Flamboyant Performer and Longtime Upper West Sider Margarita Pracatan Dies

Margarita Pracatan, a performer who lived in the same Upper West Side apartment for 52 years, died on Tuesday at the age of 89.

Pracatan had a public-access cable show in New York, and was discovered there by Clive James, a critic and writer who had a television show. She became a scene-stealing singer on The Clive James Show in the 1990’s. Her daughter Maria Gorshin is one of the original West Side Rag columnists.

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“You MUST live by the moment!!” This evening the powerful force, the beautiful Life, Margarita Pracatan, left for the ultimate Happy Hours in the sky full of light and joy surrounded by her family and what she loved most in the world, Music. Love, celebrate and know that each one of you who sang along to her songs and danced to her music filled her with happiness throughout her life. Pour a big Grand Marnier. Raise it up. Then one more time so the Stars blink and the Sky rumbles…PRACATAN!!!!!

A post shared by Margarita Pracatan (@pracatanbaby) on

Pracatan, an immigrant from Cuba, had a flamboyant style that endeared her to audiences and made her an international star. See some clips below:

HISTORY, NEWS | 9 comments | permalink
    1. Mark Moore says:

      I loved her! So sad.

    2. She was absolutely in love with life and this neighborhood right til the very end. Thank you for featuring my Mom, Margarita Pracatan, in our longtime favorite Upper West Side news source!

    3. Brett Mann says:

      Heartbroken. For 30+ yrs on MHN, Margarita was my constant “upper”. We met in 2007 on the corner of her building on 74th, her arms loaded w/bags of new curtains. I introduced myself & told her I’d been a huge fan for years. She invited me up for Grand Marnier! I put up her kitchen curtains… metallic silver squares on strings actually… while talking & laughing about everything & nothing. Every subsequent gathering w/her was exactly like that. That’s how she was. Brave… fearless, actually… campy, inspiring, energetic, full of more life than an army of drag-queens. I will miss her company, her encouragement, her vibrant smile, her PUSH to “keep it going, baby”. Pracatan forever. My sincerest condolences to Maria & her family, of whom Margarita always spoke proudly. I hope WSR will post funeral info soon.

    4. MAD says:

      Margarita was a wonderful, wonderful woman who lived in my building. She always greeted me with “hello, baby” and was filled with love and light. We will miss her very much. Love and condolences to her daughter and many, many friends. Rest in peace.

    5. NotImpressed says:

      This is so sad.
      She was a truly warm, loving, and very funny person.

    6. Nelson says:

      I have only become aware of this vibrant lady because of her obits, so I am a new fan. I wish I’d discovered her charm and talent earlier…and that I could have met her as a neighbor! Condolences to her family, friends and fans…and I’m grateful for the memories and performances she left for them to enjoy.

    7. Ac says:

      Here’s the obituary from the Guardian , an English newspaper


    8. Cynthia Parzych says:

      My husband John and I, living a life split between the UWS and Fulham, London, used to save our best bottle of wine for Sunday night and Clive James and his wacky and wonderful sidekick Margarita Pracatan. She cured my homesickness for the UWS and made us laugh so hard we cried. RIP Margarita. My John is waiting for you at the gates of heaven with an excellent glass of wine (I’m jealous!).

    9. W70's says:

      I used to live in Margarita’s building but moved a few blocks away 20 years ago. Now and then I would see her on the street and it always cheered me. She will be missed in the neighborhood.