Dan "Danny" Trejo, Jr. (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtɾexo]; born May 16, 1944) is an American actor who has appeared in numerous Hollywood films, notable for roles as an antagonist or anti-hero.

Early life

Born Dan Trejo, Jr.[1] in Livermore, California,[2] as the son of Alice Rivera and Dan Trejo, a construction worker.[3][4] He is of Mexican descent.[5] He is a cousin of filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, though the two were unaware that they were related until the filming of Desperado.[6] Trejo was raised in the Pacoima neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley. As a youth, he roamed the streets around his home area, committing various petty crimes with his uncle and becoming addicted to heroin. He was arrested numerous times as an adolescent.

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 became a member of a twelve-step program, which he credits with his success in overcoming drug addiction.


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 $320 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, Bubble Boy, Anaconda, Marked for Death, 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, Predators, Urban Justice, The Devil's Rejects, Valley of Angels, Delta Farce, Grindhouse, Rob Zombie's Halloween and Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror.

File:Danny Trejo 2.jpg

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 voices the character Enrique, and Octavio's character is based on his appearance 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. He also is featured in an episode of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and an episode of Do IT LIVE alongside actors Anna Bennett and Claudia Pickering, shot in Downtown Los Angeles, by the name of Sebring feat. Danny Trejo. Trejo also had a guest role in the award-winning series Breaking Bad in 2009 and 2010.

The award winning independent film CHAMPION. was released in 2007, documenting Trejo's life. The film features Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Steve Buscemi and Robert Rodriguez. 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 voiced the character of Rico in Rob Zombie's animated film The Haunted World of El Superbeasto as well as starring alongside Steven Seagal in Urban Justice. He is now portraying the Mexican bartender in the daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless. He will voice Raul the Ghoul in the upcoming Fallout: New Vegas.

Regarding his continued growth as a professional actor, Trejo 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'".[7]

Many of Trejo's characters in Robert Rodriguez movies have been named after knives or sharp instruments: Machete in Spy Kids, Razor Eddie in the From Dusk till Dawn series, Navajas (Spanish for blades) in Desperado, and Cuchillo (Spanish for knife) in Predators.[8] He also plays another character called Machete in a trailer made for Rodriguez's film collaboration with Quentin Tarantino, Grindhouse, though this Machete is not related to the Spy Kids character. In 2010, he starred in a full theatrical version of Machete, based on the character.

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 in Sepultura video "Attitude" in 1996.

He is also slated to appear in the upcoming PlayStation Move game The Fight: Lights Out as an instructor for the player's character.

