How Danny Trejo Went From Character Actor To Grindhouse Action Star: A Career Timeline

Danny Trejo might work more than any actor in Hollywood. Granted, a lot of that work is in ridiculously bad movies that can only be found in the darkest depths of Netflix, but hey, it’s work.

How Trejo broke into film is actually pretty remarkable. His youth was filled with drug addiction and a string of robberies that led to a stint in prison. It was only while working as a drug counselor after his release, and visiting a friend on a movie set that he stumbled into show business.

“This guy asked me if I wanted to be in a movie, and I said, “What do I gotta do?” And he said, “Do you want to be an extra?” And I said, “An extra what?” And he said, “Can you act like a convict?” I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever heard. I’d been in every penitentiary in the state. I looked at him and I said, “Well, I’ll give it a shot.”

That film was 1985’s Runaway Train and since then he’s racked up an additional 281 acting credits, far more than Harrison Ford, Samuel L. Jackson, or Jack Nicholson. Danny Trejo turns 70 today, and to celebrate I was going to get a replica senorita chest tattoo, but I’m not much for pain. So instead, here’s Danny Trejo’s timeline from B-film character actor to Robert Rodriguez’s go-to badass, Machete.

1. Runaway Train, Boxer — 1985

2. Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, Art Sanella — 1987

3. Bulletproof, Sharky — 1988

4. Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, Inmate — 1989

5. Maniac Cop 2, Prisoner — 1990

6. W.B. Blue And The Bean, Mean — 1990

7. Baywatch, Chulo and Carlos — 1991-1992
“Masquerade” and “Point of Attack”

8. Against The Wall, Luis — 1994

9. Desperado, Navajas — 1995

10. Heat, Trejo — 1995

11. From Dusk Till Dawn, Razor Charlie — 1996

12. Nash Bridges, Sid Benedict — 1996
“Internal Affairs”

13. Anaconda, Poacher — 1997

14. Con Air, Johnny 23 — 1997

15. Dilemma, Rudy Salazar — 1997

16. Point Blank, Wallace — 1998

17. Desert Heat, Johnny Six Toes — 1999

18. Reindeer Games, Jumpy — 2000

19. Spy Kids, Machete — 2001

20. xXx, El Jefe — 2002

21. Once Upon A Time In Mexico, Cucuy — 2003

22. King Of The Hill, Enrique — 2003-2010
various episodes

23. Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy, Bartender — 2004

24. The Devil’s Rejects, Rondo — 2005

25. Hood Of Horror, Derelict — 2006

26. Smiley Face, Albert — 2007

27. The Young And The Restless, Bartender — 2008

28. Saint John Of Las Vegas, Bismark — 2009

29. Breaking Bad, Tortuga — 2009-2010
“I.F.T.” and “Negro Y Azul”

30. Machete, Machete — 2010

I’ll leave you with the bullet-riddled masterpiece that is the Danny Trejo death reel.