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Selena

Pop Musician

Born: 16 April 1971
Died: 31 March 1995 (shot to death)
Birthplace: Lake Jackson, Texas
Best known as: The 'Queen of Tejano'

Name at birth: Selena Quintanilla

Until her untimely death at age 23, Selena was the sexy and charismatic 'Queen of Tejano.' (Tejano music is a South Texas creation which uses guitars and accordions to blend Mexican music with European polkas and waltzes.) Selena was raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, and before she turned 10 she was already fronting the family band, Los Dinos. Their 1989 album Selena y Los Dinos put them on the map, and the 1992 album Entre a Mi Mundo (Enter My World) went gold. Still unknown in much of America, Selena became a star in Mexico and Latin America, known both for her Spanish-language hits and her wholesome sex appeal. A fashion plate who liked to design her own clothes, Selena favored snug pants and midriff-baring bustiers that earned her the nickname "the Mexican Madonna." Selena Live! (1993) won a Grammy as best Mexican-American album, and Amor Prohibido (Forbidden Love, 1994) was another hit.

In 1995 Selena began recording her first English-language album, Dreaming of You, and seemed poised to cross over to mainstream success. But on March 31st of that year she was shot and killed at a Days Inn hotel in Corpus Christi. The shooter was Yolanda Saldivar, the founder of the Selena fan club and manager of Selena's clothing boutiques, who apparently realized she was about to be fired for embezzling money from the singer. Saldivar was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 30 years. Selena was played by Jennifer Lopez in the 1997 film Selena. A greatest hits album, Ones, was released in 2002.

Extra credit: Selena married Christopher Perez, a guitarist in her band, on 2 April 1992... She had a small role as a mariachi singer in the Johnny Depp film Don Juan DeMarco, which was released just a week after her death in 1995... According the Houston Chronicle, the name Los Dinos "was taken from the Italian slang word for los muchachos, the boys"... Yolanda Saldivar's first opportunity for parole will be in the year 2025, coincidentally the same year of release originally scheduled for Arthur Bremer, who shot George Wallace. Bremer was released early in 2007... In 2002, with the approval of her family, the revolver used to shoot Selena was cut into pieces and scattered in Corpus Christi Bay.

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More on Selena from Infoplease:

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  • Hispanic American Musicians and Visual Artists - Notable Hispanic American musicians and visual artists

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