Danny Trejo Opens Up About Being Sober for 51 Years and How He's Paying It Forward (Exclusive)

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Danny Trejo has a lot to be thankful for.

The 75-year-old Chicano actor, known for his roles in Machete and From Dusk Till Dawn, recently shared with fans that he's been sober for 51 years. ET caught up Trejo to talk about that major milestone, as well as his growing empire. 

"My life is just so beautiful since I took alcohol and drugs out of it," Trejo told ET during a phone interview. 

Trejo has been open about his time in and out of jail during the 1960’s. He served time in San Quentin State Prison for various armed robberies and drug offenses.

"I was just a kid," he explained. "I got into a 12-step program after I had a serious incident."

Visitors who volunteered their time to talk to inmates is what got Trejo through his time behind bars, so he now pays it forward by visiting prisons to bring hope to others. 

"Prison is the most hopeless place in the world," he explained. "I met a guy named Johnny Harris in prison. He was a speaker and I [saw] him in four different penitentiaries, but I was always the inmate," he said. "He's been my sponsor since 1963. When I go back, I just show them hope. You can make it man, look at me."

Trejo, who is currently promoting his new project, 3 From Hell, admits that his sobriety wouldn't be possible without the help of loved ones. "God has blessed with me great friends, a great support system and great people around me," he shared. "That's what a person needs, a great support system."

Directly by Rob Zombie, 3 From Hell is the third installment in the House of 1000 Corpses franchise. The film also stars Sheri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, Richard Brake, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Dee Wallace and Emilio Rivera. 

The actor acknowledged that it’s been a great thing to see more Latinx actors on the big screen and didn't shy away from his role in helping change that landscape. "I think that I helped a little bit," he said. "When I started there were maybe five [Latinx actors]. There weren't too many of us but I think we really opened a lot of doors."

"I get it that a lot of [producers] were afraid of us," he continued. "I think because of the way I am -- I just say 'Hello, how are you?' and ‘God bless you’ -- they see another side of the mean guy. God blessed me with a face that makes the that guy. Robert Rodriguez was the one who said, 'Let’s make a great bad guy a bad-looking good guy.' And, we did real, real well."

Not only does Trejo have over 200 films under his belt -- "I love what I do," he said -- he has also become quite the entrepreneur. His growing empire includes Trejo’s Donuts, Trejo’s Tacos, Trejo’s Cantina and Trejo’s Cerveza.

You can even add music mogul to his lengthy resume. His label, Trejo Music, recently released an album called Chicano Soul Shop Vol. 1 featuring artists like Tara, Baby Bash and Frankie J, who he says is “one of the most underrated singers."

As if that wasn't enough to keep him busy, Trejo told ET last year that he would be open to reprising his role as Tortuga in the Breaking Bad movie. For more on that interview, watch the video below. 

3 From Hell is in theaters through Sep. 18. For tickets, visit FathomEvents.com/3FromHell.

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