A Biography for Danny Trejo
Danny Trejo is an American film actor born on May 16, 1944. He has appeared in many films, usually as a villain or antihero. His most memorable films include “Con Air,” “Desperado,” “Heat,” and “Machete.” Trejo frequently collaborates with film director Robert Rodriguez.
Trejo was born in Los Angeles and is the son of Dan Trejo and Alice Rivera. Robert Rodriguez is Trejo’s second cousin, although neither man was aware of this relationship until they filmed “Desperado.” Trejo spent much of the 1960s in California prisons and became a champion boxer for the welterweight and lightweight divisions In San Quentin Prison. He also joined a twelve-step program during his incarceration and says that he has been sober since 1969. Trejo enrolled in Pitzer College in Claremont, California, upon his release from prison but left after one semester.
He was speaking at a recovery meeting in 1985 when one of the attendees invited Trejo to watch the filming of “Runaway Train.” He got a job as an extra, and screenwriter Edward Bunker recognized Trejo as a former inmate of San Quentin, where Bunker had also served time. Bunker offered Trejo a job training star Eric Roberts to box. Director Andrei Konchalovsky was also impressed by Trejo and offered him a more prominent role in “Runaway Train.”
Trejo has since appeared in many films with A-list actors such as Charles Bronson, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford, and Robert De Niro. He typically plays small roles, which allows him to routinely appear in five or more films per year. Major films in which Trejo has played a significant role include “Blood In, Blood Out,” “Marked for Death” and “Once Upon a Time in Mexico.”
His first leading role was Machete Cortez in the 2010 action film “Machete,” which was followed by the 2013 sequel, “Machete Kills.” Trejo originally appeared as Machete in a trailer for “Grindhouse,” a B-grade action film directed by Robert Rodriquez and Quentin Tarantino. The trailer was originally intended as a spoof, but it became so popular that Rodriquez decided to make a film based on the character of Machete.
Trejo’s characters, especially those directed by Rodriquez, are often named after sharp instruments. In addition to Machete, Trejo played Razor Charlie in the horror film series “From Dusk till Dawn,” and his character in “Desperado” was named Navajas, which is Spanish for blades. His character in “Predators” was Cuchillo, Spanish for a knife.
He has a heavily lined face and has a long moustache in most of his films, giving Trejo a distinctive appearance. He also has a tattoo on his chest depicting a woman with a sombrero that is visible in some of his films. Trejo usually plays thugs, but he also plays sympathetic characters in films such as “Bubble Boy” and “Spy Kids,” which was directed by Robert Rodriguez.
Trejo has made guest appearances on television series such as “Breaking Bad” in which he played a recurring role in two episodes, one in 2009 and another in 2010. He also played a character similar to himself in “Monk,” an action-comedy series starring Tony Shalhoub. Trejo played an inmate at San Quentin prison, who was Monk’s roommate. He was also a good guy in an episode of “Desperate Housewives,” a television drama series.
He has also performed extensive voice work. Trejo provided the voice for Enrique on “King of the Hill,” a long-running animated comedy. The character of Octavio on this series is based on Trejo, although he does not voice that character. Trejo’s voice work also includes characters in video games such as “Def Jam,” “Grand Theft Auto,” and “Fallout.” These animated characters often bear a strong resemblance to Trejo.
Trejo has made many cameo appearances in music videos such as “Like Yeah” by rapper Tech N9ne. Additional videos in which Trejo appears to include “Double Blade” by Jay Chou and “Open Your Eyes” by Marylene and the Sons of Disaster. Adult film star Lupe Fuentes also featured Trejo in her music video “We Are the Party.”
CHAMPION, a documentary of Danny Trejo‘s life, was released in 2005. This independent film features Dennis Hopper, Robert Rodriguez, and Val Kilmer. Trejo also discussed his tumultuous life in a 2013 interview with KTTV in his Los Angeles home. He said that he couldn’t believe how blessed he has been in his career and personal life. He added that he still expects to wake up in prison. Trejo is currently playing a recurring role as a Mexican bartender in the soap opera “The Young and the Restless.”