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Danny Trejo (born May 16, 1944) is an Americanmarker character actor who has appeared in many Hollywood movies, usually known for his tough guy roles.

Early life

Trejo (pronounced Treh-ho), a Mexican-American, was born Dan Trejo, Jr. in Los Angelesmarker, the son of Alice Rivera and Dan Trejo, a construction worker. He is a cousin of filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and is from the Echo Parkmarker neighborhood of Los Angelesmarker. As a youth, he roamed the streets around his home area, committing various crimes with his uncle and becoming 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 Prisonmarker, he became the Californiamarker state prison champion in both the lightweight and welterweight divisions. During this time, Trejo became a member of a twelve-step program, which he credits with his success in overcoming drug addiction.

Career

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, with whom he had done time 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 become a prolific actor in both films and television, acting alongside some of Hollywood's most famous actors, including Jean-Claude Van Damme, Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Nicolas Cage, Charles Bronson, George Clooney, John Malkovich, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Val Kilmer, 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 Blood in Blood Out, Animal Factory, Anaconda, xXx, Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Heat, From Dusk till Dawn, Con Air, Six Days Seven Nights, Spy Kids, The Replacement Killers, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The Devil's Rejects, Valley of Angels, Delta Farce, Grindhouse, Rob Zombie's Halloween and Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror.

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 also played protagonists in films such as Robert Rodriguez's Spy Kids trilogy, Bubble Boy and a guest appearance on the USA Network series Monk with art imitating life as a convict roommate to Tony Shalhoub's undercover detective. He also appeared in an episode of Desperate Housewives in Season 2, sent by Carlos to help Gabrielle deal with her grief of losing her unborn baby (another good-guy character). He also plays the characters Enrique and Octavio on King of the Hill. His role on King of the Hill was referenced in the HBO series Unscripted in which he appears in a quick cameo.

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 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories for the character Umberto Robina, who also resembles Trejo. Trejo will next 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 Urban Justice. He is now portraying the Mexican bartender in the daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless.

In regards to his continued growth as a professional actor, he has stated that he still can't believe how fortunate he's been. "I'm so blessed. I'm still scared that somebody's going to wake me up and say, 'Hey, we're still in prison. Let's go to chow'".

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 also plays another character called Machete in a trailer made for Rodriguez's film collaboration with Quentin Tarantino, Grindhouse, though it is unclear if this Machete is related to the Spy Kids character. He is set to star in a full theatrical version of the film of the same name, based on the character. As a character actor whose name is still not widely known by many movie-goers, he is popularly known as "The Knife Guy" by many, due to the fact that he often plays characters who are skilled with knives.

He has also made cameo appearances in music videos such as, in rapper Tech N9ne's video for the single, "Like Yeah," from his 2008 release Killer, Rehab's 2007 song "Bartender", Jay Chou's short movie-music video "Double Blade" from his 2003 album Ye Hui Mei, and the Jonas Brothers' "Burnin' Up" from their album A Little Bit Longer. and there.

Personal life

Trejo is married to Debbie Trejo. He has three children: Danny Boy (b. 1981), Gilbert (b. 1988), and Danielle (b. 1990), who are all from previous relationships.

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 younger audiences that bad guys often die or go to prison, and that one should try to live a decent life.

Trejo often speaks in front of youth groups and at colleges, and encourages young people to avoid making the mistakes he did while growing up.

