Norris in 2015
|Born||Carlos Ray Norris
March 10, 1940
Ryan, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, martial artist, film producer, screenwriter, air policeman (U.S. Air Force)|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (178 cm)|
|Spouse(s)||Dianne Holechek (1958–89)
Gena O'Kelley (1998–present)
||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1958–1962|
|Rank||Airman First Class|
Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris (born March 10, 1940) is an American martial artist, actor, film producer and screenwriter. After serving in the United States Air Force, he competed as a martial artist who won many championships, and has since founded his own school of fighting, Chun Kuk Do.
Norris appeared in a number of action films, such as Way of the Dragon, in which he starred alongside Bruce Lee, Good Guys Wear Black, The Octagon, Lone Wolf McQuade, Code of Silence, the Missing in Action trilogy, and The Delta Force. He was The Cannon Group's leading star in the 1980s.
He played the title role in the television series Walker, Texas Ranger from 1993 until 2001.
Norris has written a variety of books. His subject matter varies from martial arts, exercise, philosophy, politics, Christian religion, western novels, to biography. He was twice a New York Times best-selling author. The first time with his book on his personal philosophy of positive force and the psychology of self-improvement based on personal anecdotes called The Secret of Inner Strength: My Story (1988). His other New York Times Best Seller Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America (2008), about his critique on current issues in the USA. He also writes a column for the conservative website WorldNetDaily.
In 2005, Norris became an internet star with the comical Chuck Norris facts, which documents fictional and often absurd feats associated with him. With this new found popularity he was hired to endorse many products who incorporate Chuck Norris facts in their the commercials. This phenomenon also spanned six books, two of them New York Time Best Sellers, and two video games.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Military service and introduction to martial arts
- 3 Career
- 3.1 Martial arts
- 3.2 Meeting Bruce Lee
- 3.3 Early roles and first book
- 3.4 First Starring role: Breaker! Breaker! and Breakthrough: Good Guys Wear Black
- 3.5 Subsequent Success
- 3.6 Becoming a household name
- 3.7 1990s and turning to television: Walker, Texas Ranger
- 3.8 2000s and Internet phenomenon: Chuck Norris facts
- 3.9 2010s
- 4 Chun Kuk Do
- 5 Distinctions, Awards, and Honors
- 6 Personal life
- 7 Philanthropy
- 8 Filmography
- 9 Bibliography
- 10 Video Games
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Norris was born in Ryan, Oklahoma on March 10, 1940, to Wilma (née Scarberry, born May 4, 1921) and Ray Norris (1918-1971), who was a World War II Army soldier, a mechanic, bus driver, and truck driver. Norris has stated that he has Irish and Cherokee roots. Norris was named after Carlos Berry, his father's minister. He has two younger brothers, Wieland (1943–1970; killed in Vietnam) and Aaron (a Hollywood producer). When Norris was sixteen, his parents divorced, and he later relocated to Prairie Village, Kansas, and then to Torrance, California, with his mother and brothers.
Norris has described his childhood as downbeat. He was nonathletic, 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 a debilitating introversion that lasted for his entire childhood.
Military service and introduction to martial arts
He joined the United States Air Force as an Air Policeman (AP) 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 (tangsudo), an interest that led to black belts in that art and the founding of the Chun Kuk Do ("Universal Way") form. When he returned to the United States, he continued to serve as an AP at March Air Force Base in California. Norris was discharged from the U.S. Air Force in August 1962.
Following his military service, Norris started to participate in Martial Arts competitions. He was defeated in his first two tournaments, dropping decisions to Joe Lewis and Allen Steen and three matches at the International Karate Championships to Tony Tulleners. By 1967 Norris had improved enough that he scored victories over the likes of Lewis, Skipper Mullins, Arnold Urquidez, Victor Moore, Ron Marchini, and Steve Sanders. Norris would be a two-time winner at S. Henry Cho's All American Championship. In early 1968, Norris suffered the tenth and last 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 held for six consecutive years. In 1969, he won Karate's triple crown for the most tournament wins of the year, and the Fighter of the Year award by Black Belt magazine.
Norris also worked for the Northrop Corporation and opened a chain of Karate schools including a storefront school in his then-hometown of Torrance on Hawthorne Boulevard. Norris' official website lists celebrity clients at the schools; among them Steve McQueen, Chad McQueen, Bob Barker, Priscilla Presley, Donny Osmond and Marie Osmond.
