Danny Trejo (born May 16, 1944 in Los Angeles, United States) is a Mexican-American Hollywood actor, who has appeared in many Hollywood movies.
Trejo is of Mexican descent and is a native of the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. His life as a youngster wasn't easy; he roamed the streets around his home area while committing various crimes and became addicted to drugs. He was in and out of jail many times as a teenager.
While on the streets, Trejo developed talent as a boxer and considered taking up boxing as a profession. That ambition was dashed by a lengthy prison sentence. While serving time in San Quentin State Prison, he became the California state prison champion in both the lightweight and welterweight divisions. During this time, Trejo also successfully completed a 12-step rehabilitation program which helped him leave behind the lifestyle of crime and drugs.
While speaking at a recovery meeting in 1985, Trejo met a young man in the movie business. His newfound friend invited him to the set of Runaway Train, where Trejo was offered a job as an extra. Edward Bunker, himself a former convict and well-respected crime author who was writing the screenplay for the film, recognized Trejo, whom he had done time with at San Quentin. Remembering Trejo's boxing skills, he offered Trejo $350 per day to train Eric Roberts, one of the movie's stars, for a boxing scene. Director Andrei Konchalovsky liked Trejo's work and decided to offer him a prominent role in the film.
Since then, Trejo has turned away from his violent past life and become an actor, acting alongside some of Hollywood's most famous actors, including Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage, Charles Bronson, George Clooney, Edward Furlong, John Malkovich, Robert De Niro and Antonio Banderas. Trejo has often appeared in five or more movies per year in various genres. Major releases in which he has acted include Anaconda, xXx, Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Heat, From Dusk Till Dawn, Con Air, Six Days Seven Nights, Spy Kids, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, All Souls Day and The Devil's Rejects.
Trejo is known for his very distinctive appearance. In addition to his heavily lined face (usually sporting a long mustache), he has displayed the large tattoo on his chest for many roles (the tattoo depicts a woman wearing a sombrero). He often plays thugs or lowlife characters, although he has displayed range as a good guy with films such as Robert Rodriguez's Spy Kids trilogy, Bubble Boy and an amusing guest appearance on the USA Network series Monk with art imitating life as a convict roommate to Tony Shalhoub's undercover detective. He also plays the characters Enrique and Octavio on King of the Hill.
The independent film Champion was released in 2005, documenting Trejo's life and featuring appearances by friends and associates from the film industry.
Trejo appears as a playable character in Def Jam: Fight for NY, a fighting game to which the actor lent his voice and likeness. He had previously lent his voice to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002) and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006) for the character Umberto Robina, who also resembles Trejo somewhat.
His next project, "Jack's Law" written by Jeff Hawker and directed by Gil Medina, is due in the fall of 2006. Trejo plays the main character, Jack Santos, whose life is torn apart by the murder of his wife and daughter. The undercover vice cop takes a turn to the dark side, but a planned sequel suggests he lives through it.
Trejo will also voice the character of Rico in Rob Zombie's upcoming animated film The Haunted World of El Superbeasto as well as star alongside Steven Seagal in Once Upon A Time In The Hood.
Trejo is married to Debbie Trejo. He has three children: Danny Boy (b. 1981, from a previous marriage), Gilbert (b. 1988), and Danielle (b. 1990). He is the cousin of director Robert Rodríguez and often appears in his movies.
- Trejo has said that he is amazed when he walks the streets where he used to commit crimes and children ask him for autographs. He also pointed out that he often chooses to play bad guys to teach young children that bad guys often die.
- Trejo is the only actor to appear in all three From Dusk Till Dawn movies, although he played two different characters.
- Many of Trejo's characters in Robert Rodriguez movies have been named after knives or sharp instruments: Machete in Spy Kids, Razor Charlie and Razor Eddie in the From Dusk Till Dawn movies, and Navajas (Spanish for knives) in Desperado. He will also play a character called Machete in Rodriguez's upcoming film collaboration with Quention Tarantino: Grind House.