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Danny Trejo

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Also Known As: Daniel Trejo Died:
Born: May 16, 1944 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA Profession: actor, producer, counselor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

For over two decades, casting agents looking for an actor who could convincingly portray the baddest of the bad went to one man - Danny Trejo, whose muscular, tattooed frame and leathery face bespoke volumes about violence and vice in films including "Heat" (1995), "Desperado" (1995) and "Machete" (2010). The conviction behind his performances was due in part to his own life, which was spent partly behind bars; after his release, a chance encounter with a fellow ex-con on the set of "Runaway Train" (1985) led to a long list of bit parts as crooks and killers. His ubiquity and unquestionable authenticity made him a favorite of moviegoers and directors alike, including Michael Mann, Allison Anders and his cousin, Robert Rodriguez, who cast him in nearly all of his films, including a comic turn in his lighthearted "Spy Kids" franchise. In 2010, Rodriguez paid Trejo the ultimate compliment by making him an action hero in "Machete," a gore-soaked tribute to '70s-era grindhouse films. The picture only solidified Trejo's status as one of the toughest talents on the planet.

For over two decades, casting agents looking for an actor who could convincingly portray the baddest of the bad went to one man - Danny Trejo, whose muscular, tattooed frame and leathery face bespoke volumes about violence and vice in films including "Heat" (1995), "Desperado" (1995) and "Machete" (2010). The conviction behind his performances was due in part to his own life, which was spent partly behind bars; after his release, a chance encounter with a fellow ex-con on the set of "Runaway Train" (1985) led to a long list of bit parts as crooks and killers. His ubiquity and unquestionable authenticity made him a favorite of moviegoers and directors alike, including Michael Mann, Allison Anders and his cousin, Robert Rodriguez, who cast him in nearly all of his films, including a comic turn in his lighthearted "Spy Kids" franchise. In 2010, Rodriguez paid Trejo the ultimate compliment by making him an action hero in "Machete," a gore-soaked tribute to '70s-era grindhouse films. The picture only solidified Trejo's status as one of the toughest talents on the planet.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
3.
 Bullet (2014)
4.
 Night Crew, The (2014)
5.
 In the Blood (2014)
6.
7.
 20ft Below (2014)
8.
 Machete Kills (2013)
9.
 Sushi Girl (2013)
10.
 Cloth, The (2013)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Turned on to marijuana at the age of 8 by an uncle
:
Served nine years in California's toughest prisons for armed robbery and selling narcotics
:
Became undefeated boxing champ at San Quentin in spite of being a heroin addict and alcoholic at the time
:
Joined Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous; prowess as a speaker made him a star on the AA and NA circuit
1969:
Paroled from prison
1985:
Feature film debut in "Runaway Train"; paid $380 a day to teach Eric Roberts to box and to fight him in film
1993:
Returned to San Quentin, playing a convict in Taylor Hackford's prison drama "Bound By Honor"; experience put him on a therapist's couch, diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome
1994:
Awarded a much-needed furlough from prison films to play an Echo Park junkie in Allison Anders' "Mi Vida Loca/My Crazy Life"
1995:
Landed role of Certain Doom, the dagger-throwing assassin, in Robert Rodriguez's "Desperado"
1995:
Originally hired as a consultant for Michael Mann's "Heat"; had always wanted to rob an armored car in life and Mann let him do it as an actor
1996:
Portrayed Razor Charlie in Rodriguez's "From Dusk Till Dawn"
1997:
Third film with Jon Voight, "Anaconda" (also appeared with Voight in "Runaway Train" and "Heat")
1997:
Played Johnny 23, the third most psychotic member of the planeload of escaped convicts, in "Con-Air"
1998:
Appeared in "The Replacement Killers," starring Mira Sorvino and Chow Yun-Fat
2000:
Made producing debut with "The Animal Factory"; debuted at Sundance
2000:
Formed Starburst, a production company; announced debut project "Devil's Punchbowl"
2002:
Cast as Machete in "Spy Kids 2: The Island Of Lost Dreams"
2002:
Appeared in the action film "xXx" with Vin Diesel
2002:
Portrayed Cucuy in "Once Upon A Time In Mexico"
2006:
Cast as a 12-step veteran opposite Maggie Gyllenhaal in "Sherrybaby"
2007:
Featured in a fake trailer for "Machete" that appeared in the Rodriguez-Tarantino double feature collaboration "Grindhouse"
2007:
Cast with Snoop Dogg in the animated feature "Hood of Horror"
2007:
Cast in Rob Zombie's remake of the classic horror film "Halloween"
2010:
Appeared in "Predators," a sequel to cult favorites "Predator" (1987) and "Predator 2" (1990) about an elite group of warriors hunted by a merciless alien race
2010:
Starred as an ex-Federale who seeks revenge against his former boss in "Machete," directed by Ethan Maniquis and Robert Rodriguez
2011:
Appeared in "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas"
2011:
Began appearing on "Sons of Anarchy"
2012:
Starred as the title character in "Bad Ass"
2013:
Returned to play Machete in "Machete Kills"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

While in prison, Trejo became involved with a program called the Narcotics Prevention Project in East Los Angeles. From there he started working for Western Pacific Rehab and is still working for them.

About his first experience on a movie set, "Runaway Train": "All these guys were dressed in prison clothes and they've got these big tattoos and they were, yeah, tougher than you. It was cute. This guy asked me if I wanted to be in the movies. I said, 'What do I do ?'

He said, 'You want to be an extra?' I said, 'An extra what?' I'd never been on a movie set before. He said, 'Can you act like a convict?' It was the funniest thing I'd ever heard. I'd been in Soledad, San Quentin, Folsom, Vacaville, Susanville, Sierra--and here's a guy asking can you act like a convict. I remember I said, 'I'll give it a shot.'" --Danny Trejo in THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE, June 8, 1997

"I don't think anybody really changes that much. You just do different things. I mean, I still walk into a bank sometimes and think, 'Damn, this'd be easy to take down.' But then I think of my kids and my responsibilities, and I realize I don't have the nerve anymore." --Trejo to MOVIEMAKER, August-October 1997

"I always say:'The first half of my life was a character study for the second half of my life.' For a lot of people, acting was their destiny. They were supposed to be actors. I was supposed to be dead. What's so cool about the acting is that now when I go into a high school to talk to these kids, I've immediately got their attention. It's like God gave me this hook - this face, as a hook. That's what allows me to stop these kids from doing the things I did and winding up where I was...this face."--Trejoe Entertainment Weekly April 2002

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Debbie.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Dan. Construction worker.
mother:
Alice. Homemaker.
son:
Danny Boy. Born c. 1982.
son:
Gilbert. Born c. 1988.
daughter:
Danielle. Born c. 1995.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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