Character Actor Returns to His Miami Roots

Julio Mechoso back in South Florida for "Magic City Memoirs"

By Hank Tester
|  Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011  |  Updated 1:30 PM EDT
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Julio Mechoso has been in more movies than most actors and has graced your TV in several TV shows. You've seen the face but you've probably never heard this South Florida native's name.

Julio Mechoso has been in more movies than most actors and has graced your TV in several TV shows. You've seen the face but you've probably never heard this South Florida native's name.

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If you're wondering why Julio Mechoso's face looks familiar, it's probably because the actor who grew up in Miami has had a role in 107 films and TV shows plus numerous English and Spanish language commercials.

Mechoso is a self admitted "tough kid," who after skating through high school in Miami went to FIU and got a degree in psychology but he was bitten by the acting bug when he and Andy Garcia met up.

The two acted together in college, and Garcia went on to become a Hollywood Star and producer.

Mechoso struggled with his acting, landed a few roles in Miami including "Que Pasa USA" and a number of roles in "Miami Vice."

He made the move to Hollywood and was able to build a career as a character actor who has now established himself as one of the premiere "working actors."
His roles are not large but are usually memorable and pivotal in plot lines.

His big break came in "All the Pretty Horses" starring Brad Pitt and Penolope Cruz. That role lead to a friendship with Robert Duvall, who included Mechoso in several of his projects including "Assassination Tango."

Mechoso, who maintains close ties with friends and family in Miami, has often appeared as "a bad guy" -- a killer, a hood, a sadistic prison guard -- and yet in person he is easy going, with a disarming smile.

"I can just get into emotions," he says. "I study roles. When I was playing an anthropologist I read five books about anthropology."

Mechoso can play any role from priest to creep roles in Robert Rodriguez's "Grindhouse" movies. He's not a star but he makes a good living in the film industry and he is one of those guys when you meet you know you have seen him before your just not sure where.

Mechoso was in town for the premiere of "Magic City Memoirs" at the Miami International Film Festival over the weekend. The film, executive produced by Garcia, takes a look at the perils of growing up in Miami.

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