Danny Trejo was born on 16 May 1944, in Los Angeles, California USA of Mexican ancestry. He is perhaps mostly recognised as an actor who plays masculine and antagonistic characters in Hollywood movies. During his career, Danny has starred in more than 250 television and movie titles since his acting career began in the late 1970s.
How rich is Danny Trejo? Considering the number of differing roles Danny Trejo has played in his career, it comes as no surprise that his net worth has reached an impressive amount: sources estimate it at $20 million. While Danny has appeared in video games and television, most of his net worth has been accumulated from his roles in movies.
Danny Trejo Net Worth $20 Million
The beginning of Danny Trejo’s career was a little bit unusual to say the least. Danny had a difficult childhood and teen years that involved drugs and crime. However, the actor claims that he managed to completely overcome his addiction problems while serving time in prison, including in San Quentin, before getting involved with acting. During his incarcerations he gained a few boxing titles, which later became useful in his acting career, and was actually the reason why he got his first role. It so happened that one of his friends – Edward Bunker invited him to the set of “Runaway Train” and asked him to train one of the actresses in boxing. In the same movie, he played the role of a prisoner – as an extra – which confused the viewers as some of them speculated about Danny still being a prisoner. However, the film was a success and it lead to Danny getting properly credited roles in Hollywood films, such as “Desperado”, “Con Air”, “Grindhouse” and many others: his net worth was beginning to grow.
One role that had an exceptionally great influence on his net worth was in the title role in the movie “Machete”, as Machete Cortez. The fact that he played the role of a protagonist in this movie might have been related to the fact that the film was directed by Trejo’s cousin Robert Rodrigues. The film was incredibly successful, and in 2011 the same character Machete Cortez appeared in the 2011 family-oriented movie “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World” (directed by Robert Rodrigues) and in 2013 a sequel to the first movie entitled “Machete Kills”. More recent appearances include in “Bad Ass” in 2012, playing “Epic Beard Man” Thomas Bruso, the Vietnam veteran.
Trejo’s super masculine, action-hero, villainous character was noticed by video game companies – he has voiced and appeared in a number of games including “Def Jam: Fight for NY”, “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”, “Fallout: New Vegas” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops”.
In addition to his roles in movies and television, Trejo has appeared in several music videos: “Got it Twisted” by Mobb Deep, “Burnin’ Up” by the Jonas Brothers, and “Angel in Blue Jeans” among others.
In the last ten years, Trejo has starred in some of the most popular television series, such as “Desperate Housewives” in 2005, “Breaking Bad” in 2009, “Bones” and “Modern Family” in 2010, which have contributed significantly to his currently impressive net worth.
Trejo also owns several food and restaurant businesses, including a taco restaurant in Los Angeles, and his own brands of beer and coffee, which no doubt contribute to his bank account.
In his personal life, he was married to actress Debbie Shreve from 1997 until 2009, and they have two children, although he is reputed to have five altogether. He currently resides in the San Fernando Valley, California.
Despite being known for playing intimidating and violent characters, he is widely known as being one of the nicest and friendliest actors in Hollywood who has been described as a joy to work with by co-stars.
Volunteers at the Villalobos Pitbull Shelter.
The character of Octavio in the "King Of The Hill" cartoon was based on his likeness.
Was released from Soledad CTF (Correctional Training Facility) in August 1969.
Attended The Scandinavian Sci-Fi, Game & Film Convention in Helsingborg, Sweden [October 2009]
Inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame on March 8, 2012, in Austin, Texas.
Was considered for the role of Det. Rey Curtis on Law & Order (1990).
Usually plays criminals in one form or another (assassins, prisoners, etc)
The tattoo on his chest of a woman wearing a sombrero (you see it in almost all of his movies).
[said in prayer, upon realizing that he was ready to turn his life around after being placed in solitary confinement following a riot at Soledad prison on May 5, 1968] God, if you're there, then it's gonna be alright. And if you're not, I'm screwed.
[on being raised by his parents and extended family of paternal aunts and uncles] It's kinda like Shirley Temple and John Wayne went to war. And what you see is a result of John Wayne winning.
[2011, on Con Air (1997)] Con Air. You don't know how many people scream that to me at Target. "Hey! Johnny-23!" So a lot of people watched that movie. That was a lot of fun. The only problem: the biggest case of testosterone I've ever been in. It was 30 guys all trying to be bad-asses. It was so weird. If you would spit, somebody would spit a little farther. Pretty soon, you've got 40 people trying to see how far they can spit. If you did a push-up, somebody would do two, then three, then four. It was like a competition of who was the baddest ass. It was funny.
[2011, on Marked for Death] Steven Seagal, He was cool. He's all macho, "I got bigger nuts than you." But he was cool. He was all right. He kept trying to get me to do my own stunts. I went, "Ah, hell no. They got this guy who looks just like me." At times he would get overzealous, you know what I mean? You do your own stunts as an actor, and you end up getting hurt. It's not your job. You've got stunt guys. Stunt guys make a lot of money.
[2011, on Baywatch] Wow Red bathing suits. I couldn't believe that show. I'd be sitting in Venice, looking at all these girls running around and thinking, "They're paying me for this. Thank you, Jesus." You know what I mean? "I wish the guys in prison could see me right now." But what was amazing was about five years later, I went to Paris, and there's this big crowd at the airport. They're all waiting to see me. I'm thinking one of my movies, right? They know me from Baywatch. "You were on Baywatch!" I believe that thing was all over the world.
(2011, on Heat) Yeah, that was the shit. That was unreal. Me and Eddie Bunker walked on that set as armed-robbery consultants. What a job. I ran into Michael Mann, and he knew me from a movie called Drug Wars: The Camarena Story that me and him did years ago. Then he also knew my uncle who's in Folsom, because he did a movie called The Jericho Mile. So Michael Mann says, "Come on, Danny, I want you to meet a couple of guys you're going to be working with." I walk into a room with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight. I just said, "Wow." I could not believe it. And then he says, "Here," and that's where I got that role.
