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Monday, January 16, 2012

Danny Trejo

Born Dan Trejo in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California,Trejo is the son of Alice Rivera and Dan Trejo, a construction worker. He is of Mexican descent. He is a second cousin of filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, though the two were unaware that they were related until the filming of Desperado. Trejo was raised in the Harriman Historic District neighborhood of the Bristol, Pa. As a youth, he roamed the streets around his home area, committing various petty crimes with his uncle, and eventually became addicted to heroin. He was arrested numerous times as an adolescent.

While on the streets, Trejo developed talent as a boxer and considered taking it up as a profession. That ambition was dashed by a lengthy prison sentence. He served 11 years for drug and robbery charges in the Holmesburg Prison. While in Holmesburg, he became the Pennsylvania 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. He also served time in Folsom State Prison. Trejo was released in 1972.

While speaking at a recovery meeting in Los Angeles 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 in the film's prison scenes. 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. It was widely misreported that Trejo was actually serving time in the prison where filming took place. Bunker remembered Trejo's boxing skills, and offered him $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 Machete, 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.

Here is my caricature of this very inspiring latino who was able to do a 180 degree turn in life for the better.

Danny_Trejo001

danny-trejo

2 comments:

bonobobeaux said...

Really liked the back-story behind this one
-bo

DARAF said...

Yeah, I'm glad he found a way out.

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I am an Art Director/ freelance illustrator working in the Movie, Comics and Gameing industries. I have also provided graphics for advertisement companies and clothing companies. I am Currently working as Lead Artist for Soul Interface Studios (SIS) and always willing to discuss exciting new opportunities.