Personal life

Trejo is married to Debbie Shreve. He has four children: Danny Boy (b. 1981), Gilbert (b. 1988), Danielle (b. 1990) and Jose (b. 1991), 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 Drug Wars: The Camarena Story Gabriel TV mini-series
Guns Tong
Maniac Cop 2 Prisoner
Marked for Death Hector
1991 The Last Hour Spider
Mi Vida Loca
Whore Tattoo Artist
Wedlock Tough Prisoner #1
Femme Fatale Toshi
Carnal Crimes Chandra
Lonely Hearts Angry Client
Baywatch Carlos Urueta TV; episode Point of Attack
1992 Reasonable Doubts Cholo #2 TV; episode The Shadow of Death
Nails Las Virgenes bartender TV film
Baywatch Chulo TV; episode Masquerade
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
Last Light 2nd Inmate 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
Fallen Angels Boxer TV; episode Love and Blood
Heat Trejo
1996 From Dusk till Dawn Razor Charlie
Renegade Freddie TV; episode Hog Calls
NYPD Blue Gabriel Mota TV; episode Hollie and the Blowfish
Le Jaguar Arjun
1997 Los Locos Manuel Batista
Anaconda Poacher
Con Air Johnny 23
Trojan War Scarface
Dilemma Rudy Salazar
1998 Tracey Takes On... Hispanic Man TV; two episodes
Brooklyn South Louis TV; episode Skel in a Cell
Walker, Texas Ranger Joe Lopez TV; episode Circle of Life
Point Blank Wallace
The Replacement Killers Collins
Six Days Seven Nights Pierce
Champions Max Brito
Soundman Duce's Father
NYPD Blue Frankie Soto TV; episode Numb & Number
1999 From Dusk till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money Razor Eddie
Inferno Johnny Six Toes a.k.a. Desert Heat
Walker, Texas Ranger José Rodriguez TV; episode Rise to the Occasion
2000 From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter Razor Charlie
Animal Factory Vito
Reindeer Games Jumpy
The X-Files Spider-Man/Cesar Ocampo TV; episode Redrum
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
The District Danny TV; episode Convictions
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
Kingpin Manny TV mini-series
Alias Emilio Vargas TV; episode Countdown
The Brothers García Eduardo 'Ed' Garcia TV; episode It Was Fun While It Lasted
Double Blade El Patron short film
King of the Hill Enrique (voice only) TV; 17 episodes; 2003–2010
2004 Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Bartender
Def Jam: Fight for NY Trejo (voice only) video game
Lost Edward James Archer
Grounded for Life Raul TV; episode (She's Got) Kegs
Monk Spyder Rudner TV; episode Mr. Monk Goes to Jail
Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie Bartender
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)
George Lopez Bobby TV; episode George's Extreme Makeover: Holmes Edition
Chasing Ghosts Carlos Santiago
High Hopes Shady formerly Nice Guys
Champion. Himself
The Devil's Rejects Rondo
The Crow: Wicked Prayer Harold A catholic-indian priest, chief of a Puerto-Rican gang. Usually dances naked.
Venice Underground Papi
Dreaming on Christmas Train Driver
Desperate Housewives Hector Ramos TV; episode The Sun Won't Set
2006 Furnace Fury
TV: The Movie Crow
Propensity Roy
Sherrybaby Dean Walker
Living the Dream Chuck
Danny Roane: First Time Director Hector
Heist Ernesto TV; episode How Billy Got His Groove Back
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
The Knights of Prosperity Hector TV; episode Operation: Open the Safe
Halloween Ismael Cruz
Battle for Terra Elder Barum (voice only)
The Blue Rose Junk
Urban Justice El Chivo
Stargate: Atlantis Omal TV; episode Missing
On Bloody Sunday The Ref
Blood Ties Pacha Kamaq TV; episode Wrapped
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
The Young and the Restless Bartender TV; 15 episodes
2009 The Grind Nicholi Guzman
Fanboys The Chief
The Spectacular Spider-Man Ox (voice only) TV; episode Probable Cause
The Haunted World of El Superbeasto Rico (voice only)
Modus Operandi Director Holiday
The Boys of Ghost Town Father
Eyeborgs G-Man
Breaking Bad Tortuga TV; episode Negro Y Azul
2010 The Killing Jar Jimmy
Shoot the Hero Crazy Joe
Burn Notice Vega TV; episode Friendly Fire
Breaking BadTortuga TV; episode I.F.T.
Shadows in Paradise Matador
Boston Girls Uncle Reggie
Pastor Shepherd Phil Harrison
Saint John of Las Vegas Bismarck
The Bill Collector Uncle Frankie
Lean Like a Cholo The O.G.
Fallout: New Vegas (video game) Raul
Food Stamps Mr. Fernandez
Sebring feat. Danny Trejo Danny Trejo Do IT LIVE webisode, season 1
Dark Games Archie
The Devil Inside Mondo
Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Suspect TV; episode Comedy
Predators Cuchillo
North by El Norte Uncle John forthcoming film
Beatdown TBA forthcoming film
Machete Machete Cortez first leading role
Vengeance forthcoming film
2011 Death Race: Frankenstein Lives Goldberg forthcoming film
A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas forthcoming film
2012 Vengeance II forthcoming film

Cultural references

Plastilina Mosh, a Mexican alternative rock band, paid tribute to Trejo with their song "Danny Trejo", featured in their album All U Need Is Mosh. Trejo is also featured in the 2004 hip-hop fighting game Def Jam: Fight for NY as a soldier to Crow's side. Crow is voiced by and his looks are captured by Snoop Dogg.

ITN Clothing

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


  1. 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. Searchable at
  2. Beale, Lewis (2007-05-09). "He ain't that bad". Daily News (New York). 
  3. Danny Trejo Biography (1944-)
  4. Danny Trejo Biography - Yahoo! Movies
  5. Danny Trejo Talks 'Predators,' 'Machete' and The Jonas Brothers
  7. Danny Trejo: The illustrated man
  8. Meet Danny Trejo as the Badass Cuchillo in New 'Predators' Character Profile

External links

ar:داني تريجو

da:Danny Trejoeu:Danny Trejoit:Danny Trejo hu:Danny Trejo nl:Danny Trejono:Danny Trejo pl:Danny Trejoru:Трехо, Дэнни sr:Дани Трехо fi:Danny Trejo sv:Danny Trejo tr:Danny Trejo

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