Note: This story is part of our Faith in Hollywood series. For similar stories, click here. “I made a deal with God,” actor Danny Trejo recalled. At the time, he was in solitary confinement and facing the death penalty. “I asked Him to let me die with dignity. Then I promised to always say His name and help my fellow inmates.” Trejo details the encounter in his new book, Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood. According to the book description:

That exception journey really turned around when he was in prison. Trejo didn’t plan to walk free. He certainly didn’t plan to make it in Hollywood. “I said inmate because I never thought I was getting out of prison,” Trejo said. “In that cell God killed the old me, made a new Danny Trejo, and said, ‘Now let’s see what you do with him.’” NBC News reports that the charges against Trejo were suddenly dropped, and Trejo found himself having to make good on that vow. “By the grace of God, on August 23, 1969, they let me out. I kept my deal. I say His name 20 times a day, and I help wherever I can,” Trejo said. Trejo made a name for himself in movies like MACHETE and MACHETE KILLS, which are considered unacceptable movies by Movieguide® standards, but also appeared in the family-friendly SPY KIDS series. In addition to acting, Trejo also threw himself into embracing a new kind of masculinity — community service. “Masculine means you go to work, you support your family, you help out your neighbors — that’s masculine, that’s machismo. We got it screwed up, thinking we’re supposed to be warriors.

No, we’re not, we’re supposed to be caretakers. That’s what masculinity means to me now,” Trejo said. “Everything good that has happened to me, has happened as a direct result of helping someone else,” he adds, “and that’s masculine — helping people.” Los Angeles City Council even honored Trejo in 2020 to honor his acts of service. “Today, Danny has become one of the best-known actors working in film and has continued to give back to the community, still working as a drug counselor for at-risk youth while headlining countless Hollywood films,” said Councilman Gilbert Cedillo. “(He) demonstrates what a commitment to sobriety does and brings to your life.” For Trejo, though, that all comes back to Jesus. “Jesus is everything,” Trejo said.

“I’m always asked how I’ve accomplished what I’ve accomplished [considering] where I came from, and only an idiot would deny that it was an act of God that brought me … from on my way to a gas chamber to where I’m at now.” Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer. What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support. You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you. Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.

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