#RespectYourElders, Danny Trejo, 76, is a Mexican-American actor and entrepreneur. He’s acted in popular movies like “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” and “Machete,” as well as famous shows such as “Breaking Bad” and “Family Guy.”
Trejo was born in Los Angeles in 1944. At a very young age, he began to struggle with drugs and alcohol, which led to him spending eleven years in and out of jail and correctional facilities. While Trejo certainly made mistakes in his youth, he reached a fork in the road and decided it was time to change his life. After receiving his high school diploma, Trejo spent the next 15 years as a drug counselor helping others overcome the obstacles that he had faced.
Trejo’s first break into the film industry came when he showed up to the set of “Runaway Train” in 1985 to support one of his patients, a production assistant who was struggling with substance abuse. Screenwriter Edward Bunker recognized Trejo from time spent at San Quentin State Prison, as Trejo was a champion lightweight and welterweight boxer while serving time. He was offered a role to train one of the movie stars, before later being offered a small part in the film.
The actor’s career picked up significantly in the 90s when he appeared in films such as “Desperado,” “From Dusk Till Dawn,” and “Heat,” which included well known actors Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Trejo often portrays antagonists in his roles, but he’s also done more light-hearted acting, including in “Spy Kids,” “King of the Hill,” and even “Desperate Housewives.” Now, Trejos holds over 300 credits across television and film.
Trejo also stays busy outside of acting. He owns a chain of restaurants across the west coast: Trejo’s Tacos, Trejo’s Cantina and Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts. Trejo is now over 50 years sober, but still regularly attending and speaking in substance recovery communities.
“Everything good that has happened to me has happened as a direct result of helping someone else — everything,” Trejo once said in an interview. “That’s the way I live my life.”