Selena Wiki

This page is for the real person. For the dramatization/character in the 2020 Netflix series, see Abraham Quintanilla Jr./Netflix series.

Abraham Isaac Quintanilla the father of Selena and producer of Selena y los Dinos.


During the mid-1970s, while trying desperately to leave the music world, Abraham's youngest child Selena, sparked a music-frenzy for Abraham to start up a new singing group, featuring his three children.[1] The new band Selena y Los Dinos prospered during the 1980s and began to become popular. But Selena, like her father, had to face discrimination in the music world due to being a female in a male-dominant genre.[2] By the 1990s, Selena's popularity reached new heights and she won a Grammy Award for her album Selena Live!.[3] By 1995, Selena had a legion of fans and was working on a major crossover album that would've impelled Selena as an American solo pop artist.[3] Selena was murdered by Yolanda Saldivar in March of the same year. Abraham's love of music continued to grow with his opening of Q-Productions and appearing in documentary shows, mostly about his daughter.[4]

Early life: 1939-1956[]

Abraham Isaac Quintanilla Junior was born on February 20, 1939 in Corpus Christi, Texas as the middle child of six siblings, to Mexican immigrant parents Abraham Quintanilla Sr (born: Abrán Quintanilla) and Mary Calderon Quintanilla (born: María Calderon, 1920 - January 18, 1972). Abraham's parents worked at the Rio Grande river in Texas, scavenging vegetables, cotton and fruits.[5] When Abraham was fourteen, his parents left the Catholic Church and converted to Jehovah's Witnesses. Abraham's mother became a door-to-door missionary, trying to convert other Hispanic and Latino Americans from Catholicism to Jehovah's Witnesses.[6] Abraham's father later worked as an autobody repairman.[7]

Abraham attended Ray Miller High School and soon joined with two of his friends to form a high school choir called the Gumdrops.[6] Abraham dropped out of Ray Miller High School when he was a senior to pursue his career.[8] Mary strongly disapproved of her son's desire to become a professional singer.[7]

Los Dinos and family: 1957-1974[]

The band faced racism and discrimination due to being of Mexican decent. A club owner, who thought the band were Italians, was captured that Los Dinos were Mexican Americans. The club owner decided not to pay them. Los Dinos were turned down motel rooms and other venues that were dominant White American neighborhoods. The bands next singles "Tiwistin' Irene", "Ride Your Pony", and "Lover's Holiday" sold poorly. In October 1961, Abraham was drafted into the military and was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Fort Lewis, Washington, near Tacoma, WA.. While on duty, Abraham meet a young women named Marcella Samora, who was half-Mexican American and half-Cherokee. Marcella's father originated from Amarillo, while her mother was from Colorado.[9] Abraham and Marcella married on June 8, 1963 and Marcella conjoined Abraham's surname onto hers. On December 13, 1963, Abraham was discharged from active duty and while doing so, Marcella gave birth to their first child, Abraham Quintanilla III and AB was born in Toppenish, WA. Within a month, Abraham moved his family and relocated in Corpus Christi. While back, Abraham re-joined with Los Dinos and began singing American pop and Rock and roll music. While performing to a crowd of Mexican people, Los Dinos were told to play Spanish-language Mexican music. They were later booed and were called "queers". The people at the club were refunded their money, after the band confess of not knowing any Mexican music. This angered people who wanted to dance and chased the band out of the building, local Corpus Christi police had to be called in to escort the band out.[10] The band changed their musical genres to Chicano rock due to costs in creating English-language popular music and the popularity of the band. Los Dinos recorded their first record Con Esta Copa ("With This Cup") in 1964 on Arnoldo Ramirez label Falcon Records. The single "Con esta copa" became an instant hit in Texas and had heavy airplay, at the time of its release on Epitome. The single was also played in neighboring states.[11] The band released three more records with Falcon until they moved on to Bernal records. On June 29, 1967, Marcella gave birth to their second child and first daughter, Suzette Michelle Quintanilla-Arriaga. By 1969, Los Dino's popularity faded in numbers and their record sales began to decline. Abraham later quit the band, while the rest of the group went on without him.[12]

Los Dinos continued to record music and by 1974, the band recorded twenty 45s and six LP records. The band then officially ended their careers.[12]

New life and Selena y Los Dinos: 1975-1994[]

Main article: Selena y Los Dinos

In the early 1970s, Abraham moved to Lake Jackson and began working full time to support his wife and two kids. Abraham worked for Dow Chemical, while trying to get over his passion for music. While settling in, Marcella was told by doctors that she had a tumor and it needed to be removed. Marcella and Abraham decided to get a second opinion before performing the removal. While visiting a second doctor, Marcella and Abraham were told that she was pregnant. Marcella and Abraham were told that they were going to have another son and picked the name: Marc Antony (Quintanilla). But on Easter Sunday, April 16, 1971; Marcella and Abraham delivered a girl at Freeport Community Hospital. A women who shared the room, offered the name "Selena".[13] One day, while Abraham was teaching his oldest child, A.B. to play a guitar, Selena came in the room and began singing along with her father. Immediately, Abraham noticed that Selena had a gift and wasted no time, and began working on her.[14] Abraham formed a new group, based on his childhood band; Selena y Los Dinos. Abraham, with the help of his former recording studio manager and friend, began recording songs with Selena and began building a foundation of awareness for his children.[15][16]

