It is National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th, and as such I wanted to take the opportunity to profile a selection of famous and influential people of Spanish and Latin American decent from all different professions and backgrounds.

Today I will start the series with the man that’s almost a myth, Danny Trejo; quickly becoming a legend of film the tough-man actor is more recently known for portraying a violent, death-defying hero in the Robert Rodriguez produced films ‘Machete’ and the soon to be released ‘Machete Kills.’ He has in fact been around for quite some time playing small roles and making appearances in films ranging from ‘Desperado’ and ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ all the way to ‘The Muppets’ and ‘Anchorman.’

Grind House

He was born in 1944, in Los Angeles, and of Mexican decent. He had his troubles when he was young, spending time in jail and having an addiction with drugs, but after completing a 12-step rehabilitation program he changed his ways and turned the corner for life anew. After his rehab Danny met another lost soul with a cocaine addiction that called him for help, they met on a film set and due to his tough look was asked to be an extra, combined with several other fortunate events he unexpectedly made his way onto the big screen to the point where he is now an arguably underrated and popular addition to many Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino films.

Since his big break into the entertainment business Trejo has been a rather prolific actor, averaging almost four film appearances a year, in 2009 he somehow accomplished nine, thats no small feat. He is an obvious man to recognize, this might be why he’s become such an icon, the scary looking machete wielding father of four has a giant tattoo of a woman with a sombrero on his chest and stomach, you’ll see it often if you watch any of his movies; along with his consistent mustache.


2007 saw the release of the Grindhouse films, Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror and Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof; during the beginning of these there are a series of ‘fake’ trailers to other films, a rather humorous look at films in a gory action genre meant as a joke, however, due the popular reception garnered by this, several of the films went into production, ‘Hobo with a Shotgun,’ ‘Machete,’ and ‘Machete Kills.’ Machete was the first film to feature Trejo as the lead character, and he pulls it off perfectly, as he stars alongside well-knowns such as Robert De Niro, Don Johnson, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez and Steven Seagal. Trejo will reprise his role in the upcoming ‘Machete Kills,’ to be released October 11, this time he acts alongside another plethora of stars in Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Mel Gibson, Amber Heard and Cuba Gooding Jr. Whats even better is there are already plans for a third installment  entitled ‘Machete Kills Again.’ My advice is to see them, the films exploit the old B movie dynamics in a bloody, violent and hilarious way thats sure to give you at least a chuckle or a slight cringe.

Danny Trejo is quickly acquiring legend status as a unique and special character, and it’s due to this and the difficulties he experienced when younger that I feel he can be an inspiration to others, and appropriate to be profiled here for the Hispanic Heritage Month.


Can you think of any other famous Hispanic actors or actresses deserved of being mentioned?