Actor and former teacher Frank Mendez, best known for his role as “Second Cholo” in the 1997 biopic Selena, has died.
One of his former students, Madison Shepard, made an announcement on Twitter that Mendez had died early Sunday morning. His death was confirmed by his husband Blas Amaya-Mendez on social media.
Shepard said she was taught by Mendez in an after-school film and TV program at Raul Quintanilla Middle School in Dallas between 1999-2001.
“He was the one that taught me how to [be an artist],” Shepard wrote. “I'm so sad and heartbroken. We lost a real one.”
Frank Mendez was my middle school film teacher. But he was also the actor in the iconic Selena scene “Anything for Selenas”. He passed away last night & his husband needs help covering his funeral expenses. Please RT his gofundme. https://t.co/zgilytRMD7 pic.twitter.com/58sudkNisz— Madison Shepard (@MadisonShepard) October 4, 2020
During his famous scene in Selena, which was shot in San Antonio, Mendez is riding in the passenger seat of a 1969 Chevrolet Impala convertible when he and “First Cholo” (Erick Carillo) notice Selena (Jennifer Lopez) trying to wave someone down to help her pull her tour bus out of the mud. When “First Cholo” realizes it is Selena, Mendez delivers his most famous line: “Pos, órale, rewind!”
“I lucked out that it’s so memorable,” Mendez told the Corpus Christi Caller Times in 2017. “I was supposed to say reverse, but in my head, this guy was kind of an idiot. We made up a story where they had gone to a house party the night before. It was such a ball and was nice to ad-lib.”
Carillo, his co-star in the scene, remembers Mendez as a “great actor and very cool guy.”
“He taught and inspired many young actors and filmmakers, which is the mark of a true artist,” Carillo told the Current yesterday. “I’m honored to have worked beside him in what many call one of the greatest scenes in Latin films.”
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Amaya-Mendez cover funeral expenses.
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