In 1982, Abraham opened up a Mexican restaurant called PapaGayos ("Parrots") and built a platform for his children to perform in front of costumers, while they enjoy their meals. Shortly after the restaurant opened, it suffered the recession of 1983, and was forced to close. Abraham then took his musical aspirations and re-located back to Corpus Christi, after he was evicted from his home. Selena y Los Dinos, along with Abraham, performed at street corners, parties, weddings, and other social-activities that would offer income for the family. In 1984, Selena y Los Dinos were signed to Freddie Records; they recorded and released their debut album entitled Selena Y Los Dinos. Selena was criticized by Freddie Martinez (CEO of Freddie Records), for being a young female in a male-dominate genre. Abraham moved his children to Cara Records who released their second album The New Girl in Town. The album helped Selena y Los Dinos to appear as musical guests on the Johnny Canales Show.[17][18]

By 1989, Selena released eight long plays on Manny Guerra's independent labels GP Productions and Record Producer Productions. These albums led Selena to win and dominate awards at the Tejano Music Awards, starting in 1986.[19] While performing at the TMA's, Selena caught the eyes of José Behar, the former head of Sony Music Latin. Behar signed Selena with Capitol/EMI.[20] He later said that he signed Selena because he thought he had discovered the next Gloria Estefan. In 1993, Selena won a Grammy Award for "Best Mexican-American Album" for Selena Live!.[3] In 1994, Selena's album Amor Prohibido became the biggest selling Latin album of all time, being certified 20x Platinum (Latin type) by the RIAA for selling over two million copies, while selling over five million copies worldwide.[21] Selena's sales and fan base increased, paving the way for Selena's dream of recording a crossover album in prospective.[16][22]

Death of Selena and personal life: 1995-present[]

Main article: Murder of Selena

On March 31, 1995; Abraham Quintanilla's youngest child, Selena, was murdered by the president of the Selena Fan Club, manager of Selena's boutiques, Selena Etc. and personal friend, Yolanda Saldívar.[20] Selena's death was devastating to Abraham, who began to experience emotional trauma, distress, and depression. Abraham briefly talked about Selena's death with a shaken prosody, on the same day of the incident, on local and international news channels.[23]

Abraham stated throughout numerous interviews that he doesn't hate Saldivar, but hates what she had done.[24] Abraham also stated on CBS's The Early Show to Julie Chen that "time heals all wounds" in 2002 with the start of the 20 Years of Music Collection. After Selena's death, Abraham has been involved in every development of albums, documentaries, and other productions that involves or talks about Selena.[25] Soon after Selena's death, Abraham Quintanilla and his family started The Selena Foundation, a charitable organization which assists children in crisis.[26] Abraham Quintanilla has appeared in numerous television specials about Selena.[27] Quintanilla continues to produce new acts in the music and film industries with his record company, Q-Productions.[27]


Studio albums
Album information[28]
Los Dinos (The Guys)
    • Released: 1963?
Con Esta Copa (With This Cup)
    • Released: 1964
The Dinos (Falcon release)
    • Released: 1965
    • Released: 1962?
Unknown fifth release (Bernal release)
    • Released: 1967?
Unknown sixth release (Bernal release)
    • Released: 1974?


Year Film Role Notes
1997 Selena Executive Producer
1997 Selena Remembered Producer
2003 Greatest Hits DVD Producer
Year Title Role Notes
1995–present Tejano Music Awards himself, receiving awards for Selena TV appearances
1998? American Justice: Selena episode himself
1998 Behind The Music: Selena the movie himself
1999 Corpus: A Home Video for Selena himself
2004 Noche de estrellas: Premio lo Nuestro 2004 himself, receiving awards for Selena
2005 Don Francisco presenta himself
2005 Selena: Noche de estrellas himself
2005 Selena !VIVE! himself
2005 Selena ¡vive!, acceso total himself
2007 Selena: Queen of Tejano himself
2007 Making of Selena: 10 Years Later himself



  • ^a in the book Como La Flor written by Joe Nick Patoski, "Los Dinos" sold 150,00 copies which the book states Manny Guerra may over exaggerated on the record sales of the single.[29]

Portrayals in dramatizations[]

1997 film[]

In the 1997 film Selena, Abraham Quintanilla Jr. is portrayed by Edward James Olmos.

2020 Netflix series[]

Main article: Abraham Quintanilla Jr./Netflix series

In the 2020 Netflix series Selena: The Series, Abraham Quintanilla Jr. is portrayed by Ricardo Chavira.

External links[]


  1. Richomd page 36
  2. Richmond page 46
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Sam Howe Verhovek (April 1, 1995). "Grammy Winning Singer Selena Killed in Shooting at Texas Motel". The New York Times: p. 1. 
  4. Richmond page 202
  5. Patoski page 2
  6. 6.0 6.1 Patoski page 9
  7. 7.0 7.1 Patoski page 33
  8. Patoski page 10
  9. Patoski page 22
  10. Patoski page 23
  11. Patoski page 29
  12. 12.0 12.1 Patoski page 30
  13. Patoski page 34
  14. Patoski page 37
  15. Patoski page 38
  16. 16.0 16.1 Patoski page 39
  17. Patoski page 40
  18. Patoski page 42
  19. "Fans, Family Remember Selena"., October 17, 2002. Retrieved on July 9, 2006.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Mitchell, Rick. "Selena". Houston Chronicle, May 21, 1995. Retrieved on February 1, 2008.
  21. RIAA Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - Amor Prohibido.
  22. Patoski page 47
  23. Richmond page 36
  24. Richmond page 248
  25. Richmond page 201
  26. "The Selena Foundation". Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  27. 27.0 27.1 "Management of Q-Productions". Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  28. 30th Tejano Music Awards (in Spanish). 11 July 2010. 80 minutes in.
  29. Patoski page 8
  • Joe Nick Patoski. Selena Como La Flor. Little Brown and Company. ISBN 0316693782. 
  • Clint Richmond. Selena: The Phenomenal Life and Tragic Death of the Tejano Music Queen/Selena!. Pocket Books. ISBN 0671545221.