Apollonia Kotero is no stranger to the Twin Cities. As Prince’s on-screen romantic interest in Purple Rain, she spent many months here filming the 1984 movie—and June 28 will mark her first time back in Minneapolis since the shooting of the film over 30 years ago.
Kotero will participate in the third annual Benefit 2 Celebrate Life concert, sponsored by Bobby Z—drummer in Prince’s Purple-Rain-era band the Revolution—at First Avenue. Kotero’s scheduled to host the VIP reception of the show, joining a lineup that includes Sounds of Blackness, Paris Bennett, and other “special guests.”
“It’s an honor and privilege to get to do this again, and with such great company,” Bobby Z told the Star Tribune. In that interview, he also confirmed that Kotero’s role in the event won’t be strictly offstage. “She will play a part in the show.”
Bobby Z established Benefit 2 Celebrate Life on the anniversary of his survival of a severe heart attack. All proceeds from the fundraiser go to the American Heart Association. The first benefit featured a reunion of the Revolution, a summit that won’t be repeated this year.
“When I was told in 2011 of my dear friend Bobby’s near death experience, I dropped to the floor and cried,” Kotero said in a press release announcing her appearance at this year’s event. “I have lost others in my life to heart disease so I want to support Bobby’s efforts to raise awareness and save lives.”
In the years since Purple Rain, Kotero has maintained her acting career—as well as having brief musical success with Apollonia 6, a group convened by Prince that took 1984’s “Sex Shooter” to number seven on Billboard’s dance chart—but she still clings to memories of the film. “It was an amazing experience, a dream come true, to sing and act alongside Prince and become dear friends with all the members of the Revolution while filming Purple Rain,” Kotero also said in the press release.
Born Patricia Apollonia Kotero to Mexican immigrant parents in California in 1959, the actress was given her stage name by Prince, who reasonably determined that her middle name was a little more glamorous than her first. It also became the name of the character she played on Falcon Crest, a romantic interest for costar Lorenzo Lamas—to whom Kotero was also linked offscreen. She told People that she never dated Prince, but did agree to his request that she break up with then-boyfriend David Lee Roth so as not to distract from the promotion of Purple Rain.
She also told People that she collapsed from hypothermia while filming Purple Rain‘s legendary “purification in the waters of Lake Minnetonka” scene. “When I came out of it,” she remembered, “Prince’s voice was cracking. He kept saying, ‘I love you. I love you, Apollonia.’ That was the best he ever took care of me. Like I was a golden little princess.”
Tickets for the fundraiser go on sale May 9. Prices are $30 for general admission and $100 for the VIP reception, which will include photo ops and—yes—a VIP laminate.
Ellie Fuqua is a freshman at Macalester College. She plans to double major in international studies and media and cultural studies, and hopes to pursue journalism as a career.