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Actor Danny Trejo Recalls Meeting Cult Leader Charles Mason Behind Bars

Actor Danny Trejo Recalls Meeting Cult Leader Charles Mason Behind Bars

Trejo said Manson even asked for his protection while jailed at Los Angles County prison



Actor Danny Trejo has described meeting infamous cult leader Charles Manson while serving time in prison.

In his new book 'Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption and Hollywood', Trejo writes about Manson even asking for his protection while jailed at Los Angles County prison in 1961.

The actor recalled: "While I was waiting to get shipped out to Tracy, there was a greasy, dirty, scrawny white boy in County.

"He was so poor, he didn't have a belt, and instead used a piece of string to keep his pants up."


"I felt sorry for him," said Trejo.

"It was clear the only shower the man was ever going to have was the one he was going to get in jail. There were three in our cell - Johnny Ronnie, Tacho and me - so we told the dude he could clean up for us and we'd keep an eye out for him.

"He couldn't sleep in our cell, but we let him sleep just outside so people knew he had eyes on him."

Trejo revealed that he was stunned when he found out that the failed musician became the mastermind behind one of Hollywood's most gruesome slayings.

Mason was convicted of nine murders in 1971, including the 1969 killing of actress Sharon Tate, who was pregnant at the time.

Manson was sentenced to death, but that was later changed to life in prison after the California Supreme Court abolished the death penalty in 1972.

"When we first met him, it was before all that stuff, OK?" Trejo explained.

"He was like a five foot, slick little wimp. He wasn't a bully. Wasn't a thug. But he had the jargon of prison and jail. He thought he was slick.

"Charles Manson couldn't have done what he did anywhere else. He couldn't have gone to East Los Angeles and get some of those girls to do his bidding. When I heard about the murders, I thought, Wait a minute, this guy? Are you kidding me?"


In his book, Trejo described how it would have been impossible for Manson to be a leader in prison. He said men fought to the death behind bars over the gang they're in and different ethnic groups cooperated with each other 'to keep order'.

According to Trejo, Manson claimed he had hypnotic powers and could get others high. The actor noted that if Manson wasn't 'a career criminal' he could have easily been 'a professional hypnotist'.

Manson died in 2017 at age 83 from natural causes.

Trejo, who has been clean for more than 50 years, has led a successful career as a character actor in Hollywood with more than 380 credits to his name.

Words: Ross Williams

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: TV and Film, US Entertainment