Partial filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1985 Runaway Train Boxer
1987 Penitentiary III See Veer
The Hidden Prisoner
Death Wish 4: The Crackdown Art Sanella
1988 Bulletproof Sharkey
1989 Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects Prison Inmate
Lock Up Chink's Gang Member
Bail Out Mean a.k.a. W.B., Blue and the Bean
1990 Guns Tong
Maniac Cop 2 Prisoner
Marked for Death Hector
1991 The Last Hour Spider
Whore Tattoo Artist
Wedlock Tough Prisoner #1
Femme Fatale Toshi
Carnal Crimes Ticket Agent
Lonely Hearts Angry Client
1992 Nails Las Virgenes bartender TV film
1993 Sunset Grill Young Mexican
Blood in Blood Out Geronimo a.k.a. Bound by Honor
Doppelganger Hard Hat
Mi Vida Loca Frank
12:01 Prisoner TV film
Love, Cheat & Steal Cuban
1994 Criminal Passion Construction Worker
Against The Wall Luis TV film
1995 Dead Badge El Tango Bartender
The Stranger Hawk
Desperado Navajas
Heat Trejo
1996 From Dusk till Dawn Razor Charlie
Le Jaguar Kumare
1997 Los Locos Manuel Batista
Anaconda Poacher
Con Air Johnny 23
Trojan War Scarface
Dilemma Rudy Salazar
1998 The Replacement Killers Collins
Point Blank Wallace
Six Days Seven Nights Pierce
Champions Max Brito
Soundman Duce's Father
1999 From Dusk till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money Razor Eddie
Desert Heat Johnny Six Toes a.k.a. Inferno
2000 From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter Razor Charlie
Animal Factory Vito
Reindeer Games Jumpy
2001 Spy Kids Machete
Bubble Boy Slim
Skippy Hitman
2002 13 Moons Hoodlum #2
The Salton Sea Little Bill
Do It for Uncle Manny Pedro
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams Machete Cortez
xXx El Jefe
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Umberto Robina (voice only) video game
The Hire: Beat the Devil Bob short film
Nightstalker Officer Frank Luis
2003 Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Machete
Once Upon a Time in Mexico Cucuy
Double Blade El Patron short film
2004 Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Bartender
Def Jam: Fight for NY Trejo (voice only) video game
Lost Edward James Archer
2005 All Souls Day Vargas Diaz a.k.a. All Souls Day: Dia de los Muertos
Tennis, Anyone...? Hector
The Curse of El Charro El Charro (voice only)
Chasing Ghosts Carlos Santiago
The Devil's Rejects Rondo
The Crow: Wicked Prayer Harold
Venice Underground Papi
Dreaming on Christmas Train Driver
2006 Furnace Fury
TV: The Movie Unknown
Propensity Roy
Sherrybaby Dean Walker
Nice Guys Shady a.k.a. High Hopes
Living the Dream Chuck
Danny Roane: First Time Director Hector
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories Umberto Robina (voice only) video game
Hood of Horror Derelict a.k.a. Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror
Seven Mummies Apache
Slayer Montegna TV film
Haunted Prison Priest TV film; a.k.a. Death Row
2007 Smiley Face Albert
Grindhouse Machete segment: Machete
Delta Farce Carlos Santana
Halloween Ismael Cruz
Battle for Terra Elder Barum (voice only)
The Blue Rose Junk
Urban Justice El Chivo
On Bloody Sunday The Ref
2008 Valley of Angels Hector
Through the Valley Don Reyes
Richard III Major
The Art of Travel Limo Driver
Jake's Corner Clint
Ranchero Capone
Toxic Antoine
Alone in the Dark II Perry
La Linea Mario
Necessary Evil Barro
2009 The Grind Nicholi Guzman
Shadows in Paradise Shadow Company member
Fanboys The Chief
The Haunted World of El Superbeasto Rico (voice only)
Modus Operandi Director Holiday
Shoot the Hero Crazy Joe
Eyeborgs G-Man
2010 Machete Machete forthcoming film
Predators Cuchillo forthcoming film


Cultural References

Plastilina Mosh, a mexicanmarker alternative rock band, payed tribute to Trejo with their song "Danny Trejo", featured in their album All You Need is Mosh.

ITN Clothing

In addition to his acting career, Danny Trejo is also the founder of ITN Clothing, which offers hip-hop style T-shirts and accessories.

References

  1. Former 'predator' Danny Trejo is a kids' favorite - Latino - NY Daily News
  2. His birthname is simply "Dan", according to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. At Ancestry.com
  3. Danny Trejo Biography (1944-)
  4. Danny Trejo Biography - Yahoo! Movies
  5. Danny Trejo: The illustrated man
  6. Danny Trejo Scores a Role in 'Predators' Remake, Script Review!


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