucho Amor, about the life of astrologer and psychic Walter Mercado, was an emotional experience for his niece Ivonne Bennet Mercado. "Seeing him [on the screen] after losing him was like having him again with us," she tells People CHICA. "We cried a lot. We also laughed at a lot of scenes. It was very intense for us." Walter's family watched the documentary — directed by Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch — for the first time in January at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, two months after the astrologer died of kidney failure at age 87. "It's been very difficult," Ivonne says of Walter's death. "We really miss him. He left a huge void."
Spending time in Walter's home in Puerto Rico — decorated with photos of him and statues of deities, and filled with his lavish capes and jewelry — also makes his nieces feel closer to him. Walter loved being in front of the cameras and sending love and positive vibes to his audience, Ivonne says, but it was challenging to film him for the documentary doing ordinary things, because Walter always wanted to look fabulous for his audience. "There were difficult moments because they wanted to film Walter in an intimate setting and Walter doesn't like that. Walter wakes up and leaves his bedroom already all glammed up," she recalls. "He didn't want them to film him in his robe or with no makeup on. That part was a bit difficult, but they were able to capture him having breakfast, eating, and giving his dog a treat."
Besides entering Walter's ultra-private home and showing his loving family life, the documentary is also filled with nostalgia, remembering Walter's days as a telenovela and theater actor. "The last part was very difficult [to film] because he was already sick," Ivonne says about Walter's trip to Ponce to see the theater where he performed in his youth. "His bones hurt, he had difficulty walking. He was making a very big effort."
Walter's emotional meeting with Lin-Manuel Miranda is also part of the documentary, and was filmed in Ivonne's own apartment. Miranda was on the island rehearsing for Hamilton, and the closest location was Ivonne's place. "We didn't want to bring Walter to a public place in the condition he was in," she explains. Meeting Miranda was an unforgettable experience for the astrologer and his loved ones. "Lin-Manuel is a spectacular person," Ivonne says. "He is something out of this world, a beautiful human being. When Walter died, he went to his funeral. It was beautiful."
To Walter's nieces he was much more than a paternal figure — he was a great friend and mentor. He taught them how to do their hair and makeup, offered them the best life advice, gave them books to read, and opened their eyes to the world's truths, training them in astrology and spirituality. Betty Bennet Mercado, Ivonne's sister, is now writing Walter's world-famous horoscopes, and says the sisters will keep his legacy alive. "We want to keep bringing his positive message to the world," Betty tells CHICA.