Danny Trejo, the actor whose credits include Heat, From Dusk Till Dawn and Con Air, will publish his memoir with Atria Books, the publisher announced today. Titled Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood will be released July 6.
The book will detail Trejo’s path from crime to prison, addiction, loss and unexpected Hollywood fame. With appearances in more than 300 films, the 76-year-old actor continues to book 10-20 roles a year. A 2020 Pete Davidson tribute to Trejo went viral.
“Danny Trejo is more than an actor for the millions of Mexican Americans, like me, who love him,” says Michelle Herrera Mulligan, senior editor at Atria Books. “He is a legend. A role model. The first Chicano action star. Someone we can always hold up as a hero who made it. One of my proudest acquisitions to date, this book shows us the difficult path it took to get him there, in unforgettable, literary detail.”
Trejo first used heroin at age 12, learning that loyalty only came through violence and peace was found in oblivion. For a period of time, he did stints in some of America’s most notorious prisons including San Quentin, Folsom and Soledad. Then he was offered a part as a boxer in Runaway Train, giving him the opportunity to choose a new path.
In Trejo, he describes how the difficult lessons he learned in childhood both saved his professional life and hindered his personal one, offering an inspirational and brutally honest look at his fascinating life. He shares how he rebuilt his life after finding sobriety and spirituality in solitary confinement and went on to become a success, hobnobbing with A-list celebrities and using his memories of his adrenaline-fueled robbing heists to inspire him as an actor.
“At 76,” Trejo says, “this memoir was an opportunity for me to be fearlessly honest for the first time about the terrifying brutality of my experiences in the hardest prisons in the world, the family secrets that tore lives apart, my personal bottom while I was in the hole in Soledad facing a possible death penalty charge, the role God played in turning my life around, my acting career that started at the age of 40 by simply showing up to a set to help another addict in need and how all of it shaped the person I am.”
Trejo is co-writing his memoir with his best friend of 20 years, actor Donal Logue (Gotham, Sons of Anarchy). Trejo will be published simultaneously in both English and Spanish and later will be adapted for a young-readers edition. The book also will be published simultaneously as an audiobook from Simon & Schuster Audio.
Herrera Mulligan acquired North American rights from Albert Lee at UTA. Trejo is represented by Gloria Hinojosa at Amsel, Eisenstadt, Frazier and Hinojosa.
Atria Books is an imprint of Simon and Schuster.