Meeting Bruce Lee
In 1968, when Norris competed for the World Title, Bruce Lee, who at the time was known for the TV serie The Green Hornet, noticed him. They developed a friendship and trained together for the next two years, until Lee returned to Hong Kong to pursue his movie career.
Early roles and first book
In 1969, 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 (titled Return of the Dragon in its U.S. distribution). The film is credited with launching him toward 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.
First Starring role: Breaker! Breaker! and Breakthrough: Good Guys Wear Black
Norris' first starring role was 1977's Breaker! Breaker!, an action trucking film. After turning down many offers to do many Martial Art films, Norris decided that he wanted to do films that had story and where the action would take place when it is emotionally right. The low budget film turned to be very successful.
In 1978, Norris starred in thriller Good Guys Wear Black, which he considered his first real film. No studio wanted to release it so Norris and his producers four-walled it and rented the theaters and took whatever money came in. They did very well, shot on a $1 million budget they made over $18 millions at the box office.
In 1979, Norris starred in A Force of One, where he plays Matt Logan, a world Karate champion who assist the police in their investigation. The film was developed while touring for Good Guys Wear Black. Again no studio wanted to pick it up, however it out-grossed the previous film by making $20 millions at the box office.
In 1980, he released The Octagon, where he must stop a group of terrorists trained in the ninja style. Unlike his previous films this time the studios wanted The Octagon. American Cinema Releasing is the group distributed it making almost $19 millions at the box office.
Becoming a household name
In 1983, Norris made Lone Wolf McQuade with Orion Pictures. The film was a worldwide hit and the movie had a positive reception from movie critics, often being compared to Sergio Leone's stylish spaghetti westerns. 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.
That same year, he also published his second book about general exercising called Toughen Up! the Chuck Norris Fitness System.
Also in 1983, Xonox produced the video game Chuck Norris Superkicks for the Commodore 64, Commodore VIC-20, Atari 2600, and Colecovision. The game combines two types of gameplay: moving through a map, and fighting against enemies. The player takes control of Chuck Norris who has to liberate a hostage. It was later sold as Kung Fu Superkicks when the license for the use of the name Chuck Norris expired.
In 1984, Norris starred in Missing in Action, the first of a series of Rambo-inspired POW rescue fantasies themed around the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue that were produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus and released under their Cannon Films banner, with whom he had a long relationship. Norris later dedicated these films to his younger brother Wieland. Wieland, a private in the 101st Airborne Division, had been killed in June 1970 in Vietnam while on patrol in the defense of Firebase Ripcord. The film, however, was criticized heavily as being a preemptive cash-in on the Rambo film series. The film however was a huge success and Norris became Cannon's most prominent star of the 1980s.
In 1985, Cannon Films released Missing in Action 2: The Beginning and Invasion U.S.A. which were extremely successful. That same year Orion Pictures released Code of Silence who received positive reviews. It's considered by fans and critics as Chuck Norris's best film to date.
In 1986, he made two films co-starring with Academy Award winners The Delta Force with Lee Marvin, and Firewalker, with Louis Gossett, Jr.. The Delta Force was a box office success. That same year he was involved in the production of the Ruby-Spears cartoon Karate Kommandos, which was published as a comic by Marvel Comics.
In 1987, he published the book The Secret of Inner Strength: My Story is explanation of his personal philosophy of positive force and the psychology of self-improvement is interspersed with anecdotes about international karate competitions, training with Bruce Lee, and Norris's acting career. It became a New York Times Best Seller.
In 1988, he did his last two films of that area Hero and the Terror, and Braddock: Missing in Action III which marks Aaron Norris's directorial debut, who would direct most of his films from that point on.
1990s and turning to television: Walker, Texas Ranger
In 1993, he began shooting the action series Walker, Texas Ranger, which lasted eight 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 the 1995–1996 and 1998–1999 seasons. His character Walker had cameos in the spin-off Sons of Thunder, and the TV show Martial Law.
At the 1994 edition of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF)'s Survivor Series event, Norris was the special outside enforcer for the casket match between The Undertaker and Yokozuna. During the match, Norris delivered a roundhouse kick to an interfering Jeff Jarrett.
In 1996, he published the book The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems where he explains how the ancient system of Zen, the core philosophy behind the martial arts, can help each of us achieve spiritual tranquility and real self-confidence. To make it accessible in everyday situations.
