Danny Trejo is the actor who has died the most times in Hollywood movies.
Danny Trejo has been shot, stabbed, crushed, eaten, and tortured … numerous times.
With Air, Zombie Hunter and « The Three-Headed Shark » are just three of the films in which he ended up dead.
If you’re a fan of Breaking Bad, he’s the guy whose head ends up on top of a turtle.
According to a study, this 76-year-old man has died on screen more times than any other actor.
« That shows that I’ve been working, » he jokes.
And even if you did not know his name before reading this, there is no doubt that his face will sound from the hundreds of movies and television shows in which he has appeared.
In the movies, he usually shows off his long tied hair, shows the tattoo on his chest, and is more than likely to carry a gun.
Some of the movies in which Danny Trejo appears are ‘Spy Kids’, ‘Con Air’ and « Muppets 2: Most Wanted ».
« When I was starting to become famous, a good friend of mine said to me, ‘Everybody may think you are a movie star, but you can’t.’ I don’t want to be a movie star. I want to be a good actor, » he says.
He jokes that when he started acting he was always given the role of « number one inmate » due to his physical appearance and attitude.
But many don’t know that, before his film career will start, he was a high-profile prisoner.
It’s the backstory that many of his fans will now uncover in his new documentary Inmate # 1: The Rise of Danny Trejo (« Inmate # 1: Danny Trejo’s Ascent »).
« It is a miracle, because I was not supposed to live beyond the 1960s« he tells the BBC Newsbeat radio program.
Trejo grew up in California, where he started using hard drugs as a teenager, and he was in and out of jail multiple times in the 1960s, on various charges, including armed robbery.
He was a well-known prisoner within the prison system, since became boxing champion at the famous San Quentin State Jail, the oldest in California.
In the documentary, Trejo returns to prison to give motivational talks to inmates.
In « Recluse number 1 » Trejo remembers how he saw a fellow prisoner being stabbed in the back.
« He was walking through the upper courtyard, looking for the knife and coughing up blood; and everyone started laughing. What a crazy place, » he says.
Danny also spent time in two other jails, Soledad and Folsom, and admits that « traveling » to his youth for the documentary was « painful. »
« I remember being in a juvenile detention center and thinking that my life was over. You are being admitted there. I tried to say, ‘No, wait a minute. It is not over. You are just starting,’ » he says.
He decided to change his life, stop getting into trouble and quit drug use.
He became a drug counselor and decided to use his experience to help others.
It was his work on a film set that led to acting in the 1980s.
Since then, he tries to « do good » because he measures success by « waking up and feeling good » instead of counting awards and recognitions.
He knows that his fame influences others and hopes his story inspires younger fans: « It doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you end. »
In the documentary, Trejo is seen going to jails to tell the inmates about his own experience. He claims he smells « fear and anxiety » every time he returns.
« I go out and dream that I’m still in prison. That wakes you up quickly and is a reminder not to get off the right path, » he says.
With age, the actor has more and more work.
One of Trejo’s most famous roles is that of Machete.
A couple of years ago, while on the set of the Adam Sandler movie The Ridiculous 6, someone asked him when he would retire.
« I was playing the role of a cowboy. I don’t see myself retired any time soon. I’m having a lot of fun, » he says.
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