History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Wisconsin - People - Bios

Rudolpho Rogelio Jr.
transitioning and performing as
Rudi D'Angelo


February 1, 2014
Primary Involvements:

Trans 'showgirl' performer





(The following are excerpts from a biography of close friends Jackie Roberts and Rudi D'Angelo by Michail Takach for this website in 2023.)

Rudi D'Angelo was born Rudolpho Rogelio Jr. She became close friends with Jackie Roberts while both were attending Milwaukee High School of the Arts in the late 1980s.

Rudi quickly followed Jackie's lead into the showgirl life. She was nicknamed "Rudi Rudi the Mexican Beauty," "fresh and fruity," and "the girl so nice they named her twice."

"What can I say about my best friend Rudi D'Angelo?" recalled Gia "Lady Gia" Salazar. "I had the honor of having her in my life for 17 years. Everybody knew her as the onstage entertainer, but to me, she was a real friend who I could always count on when I needed her. She was one of the most loyal people I've ever met."

"I remember the first night we met at Club 219," said Lady Gia. "We both had our eye on the same guy. I remember we made a bet on who would land him – but oddly enough, neither of us wound up pursuing him, because we were too busy hitting it off together as instant friends."

"She was one of the first trans women I ever met, and she taught me there was nothing wrong with being trans, and that living in my own comfortable skin was something that was meant for me," said Lady Gia. "Thanks to her, I gained the courage to follow through with my own full transition."

"In hindsight, I don't think she knew just how beautiful she was," said Michael Todd. "She was beautiful on the inside too. She was genuinely a nice person. In my 20 years of doing drag, Rudi was possibly one of the most beautiful queens I have ever seen."

While many remember Rudi working at a Mitchell Street thrift store, she later went back to school for nursing and found a real passion for the work.

"I lost touch with Rudi for a few years, and when we got back in touch, she was studying for her nursing degree and living right around the corner from me," said Lady Gia. "We spent a lot of time together – and it was like no time passed at all. I helped her study for her nursing tests and I was proud to see her achieve her goal of a nursing degree. She was so excited and so happy."

Rudi passed away unexpectedly on February 1, 2014, leaving behind a lifetime of loving friends and fans who still miss him today.


Credits: information from bio created by Michail Takach.
Website concept by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: November 2023

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