Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s ‘Evolved Man of the Week’ profiles. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved man, famous and non-famous men alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to the American film and television actor, restaurant owner, and hero, Danny Trejo.
Danny Trejo was born in Echo Park in 1944, Trejo wasn’t entirely on the path to the success he’s now achieved. He was influenced by a young uncle as a child. Trejo was off to a life of crime from an early age and did time in juvenile camps before eventually landing in Soledad and San Quentin state prisons for drugs and other crimes. After being in and out of jail for about a decade, he completed a 12-step program that forever changed his life as he began counseling others about the dangers of drugs.
This led to a call in 1985 to the set of the film “Runaway Train” to counsel one of the actors. It was there where his tough-guy appearance paid off, and he was noticed by the director who wanted to put him in the film as an extra. However, thanks to the boxing he had done while he was in prison. He got a meatier role and was cast as a boxer squaring off in the ring against the film’s star, Eric Roberts.
His films include Heat (1995), Con Air (1997), and Desperado (1995), the last with frequent collaborator Robert Rodriguez. Trejo is perhaps most recognized as the character Machete, originally developed by Rodriguez for the Spy Kids series of movies and later expanded into Trejo’s own series of films aimed at a more adult audience. He has appeared in TV shows such as Breaking Bad, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The X-Files, King of the Hill, The Flash, and Sons of Anarchy. He has also appeared in several Slayer music videos.
Trejo owns several ventures in the food and restaurant business. As of January 2016, these included a taco restaurant on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles, his own brands of beer, coffee, and various merchandise, with ice cream sandwiches under development. Trejo’s Donuts is located on the northeast corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Highland Avenue.
Earlier this month, the 75-year-old actor helped a family in a dangerous situation. He immediately jumped out of his vehicle and rushed to the family trapped inside of the overturned car. Upon approaching the vehicle, Trejo says that the woman was calling for bystanders to help her young special needs son who was still strapped into his car seat.
Trejo and another bystander then pulled the door open and managed to free the youngster from his seatbelt. As firefighters and first responders rushed to the scene to rescue the mother and grandmother who were still trapped inside the car, Trejo brought the boy away from the scene of the crash and kept him distracted until his family members were freed.
Here is Trejo in his own words about him being a good samaritan and saving a young child’s life:
“He was panicked. I said ‘OK, we have to use our superpowers.’ So he screamed ‘superpowers’ and we started yelling ‘superpowers,’… I said ‘do this,’ with the muscles…We got kind of a bond. I kept facing him away from the accident,”
Today we honor Danny Trejo as our Evolved Man of the Week.