Danny Duran has just about seen and done it all.
In his adult life, he was a bull-fighter in Mexico. He was a professional roller-derby participant. He was shot seven times, stabbed seven times and ended up in seven comas while a bounty hunter in Texas.
And had his father had his way, Duran would never have achieved any of this — good or bad.
Duran, now of Bloomfield, shares all of these experiences in his book “The Suffering of Chasing Dreams,” which is slated to be made into a movie by Columbia Pictures, with production starting this October.
He says he chose the title because when he was a child, his family was extremely dysfunctional — and among many other things, his father sexually and verbally abused him when he wasn’t yet a teenager.
“I didn’t have God in my life back then,” Duran says. “And at the time, my father sexually, physically and mentally abused me constantly. When I told my mother, he beat me right in front of her. And she did nothing to stop it.”
His revelation to his mom about the abuse led both parents to send him away to a juvenile detention center for “troubled” boys. Thing is, he was troubled not because of anything he’d done — but because of what was being done to him.
Duran says — and he talks a lot about this in his book — that his three years in juvie were quite unpleasant. But, once, while he was locked up, he had an extremely spiritual experience where he encountered Christ (it would happen again years later when he was in a coma as an adult). And it was those experiences — those encounters with God — that ensured he’d not only chase after his dreams, but he’d achieve them.
It was counter to everything his parents seemed to want for him.
“Everybody on this planet has dreams,” Duran says. “Only thing is just a few achieve their dreams. And they do a lot of suffering along the way to execute their dreams.”
Aside from his bull-fighting, roller-derby and bounty-hunter experiences, Duran also boxed. Along the way, he met some of the most noted boxers in history, including Larry Holmes, who to this day speaks wonders of his dear friend.
“I’ve known Danny Duran for years and he is an outstanding person who has a fascinating past and I am extremely proud to know Danny these last five years ,” Holmes says. “Danny has done it all. This is what I call a man’s man in our world today. (He’s) a man with integrity and honesty, a man that you can depend on anything that he says or does. A man who truly walks in the light of God. God truly has a plan for Danny.”
Perhaps he did — and still does.
During a stretch Duran did in prison — you’ll have to read the book to find out why he was locked up — Duran met a woman who came to minister to the more than 700 inmates he was incarcerated with. She was extremely spiritual — and wouldn’t you know it, the two hit it off quite well … and today, they’re not just friends, they’re married.
Duran says his wife, Donna – his fifth wife, by the way – has helped shape who he is today … a man who has a deep relationship with Christ, and a man who wants everyone to know that it’s not impossible to achieve your dreams if you work for it.
“I did it and others can,” he says.
That brought him back to a time in his life when something happened to him he didn’t immediately realize was probably a good thing.
It was around 1967, and he was in Malibu, Calif. He’d befriended The Beach Boys — again, read the book to find out how that happened, too — and Brian Wilson, then just 25, the band’s lead singer and songwriter, invited Duran to his home.
“Imagine being invited to Brian Wilson’s home. It was surreal,” Duran says. “As we were walking up to the house, there was this smell. I had no idea what it was, so I asked Brian about it. He says, ‘that’s marijuana, kid.’ I didn’t know what marijuana was at the time.
“So we go into the house and he introduces me to this guy — it’s (around) 1967 remember — and the guy identifies himself as Jesus Christ. I just got a really bad feeling about the encounter, so I asked Brian to get me out of there.”
Not too long after, Duran was watching TV — and he sees the man who identified himself as Christ in handcuffs.
Turns out he’d met the notorious, murderous-mastermind Charles Manson.
“And you could imagine I was happy I’d left,” he says.
It’s these incredible encounters — and so many others — that prompted Duran to write his first of what he says will be four books. In his second encounter with God while he was in a coma, Duran says he was instructed to write four books about his life, his experiences and his faith.
And that’s just what he plans to do.
Duran says he’s excited about the book being transformed into a movie — though it seems he’s now somewhat worried about whether he’ll get to see it on the big screen. For all the good and bad experiences Duran has survived — think of how many times he was shot and stabbed, along with the notion that when he was a bounty hunter, he watched as his partner was murdered right in front of him … and he had his home blown up by a bomb as retaliation — he now has kidney cancer, diabetes, arthritis and requires full-time, home-care from a nurse.
And yet, despite getting what he equates to a death sentence, he says he’s not scared of leaving this world because he says he knows so much more lies ahead in the next life.
“My faith has kept me so strong,” he says. “I’ve gotten to do so much of what I wanted to do. I met Elvis Presley. I boxed. I met all kinds of people. I had dreams and others do, too. And it’s more than possible for everyone to achieve these dreams. People just need to know there will be suffering along the way.”
Find out more about “The Suffering of Chasing Dreams” by logging on to www.thesufferingofchasingdreamsdannyduran.com, where you’ll be able to order the book directly.