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Jeffrey Sanker, founder of White Party Palm Springs, has passed away after a long battle with liver cancer.

Sanker’s mother and sister were at his bedside when he died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. He was 65 years old.

Dubbed the “the high priest of gay parties,” “sultan of soirees,” and “godfather to gay circuit parties,” Sanker owned White Party Entertainment, Inc., which hosted gay circuit parties and other celebrations around the world.


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Sanker’s signature event was the White Party Palm Springs, which has been held for over 30 years and includes several days of tea dances, cocktail hours, pool parties, and live shows.

His events often featured celebrity DJs and well-known queer entertainers and allies, including Boy George, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Ke$ha, and Deborah Cox.

But the gay nightlife king was not without controversy. Last year, he received criticism for ignoring COVID safety protocols when he hosted a week of events in Mexico celebrating the New Year that resulted in that now-infamous shipwreck.

Around that same time, an internal memo Sanker sent to partygoers telling them not share any details or take photos of the event to avoid backlash leaked to the press.


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In addition to circuit parties and other celebrations, Sanker also produced charity events for various non-profits, including Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing (GLEH), The Trevor Project, and Desert AIDS Project.

In 2014, he was honored with a star on The Palm Springs Walk of Stars, which recognizes people who have made meaningful contributions to the cultural and civic life of Palm Springs.

He will be deeply missed by the people who knew him as well as those who found freedom on the dance floor at his iconic events.

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