“Machete” star Danny Trejo: Hollywood’s bad ass turns 80

“Machete” star Danny Trejo: Hollywood’s bad ass turns 80

Iconic Hollywood star Danny Trejo found acting late and through detours. Today “Machete” turns 80 years old.

He probably has one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, but his name may not be familiar to many in Germany: The American Danny Trejo (80), born on May 16, 1944 in Los Angeles, primarily appears in Hollywood action films the villain, gangster or prison inmate – and holds the sole record among still living stars with over 40 film deaths across films and series. Trejo’s path to acting was not an easy one.

Jail stays and getting away from drugs

Trejo ended up in prison as a teenager after, among other things, taking heroin for the first time at the age of twelve and committing a seemingly endless series of crimes. The young Trejo was imprisoned in notorious US prisons such as San Quentin and Soledad in the 1960s, where, among other things, he became a boxing champion while serving his time.

Of course, all of this toughened up Trejo, took a toll on his now-iconic face, and later gave him a legendary Hollywood career. But these were not easy years for the later villain actor. Trejo didn’t expect to survive the 1960s.

But with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous’s 12-step program, he was finally able to overcome his alcohol and drug addiction, and says in his 2021 autobiography “Trejo: My Life. Crime, Redemption and Hollywood” about his previous addiction: “Like drinking and drugs provide temporary relief, but there is no problem in life that drugs and alcohol won’t make worse.”

The beginning of Danny Trejo’s acting career

In 1969, Trejo was finally released from prison and began an honest life. However, it would be many years before he found acting. It wasn’t until 1985 that Trejo helped other addicts and in this capacity attended the filming of the action thriller “Runaway Train”. The film crew there became aware of the scarred giant. Like Trejo, an assistant director told him on set: “You have a good look, can you play a convict?”. The start of a great career.

In the following years, Trejo appeared in series and films in quick succession and gradually became more and more convincing, even if his supporting characters initially remained nameless in the credits and were simply listed as “prisoner”, “inmate” or “hard prisoner number one”. became.

“When I play this crazy person, I’ve already experienced that,” said the ex-convict. Because of his previous prison experiences, he was able to bring back dark places in his memory that he actually didn’t want to be in anymore.

Over time, Trejo could be seen in better and better films, convincing in 1995 alongside Robert De Niro (80) in “Heat” and two years later in the macho festival “Con Air”.

“Machete”: Danny Trejo’s most iconic role

During the 1990s, Trejo also appeared in front of the camera for US director Robert Rodriguez (55) – in the genre classic “Desperado” and in the vampire fun “From Dusk Till Dawn”. It was Rodriguez who ultimately created Trejo’s most iconic character, the verging on parody Latino action hero Isador “Machete” Cortez.

Machete first became known to a wider audience through a fake trailer in the film double “Grindhouse” by Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino (61). In 2010, the full-length exploitation comedy “Machete” was released, the story of which essentially follows the “Grindhouse” trailer. The sequel “Machete Kills” was released in cinemas in 2013. In both works, the eternal supporting actor Trejo was finally allowed to take on the leading role. “It’s an honor to be the first Latino superhero,” at the launch of “Machete” in 2010 about the character he played.

Source: Stern

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