Chuck Norris was born Carlos Ray Chuck Norris, March 10, 1940 in Ryan Oklahoma, U.S. to Wilma and Ray Dee Norris, who was a World War II Army Soldier, a mechanic, bus driver and truck driver.
Norris has described his childhood as downbeat. He was non-athletic, shy and scholastically mediocre. His father, Ray, worked intermittently as an automobile mechanic, and went on alcohol drinking binges that lasted for months at a time. Embarrassed by his father’s behavior and the family’s financial plight, Norris developed debilitating introversion that lasted for his entire childhood.
After what happened, Norris married his classmate Dianne Kay Holechek in December 1958, when he was 18 and Dianne was 17 years of age. They met in 1956 at high school in Torrance, California. In 1962, their first child, Mike was born. He also had a daughter, Dina, who was born in 1963 of an extramarital affair. Later, he had a second son, Eric, with his wife in 1964. After 30 years of marriage, Norris and Holechek divorced in 1989 after separating in 1988, during the filming of the Delta Force 2.
On November 28, 1998, he married former model Gena O’Kelley, 23 years Norris’ junior. O’Kelley had 2 children from a previous marriage. She delivered twins on August 30, 2001.
Through the turbulent childhood years and really harsh with what he has as his belief, constant effort and natural talent defying everything and transcending fate, he joined the United States Air Force as an Air Policeman in 1958 and was sent to Osan Air Base, South Korea. It was there that Norris acquired the nickname “Chuck” and began his training in Tang Soo Do, an interest that led to black belts in that art and the founding of the Chun Kuk Do form.
Norris started to participate in martial arts competitions. He was defeated in his first 2 tournaments, dropping decisions to Joe Lewis and Allen Steen. He lost 3 matches at the International Karate Championships to Tony Tulleners. By 1967, Norris had improved enough that he scored victories over the likes of Vic Moore.
On June 3, at the 1967 tournament of karate, Norris defeated 7 opponents, exchanged his final blows with Skipper Mullins, and won the tournament. On June 24, Norris was declared champion at the S. Henry Cho’s All-American Karate Championship at the Madison Square Garden, taking the title from Julio LaSalle and defeating Joe Lewis.
In early 1968, Norris suffered the tenth and final loss of his career, losing an upset decision to Louis Delgado. On November 24, 1968, he avenged his defeat to Delgado and by doing so, won the Professional Middleweight Karate champion title, which he then held for 6 consecutive years.
In 1969, during the first weekend of August, Norris defended his title as world champion at the International Karate Championship. Norris won Karate’s triple crown for the most tournament wins of the year and the Fighter of the Year award by Black Belt magazine. That year, Norris made his acting debut in the Dean Martin film The Wrecking Crew.
In 1972, he acted as Bruce Lee’s nemesis in the widely acclaimed martial arts movie Way of the Dragon, making it the highest-grossing film of 1972 in Hong Kong. The Way of the Dragon went on to gross an estimated US$130 million worldwide. The film is credited with launching him towards stardom.
In 1975, he wrote his first book Winning Tournament Karate on the practical study of competition training for any rank. It covers all phases of executing speedy attacks, conditioning, fighting form drills, and one-step sparring techniques.
Norris’ first starring role was 1977’s Breaker! Breaker!, an action trucking film. After turning down offers to do many martial art films, Norris decided that he wanted to do films that had a story and where the action would take place when it is emotionally right. The low budget film turned out to be very successful.
In 1978, Norris starred in the thriller Good Guys Wear Black, which he considers to be his first significant leadership role. No studio wanted to release it, so Norris and his producers four-walled it, renting the theaters and taking whatever money came in. The film did very well. Shot on a $1 million budget, it made over $18 million at the box office. Following years of kung-fu film imports from Hong Kong action cinema during the 1970s, most notably Bruce Lee films followed by Bruceploitation flicks, Good Guys Wear Black launched Chuck Norris as the first successful homegrown American martial arts star. Having previously been best known as a villain in Lee’s Way of the Dragon, Good Guys Wear Black distinguished itself from earlier martial arts films with its distinctly American setting, characters, themes, and politics, a formula which Norris continued to develop with his later films.
In 1979, Norris starred in A Force of One, where he played Matt Logan, a world karate champion who assists the police in their investigation. The film was developed while touring for Good Guys Wear Black. It out-grossed the previous film by making $20 million at the box office.
In 1980, he released The Octagon, where his character must stop a group of terrorists trained in the ninja style. Unlike his previous films, this time the studios were interested. American Cinema Releasing distributed it and it made almost $19 million at the box office.
In 1981, he starred in Steve Carver’s An Eye for an Eye, co-starring Christopher Lee, Richard Roundtree, Matt Clark, and Mako Iwamatsu. The following year, he had the lead in the action horror film Silent Rage. It was his first film released by a major studio Columbia Pictures.
