Chances are high that you’ve seen Danny Trejo before, as his IMDB page lists him as having worked on close to 200 television programming episodes and movies. Many of those roles were those of a menacing, heavily tattooed tough guy with a weathered and scarred face: the kind of guy you don’t really want to meet in a dark alley. Trejo has starred in many noteworthy movies such as Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror, Con-Air, The Devil’s Rejects, Desperado, and From Dusk Till Dawn. Of course some of Danny Trejo’s roles have showcased his “softer” side, such as his role of the empathetic mental hospital worker who looked after Michael Myers in Rob Zombie’s Halloween in 2007. His television appearances include work on Baywatch in 1991 and 1992 and for fifteen episodes of The Young and the Restless he played a bartender back in 2008. He has appeared in comedies such as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Bubble Boy, which evidences his versatility as an actor.
Danny Trejo didn’t always aspire to be an actor and producer, in fact he actually spent time in prison and entered acting almost by chance. His story is one that shows the power of change, of hope, and that you can’t always judge a book by its cover.
Danny Trejo was born in Los Angeles, California on May 16, 1944. Growing up in East L.A., Trejo became addicted to drugs (it is largely reported he was a heroin addict and alcoholic). He also became involved in crime, a lifestyle which propelled him into the California prison system for drug and robbery convictions. While serving a sentence in San Quentin, Danny took out his frustrations and released his energy through boxing, winning numerous welterweight and lightweight boxing titles. He completed a 12-step program in order to overcome his addictions before being released from prison in 1969. Determined not to become another repeat offender statistic, Danny Trejo used his experiences to help others through working as a drug counselor and by speaking at Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Trejo’s work as a drug counselor helped to launch his film career. It was by chance that Danny was called to help someone who was struggling with addiction on the set of Runaway Train in 1985. Trejo’s hardcore looks scored him a job as an extra while there, but fate wasn’t through working its magic just yet. Crime author and former San Quentin inmate Edward Bunker was working on the screenplay and remembered Trejo’s formidable boxing skills from prison, so he offered Trejo $350 to $380 daily to help develop Eric Roberts’ boxing skills for a scene. Trejo impressed the film’s director Andrei Konchalovsky so much that he was then offered a role in the film. Since then, Danny Trejo’s Hollywood resume has continued to grow. While he mainly plays villains or characters with a rough exterior, Danny Trejo continues to counsel inner city children in an effort to dissuade them from making some of the same mistakes that he did.
Danny Trejo is scheduled to star in one of fall’s most anticipated movies, Machete. Directed and written by Danny’s cousin Robert Rodriguez, the film also stars Robert DeNiro, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, and Cheech Marin.
Encyclopedia II-Experience Festival