Danny Trejo

For over two decades, casting agents looking for an actor who could convincingly portray the baddest of the bad went to one man - Danny Trejo, whose muscular, tattooed frame and leathery face bespoke volumes about violence and vice in films including "Heat" (1995), "Desperado" (1995) and "Machete" (2010). The conviction behind his performances was due in part to his own life, which was spent partly behind bars; after his release, a chance encounter with a fellow ex-con on the set of "Runaway Train" (1985) led to a long list of bit parts as crooks and killers. His ubiquity and unquestionable authenticity made him a favorite of moviegoers and directors alike, including Michael Mann, Allison Anders and his cousin, Robert Rodriguez, who cast him in nearly all of his films, including a comic turn in his lighthearted "Spy Kids" franchise. In 2010, Rodriguez paid Trejo the ultimate compliment by making him an action hero in "Machete," a gore-soaked tribute to '70s-era grindhouse films. The picture only solidified Trejo's status as one of the toughest talents on the planet.