On Saturday, January 20, 2024, a celebration of life for Worthie Meacham took place at Hollywood Methodist Church in Hollywood. The pews were filled with family, friends, fans, and fellow Disney enthusiasts. Over 300+ people gathered to commemorate the life of their beloved Worthie, who was widely known as drag persona Momma.
The church opened its doors at 1:30 pm. Many guests signed the guest book and received a Disney Celebration pin to wear. As the crowd entered the church hall, they chatted about their memories of Worthie/Momma and took their seats to listen to Rob Richards, Disney’s El Capitan organist, who played a medley of Disney tunes on the chapel’s organ. The playlist included Worthie’s favorite Disney tunes like “Be Our Guest,” “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo,” Star Wars themes, “Feed the Birds,” “Spoonful of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilistic,” “Indiana Jones” title opening, and “Someday My Prince Will Come.” The organ playing was accompanied by a slide show featuring amazing pictures of Worthie/Momma.
“Worthie was many things to many people. We wanted to make this a celebration… he wasn’t just about drag; he was ministry, church, LA Opera Chorus, a brother, a Momma, Project Angel Food, a host, a performer, and a bitch… and he was Disney!” These were the words spoken by Pauley Perrette, encapsulating the essence of Worthie Paul Meacham III, who entertained numerous people as MOMMA at LGBTQ charities around Los Angeles.
The celebration began with a blessing from Rev. Kathy Cooper Ledesma from Hollywood Methodist Church, and Pauley Perrette, a filmmaker, former actress, and friend of Momma, opened with a welcoming speech. Rev. Darryl W. Kozak, Pastor at Peace Lutheran Church of Corona, CA, shared memories of his first meeting with Worthie, highlighting their shared passion for being Lutherans.
Veronica Christenson and Jennifer Wallace from the LA Opera Chorus performed an impressive acapella rendition of “Ave Maria.”
Sister Bearonce Knows and Sister Candy Cide from the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence shared a story of how Momma earned her saintly name, “Saint Momma Mammoralus,” for her “big” heart and charity work.
Brad Bessey, director of talent relations and communication for Project Angel Food, spoke about Worthie’s dedication to supporting the non-profit. Bessey recalled Worthie reaching out for help during tough times and emphasized Worthie’s belief in leaving shame behind.
Former mayor of the City of West Hollywood, John Duran, spoke of Momma fondly, sharing stories of his own mother’s love for Momma after they met one year. Duran presented Worthie’s brother, Todd Meacham, with a City of West Hollywood Proclamation, declaring January 20, 2024, as Worthie Meacham Day.
Todd Meacham, Worthie’s younger brother, thanked the crowd and acknowledged Worthie’s profound impact on everyone in the room.
Randy Salter from the Planning Committee remembered Momma presiding over his wedding and shared Worthie’s wish to have his ashes spread in Disneyland.
Mr. Dan from Dragstrip 66 recounted the story of how Momma got her name, originating from a humorous exchange in 1994.
Kay Sedia, the Tupperware Drag Diva, shared how Momma mentored her in the art of being a drag queen and reflected on their shared love for all things Disney.
Bruce Vilanch, Emmy award winner/writer/comedian, reminisced about working with Worthie at fundraisers and their George Burns/Gracie Allen-like act. He also shared the “TinkerBell” bell, a memento from Worthie, that he keeps in memory of his friend.
James Gray from the Fruitcake Follies told a heartwarming story about Worthie’s love for Disneyland and Christmas, emphasizing their strong bond.
Leslie Carrara-Rudolph and “Lolly Lardpop,” who worked with Worthie in the yearly Fruitcake Follies show, shared their favorite memories, including Leslie being nominated for an Emmy with Worthie’s support.
Bob Gurr, the Legendary Disney Imagineer, had the crowd cheering with his speech. Eddie Shapiro and Jeffrey Epstein of Gay Days Anaheim expressed their joy working with Worthie/Momma over the years.
The celebration at the church concluded with the Men Alive, The Orange County Gay Men’s Chorus singing “What a Wonderful World,” and then the service ended with Rob Richards playing “When You Wish Upon a Star” on the organ.
The post-celebration, “Life is a Banquet: Momma’s After Party,” held at The Chapel at The Abbey in West Hollywood, featured a Drag show with performances by Glen Allen, Thierry Meisel, Samara Sin, Nyx Litre, Rhea Litre, and was hosted by Pauly David. A slide show played during the post-event.
About last night…a celebration of life for Worthie Meacham aka MOMMA at The Chapel with performances. @rhealitre @nyxthatbitch @glenalen @thierrymeisel @ingenuethestar @samarasinofficial #wehotimes #wehonews #westhollywood #weho #wehocity #theabbeyweho #thechapel #drag #dragshow #dragqueen
The entire Celebration of Life of Worthie Paul Meacham III aka “Momma” can be seen on YouTube.