In 1983, Norris made Lone Wolf McQuade with Orion Pictures. He played J.J. McQuade, a reckless Texas Ranger. The film was a worldwide hit and had a positive reception from movie critics often being compared to Sergio Leone’s stylish Spaghetti Westerns. The film became the inspiration for Norris’ future hit TV show Walker, Texas Ranger. Film critic, Roger Ebert, gave the film a 3.5 star rating, calling the character of J.J. McQuade worthy of a film series and predicting the character would be a future classic.
In 1984, Norris starred in Missing in Action, the first of a series of POW rescue fantasies themed around the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue that was produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus and released under their Cannon Films banner, with which he had signed a multiple movie deal. He plays Colonel James Braddock, a U.S military officer who spent 7 years in a North Vietnamese POW camp, which he escaped 10 years ago. After the war, Braddock accompanies a government investigation team that travels to Ho Chi Minh City to investigate reports of U.S soldiers still held prisoner.
Norris later dedicated these films to his younger brother Wieland, who was a private in the 101st Airborne Division, and had been killed in June 1970 in Vietnam while on patrol in the defense of Firebase Ripcord. The film was a huge success and Norris became Cannon’s most prominent star of the 1980s.
In 1989, he received his star on the Hollywood walk of fame. His films had collectively grossed over $500 million worldwide by 1990.
In 1992, he starred in Sidekicks, his most successful film of that era. It is about a loner boy who lives with his widowed father. He has vivid daydreams about being Chuck Norris’ sidekick, battling against Norris’ movie enemies, who are often personified by his everyday bullies.
In 1993, he began shooting the action series Walker, Texas Ranger. It lasted 8 seasons on CBS and continued in syndication on other channels, notably the Hallmark Channel. The show was very successful in the ratings throughout its run ranking among the Top 30 programs from 1995 until 1999, and ranking in the Top 20 in both 1995-1996 and 1998-1999 seasons.
On November 1, 1998, Norris starred, executive produced and participated in writing the story of Michael Preece’s award-winning television film Logan’s War: Bound by Honor. It premiered on CBS, right after Walker, Texas Ranger’s newly scheduled episode. The television film was ranked third among the 13 most viewed shows of that week.
In 2000, Norris starred and was an executive producer for the television film The President’s Man, where he reunited with director Michael Preece. In 2005, Norris founded the World Combat League, a full-contact, team-based martial arts competition, of which part of the proceeds is given to his Kickstart Kids program.
Chuck Norris facts originally started appearing on the internet in early 2005. Created by IAN Spector, they are satirical factoids about Norris. Since then, they have become widespread in popular culture. The ‘facts’ are normally absurd hyperbolic claims about Norris’ toughness, attitude, virility, sophistication and masculinity. From that point on, Norris started to tour with the Chuck Norris facts appearing on major talk shows and even visiting the troops in Iraq for morale boosting appearances.
In 2008, he published the political non-fiction book Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America, which reached number 14 on The New York Times bestseller list in September 2008. That same year, Gameloft produced the video game Chuck Norris: Bring On the Pain for mobile devices, based on the popularity Norris had developed on the internet with the Chuck Norris facts. The player takes control of Chuck Norris himself in a side-scrolling beat ’em up. The game was well reviewed.
Since 2010, Chuck Norris has been a nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate writing on both personal health issues and broader issues of healthcare in America.
He co-starred in the 2012 sequel to The Expendables. The film was a success and grossed over $310 million worldwide.
In 2017, Flaregames produced Non Stop Chuck Norris, an isometric action-RPG game for mobile devices and is the second game to be based on his popularity developed by the Chuck Norris facts. The game was well reviewed.
He has received many awards and his life looks on a happy dimension. But in fact, it is just superficial. He lacked the compassion of his father from a young age and his father’s alcohol obsession at that time. Each of us born in this world, has its own meaning and above all we learn to hide our emotions. It is not wrong but over time, it will be exhausting. Life will be really deep when we choose something as our passion. All of us in this world are healthy and always laugh if I have one wish; I wish this world would not have lonely people.
In 2018, Norris appeared in an ad for Hesburger, a Finnish hamburger chain.. That year he also did a commercial for Cerveza Poker. His third commercial that year was for Toyota.
In early January 2020, Norris starred in a QuikTrip commercial for their Snackle line of food. In it Norris descends in parachute where out of a cannon he shoots hot-dogs at a crowd of people. On April 3, Norris appeared in the series finale of Hawaii Five-0.
In January 2021, Norris was falsely accused of participating in the storming of the United States Capitol. A photo circulated online of his doppelganger among those storming the Capitol. The baseless speculation was shot down by his manager Erik Kritzer.
“This is not Chuck Norris and is a wannabe look alike although Chuck is much more handsome,” Kritzer told USA Today. “Chuck remains on his range in Texas where he has been with his family.”
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