Hollywood legend Danny Trejo, who has made a name for himself in movies like Machete, Machete Kills, Desperado, Heat, and the From Dusk Till Dawn film series, has detailed how his life of crime and solitary confinement led him to Jesus Christ. Facing the death penalty, Trejo rather found eternal life.
“I made a deal with God,” actor Danny Trejo recalled. At the time, he was in solitary confinement and facing the death penalty.
“I asked Him to let me die with dignity. Then I promised to always say His name and help my fellow inmates.”
Trejo details the encounter in his new book, Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood.
He wrote in the book description:
On screen, Danny Trejo the actor is a baddie who has been killed at least a hundred times. He’s been shot, stabbed, hanged, chopped up, squished by an elevator, and once, was even melted into a bloody goo. Off screen, he’s a hero beloved by recovery communities and obsessed fans alike. But the real Danny Trejo is much more complicated than the legend.
Raised in an abusive home, Danny struggled with heroin addiction and stints in some of the country’s most notorious state prisons—including San Quentin and Folsom—from an early age, before starring in such modern classics as Heat, From Dusk till Dawn, and Machete. Now, in this funny, painful, and suspenseful memoir, Danny takes us through the incredible ups and downs of his life, including meeting one of the world’s most notorious serial killers in prison and working with legends like Charles Bronson and Robert De Niro.
An honest, unflinching, and “inspirational study in the definition of character” (Kevin Smith, director and actor), Trejo reveals how he managed the horrors of prison, rebuilt himself after finding sobriety and spirituality in solitary confinement, and draws inspiration from the adrenaline-fueled robbing heists of his past for the film roles that made him a household name. He also shares the painful contradictions in his personal life. Although he speaks everywhere from prison yards to NPR about his past to inspire countless others on their own road to recovery and redemption, he struggles to help his children with their personal battles with addiction, and to build relationships that last.
Redemptive and painful, poignant and real, Trejo is a portrait of a magnificent life and an unforgettable and exceptional journey.
That exceptional journey really turned around when he was in prison. Trejo didn’t plan to walk free. He certainly didn’t plan to make it in Hollywood.
“I said inmate because I never thought I was getting out of prison,” Trejo said. “In that cell, God killed the old me, made a new Danny Trejo, and said, ‘Now let’s see what you do with him.’”
The charges against Trejo were suddenly dropped, and Trejo found himself having to make good on that vow, according to Movieguide.
“By the grace of God, on August 23, 1969, they let me out. I kept my deal. I say His name 20 times a day, and I help wherever I can,” Trejo said.