New documentary explores unlikely rise from prison to stardom for LA's own Danny Trejo

In the film, Trejo tells a group of inmates that everything good that has happened to him, happened as the direct result of helping someone else. He says it's his faith in God that has helped him lift up others all around the world.
Actor Danny Trejo's life story is encapsulated in a new documentary. "Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo" follows his start in Pacoima, then to prison, as well as his transformation into activist and actor.

"I was so happy the way it turned out, just because of the fact that, this does give hope," said Trejo.

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Actor Danny Trejo got the chance to play real-life hero Wednesday when he helped rescue a young child trapped in an overturned car in Sylmar.


The title "Inmate #1" is a reference to the many nameless tough guy characters that Trejo played early in his film career. And it's a career that came by happenstance. After spending much of his young life in and out of correctional facilities, Trejo became a drug counselor. That job led to him being discovered on a film set and kick started his life as an actor.

More than 350 roles later, Trejo continues to speak to people at prisons and addiction facilities.

"From almost going to the gas chamber... it proves that with Diosito (God) anything is possible. And that's what we wanted to project," said Trejo.

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The actor and Los Angeles native never fails to give back to his community, especially during the coronavirus crisis.


In the film, Trejo tells a group of inmates that everything good that has happened to him, happened as the direct result of helping someone else. He says it's his faith in God that has helped him lift up others all around the world.

Still he proudly keeps his roots firmly planted in his hometown of Pacoima.

"I terrorized this community for a long time. You know. And when I made a promise to Diosito (God) that if he lets me die with dignity, I'll do whatever I can for my fellow man and I'll say his name every day. And I've been holding up to my end of the bargain. So I do," said Trejo. "In fact, I talked to Diosito (God) a while back and I asked him how am I doing? He said, 'Danny, you're almost out of hell. Keep it up.' Because I owe this community my life."

"Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo" is available on various VOD platforms.

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'Honored and humbled': Actor Danny Trejo joined L.A. City council president emeritus Herb Wesson to distribute hot meals to those who may be struggling due to COVID-19.

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