Danny Trejo first smoked marijuana at age 8, drank at age 12, became addicted to heroin as a teenager, and has been in some of the world’s most jails. notorious from America. Today, he is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after stars.
The 77-year-old’s unlikely path to fame began when offered a boxing role in the 1985 film “Runaway Train”. The convicted felon who battled drugs and violence transformed his life for good and found himself dating prominent stars on a regular basis. The character actor, who now has over 380 credits to his credit, has also been sober for over 50 years.
More recently, Trejo teamed up with fellow actor Donal Logue to write his memoir, “Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood,” which details his journey that involved an abusive childhood, a life behind bars, painful loss and find God.
Trejo spoke to Fox News about cleanliness, why he uses his time in prison for inspiration, and how faith continues to play a crucial role in his life.
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Fox News: What inspired you to write a dissertation now?
Danny Trejo: I made a documentary called “Inmate # 1” and it was really well received. But it was a bit superficial about my life. And everyone kept telling me, “Why don’t you write a book? So I had thought about it for a long time, but it seemed like every time I started… it just didn’t look like me.
Donal Logue, who is my dearest friend and who knows me… we trust each other. So we started to write. … And it was like a freedom for me. I wanted to tell people that sometimes you get involved with the wrong crowd. Sometimes you are heartbroken. And it’s not your fault. There are people having fun there. I was broken. I had four beautiful wives and I think they all thought it was their fault. This was not the case. They were awesome. I was broken. It was me.
Fox News: You have been sober for over 50 years. Could you describe that moment when you realized, “I need help? “
Three: I got sober in 1968 in prison. I was then released from prison in 1969… I felt like I had done better, but something was still missing. … I didn’t think that putting myself to marijuana was abuse when I was 8 years old. I thought it was sharing. It was a form of abuse. I did not know. So when you finally start to realize, “Wait a minute, man, that’s not right,” that’s where the healing really begins.
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But I had to do it. I had to clean myself up. I wouldn’t have come to this point in my life if I hadn’t taken this step. I would have remained the same person. Now I tell my kids that I love them every day. I’m going to call them up and say, “I love you and you are the apple of my eye. I guess I’m doing everything my parents didn’t. And yet, I refuse to blame them. It was what they knew.
Fox News: How does faith play a central role in your life today?
Three: First of all, I made a deal with God in 1968. I said, “If you let me die with dignity, I will say your name every day.” And I’ll do whatever I can for my fellow inmate. I never thought I’d get out of jail. And God got me out of jail. I got out on August 23, 1969. I must say that with God nothing can hurt you. Everything is possible. Without God, you are dead. And I know I would be without the faith that I have.
I wake up every morning and say, “Dear Heavenly Father, please let me help who I can for my neighbor. And I’ll say your name everyday and do whatever I can. And it works. He kept his contract. I live up to mine. I even asked God a few days ago, “How am I?” He said, “Trejo, you’re doing great. Keep it up. You are almost out of hell. ” *Laughs*.
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Fox News: You visited your prison cell after being successful as a successful actor. How was this experience for you?
Three: Thank God I was with a guy named George Perry whom I sponsored in 12 step programs. He was older than me. He had gone to Quentin in 1935 for the first time. He went back there six times. We were both together at the time. When we were in this cell, we knelt down and prayed. It was just, what do you call it? Post-traumatic stress? It was just amazing. I thank God for being there to make a film, not to live. It was for the movie “Blood In, Blood Out” and George was with me.
Fox News: You used your time in prison as inspiration for some of your roles. Some people wouldn’t want to revisit a dark period in their life. Why do you choose to look back?
Three: I remember making this movie with Mickey Rourke in the desert somewhere in Texas. As soon as I was done playing, I was going to play with my kids.
I remember the director approaching me one day and saying, “How do you do that? How do you go from this maniac to this? I told him, “I know this guy. I don’t wanna be that guy. I know how to tap into him because I was that guy. It is not pleasant for me to go there. I get rid of him very quickly.
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Fox News: Who has it been the most difficult to work with, but in a good way: Robert De Niro or Charles Bronson?
Three: None of them were difficult to work with. I was in awe of both of them. Charles Bronson was my hero. He was like my uncle Gilbert. He didn’t say much, but when he did, he really meant it. And if you didn’t agree, he would kill you. He was an extraordinary actor. In fact, Charles Bronson and I have become friends. As for Robert De Niro, another amazing actor. He can act better than any gangster I know. But when he stops playing, he’s not that guy. He only stays in his character when he has to.
Fox News: They say you are the most killed actor, or at least one of the most numerous, in the history of cinema. What was the hardest way to die on set?
Three: Oh my God, you know what? I do not care. As long as the check is cashed * laughs *. I was blown up, shot at – name it, I did it. But it’s fun. I love Hollywood. I love the whole concept of Hollywood. It’s pretend. I think it’s great.