(2011, on Anaconda) We got to go to Brazil on that. We're in Brazil on the Amazon River. The funny thing is, I used to have a fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Henley, who was anal about the Amazon River. She would always be crazy about it. She would say, "The Amazon this" and "The Amazon that," and I'm like, "Who gives a shit? I didn't care about the Amazon River. Forty years later, I'm doing Anaconda on the damn Amazon River. I'm sitting there, and Jon Voight, J. Lo, Ice Cube are all asking questions, and I knew all the answers. They thought I was the smart guy. I know all about this! Thank you, Mrs. Henley.
(2011, on why he works so much) I love doing it. Let me tell you something. When I was young, I was an armed robber. I did robberies. And there's no adrenaline rush like that. When you're using drugs and doing robberies, it's hard to distinguish whether you're doing robberies to support your drug habit, or doing drugs to support your robbery habit. Those guys that flip on motorcycles-it's like the same kind of adrenaline. It's unreal. The only time I ever felt that was when I heard Andrey Konchalovskiy yell, "Action!" And then I was like, "Wow. Here we are again. This whole adrenaline-" But this time I didn't have a gun. I was like, "Wow. This is awesome." I just totally got hooked. I found my calling. And then when I got my check, I said, "Fuck." "Wait a minute. For the first half of my life, I went to prison for being a bad guy. Now they're paying me to be a bad guy."
(2011, on Runaway Train) I walked on that movie set as a drug counselor. I was helping this kid I was counseling. He called me up and said, "Hey, there's a lot of blow down here." It was 1985, and cocaine was running rampant in the movie industry. It was crazy. You'd walk into production and there'd be lines on the table. He just asked me to come down and support him, because that's what I did. I still do it. I'm going over on an intervention right now to one of our Hollywood actors. I went onto this movie set, and he was a PA, and I thought it was cute. I had never been on a movie set in my life. All these guys were dressed up as inmates, and they were all trying to act tough. They all had these fake tattoos. I kept smearing these tattoos. I had to say, "Oh shit, I'm sorry. That stuff smears." 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." He gave me a blue shirt, and I took off my shirt, and I have that big tattoo on my chest. He said "Leave your shirt off." Then this other guy comes over and says, "Hey, you're Danny Trejo. I saw you win the lightweight and welterweight title up in San Quentin." And I go, "Yeah. You're Eddie Bunker." I had been in prison with him. And he was a writer. We started talking, and he asked, "Are you still boxing?" And I go, "Well, I still train." And he said, "Do you want a job? We need someone to train one of the actors how to box." And I said, "I got a job. They're going to give me 15 bucks for acting like a convict. What's this pay?" He said, "It pays $320 a day." So I said, "How bad do you want this guy beat up? Shit, for 320 bucks-" And he goes, "No, you have to be really careful, this actor's really high-strung. He's already socked a couple of people." I said, "For $320, man, give him a stick. I'll fight Godzilla for 320 bucks." I started training Eric Roberts how to box. Eric wanted to learn how to box, and I think he was scared of me, so he'd do whatever I told him to do. Andrey Konchalovskiy, the director, saw that he would do whatever I told him to do. I guess Andrey had some problems with it. So Andrey comes over and hires me. He says, "You be in the movie. You fight Eric in the movie." And that's where it started. From that day until right now, I've got 183 movies.
(2011) Predators is the movie starring Adrien Brody. He took over the Arnold Schwarzenegger part. Well, there's a big difference between Arnold and Adrien. Arnold's like steroid muscles, you know what I mean? Adrien uses his mind. Every time this camera's on him, you can almost hear him thinking about how we're going to kill this predator. There's a line where Alice Braga says, "We have to work like a team." And we're all assassins, right? So I look at her and say, "Does this look like a team-oriented group of individuals?" And Adrien says, "We might have to work another way." But he's always thinking. I actually like his character better. The first Predator was more about "How big's my bicep?" The second one was fighting aliens. This is one is about an actual plan and an actual war on how to beat these things...Adrien was great. Adrien's a hog, straight out. I'll put him on my team any time. Topher (Grace)... he's cute. But his role, he was very serious about. And me, I won't do it unless I can have some fun, and I had a lot of fun with it.
I'm an ex-con turned icon.
It was the funniest thing I'd ever heard. I'd been in Soledad, San Quentin, Folsom, Vacaville, Susanville, Sierra--and here's a guy asking, "Can you act like a convict?" I remember I said. "I'll give it a shot".
I'd have to say my favorite film would be Heat (1995) and it's got me out of many tickets.
I'll be watching TV and all of a sudden I'll think, "Hey, I'm in this!" A lot of times I don't even know the names of [the movies]. I just show up. From 1985, when I first started, to 1990, I did a shitload of B-movies about prisons. They would always say, "Get that Mexican guy with the big tattoo". I'd show up and I'd have one line, like, "Kill 'em all!" or something.
Juvenile hall, youth authority . . . I was in a lot of trouble. I grew up like the characters I've been playing. But would I do things differently? I honestly believe that circumstances create destiny, almost. There weren't too many ways I could have done things. The only things that were available to me were either be a laborer or be a drug dealer. So I became an armed robber. It was a lot simpler.
[after being told an actor he was supposed to hit might hit back] For $350 a day, give him a bat. I used to get beat up for free.
[on being promoted from a $50/day extra to a $350/day boxing coach] How bad do you want this kid beat up?
[of on-set competition between actors] I've watched so many of those kinds of things turn bad, and the last thing you want to do is compete with somebody, 'cause he might be a sore loser.