2000s and Internet phenomenon: Chuck Norris facts
On October 17, 2005, CBS premiered the Sunday Night Movie of the Week, Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire. The production was a continuation of the series, and not scripted to be a reunion movie. Norris reprised his role as Cordell Walker for the movie. He has stated that future Walker, Texas Ranger Movie of the Week projects are expected; however, this was severely impaired by CBS's 2006–2007 season decision to no longer regularly schedule Movies of the Week on Sunday night.
Chuck Norris facts originally started appearing on the Internet in early 2005. Created by Ian Spector, they are satirical factoids about him. As a result, they have become widespread in popular culture. The 'facts' are normally absurd hyperbolic claims about Norris' toughness, attitude, virility, sophistication, and masculinity. Norris has written his own response to the parody on his website, stating that he does not feel offended by them and finds some of them funny, claiming that his personal favorite is that they wanted to add his face to Mount Rushmore, but the granite is not hard enough for his beard. At first it was mostly college students exchanging them, but shortly after it moved to middle school kids, elementary school, bored office workers, the military, until they became extremely widespread. The trend would span books, video games, and TV ads based on it.
In 2006, he starred in the film The Cutter.
Also in 2006, Norris began penning a column for the news website WorldNetDaily, sharing his views on politics, American social issues, sports, and health.
On November 29, 2007, Gotham Books, the adult division of Penguin USA, released a book penned by Ian Spector entitled The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 facts about the World's Greatest Human. Norris subsequently filed suit in December against Penguin USA claiming "trademark infringement, unjust enrichment and privacy rights". Norris dropped the lawsuit in 2008. The book is a New York Time Best Seller. Ever since Spector published four more book based on the Chuck Norris facts these are Chuck Norris Cannot Be Stopped: 400 All-New Facts About the Man Who Knows Neither Fear Nor Mercy, Chuck Norris: Longer and Harder: The Complete Chronicle of the World's Deadliest, Sexiest, and Beardiest Man, The Last Stand of Chuck Norris: 400 All New Facts About the Most Terrifying Man in the Universe, and Chuck Norris Vs. Mr. T: 400 Facts About the Baddest Dudes in the History of Ever (also a New York Times Best Seller).
In 2008, Gameloft produced Chuck Norris: Bring On the Pain, based on the popularity of film actor developed on the internet with the Chuck Norris facts for mobile device. The player takes control of Chuck Norris himself in a side-scrolling beat 'em up. The game was well reviewed. 
In October 2014, he revealed that he would be shooting a new film, The Finisher, in March 2015.
In 2015, he appeared in two commercials for the French TV show Pieds dans le plat.
That same year, Norris and his wife Gena founded CForce Bottling Co. After an aquifer was discovered on under his ranch.
In 2017, he appeared in the advertisement for United Healthcare.
In 2017, Flaregames produced Non Stop Chuck Norris isometric an action-RPG game for mobile device and is the second game to be based on his popularity developed by the Chuck Norris facts. The game was well reviewed.
In 2017, Chuck Norris became Fiat's ambassador, a "tough face" for its commercial vehicles. Fiat says Norris embodies four pillars of its business: determination, reliability, dynamism, and competence.
|Style||Chun Kuk Do, Tang Soo Do, Taekwondo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo|
|Rank||Chun Kuk Do
10th degree black belt |
9th degree black belt Tang Soo Do
8th degree black belt Taekwondo
5th degree black belt in Karate
3rd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
black belt in Judo
Chun Kuk Do
Norris created the martial art Chun Kuk Do, which is based primarily on Tang Soo Do and includes elements from every combat style he knows. Like many other martial arts, Chun Kuk Do includes a code of honor and rules to live by. These rules are from Norris' personal code. They are:
- I will develop myself to the maximum of my potential in all ways.
- I will forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements.
- I will continually work at developing love, happiness and loyalty in my family.
- I will look for the good in all people and make them feel worthwhile.
- If I have nothing good to say about a person, I will say nothing.
- I will always be as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
- I will maintain an attitude of open-mindedness.
- I will maintain respect for those in authority and demonstrate this respect at all times.
- I will always remain loyal to my God, my country, family and my friends.
- I will remain highly goal-oriented throughout my life because that positive attitude helps my family, my country and myself.
Distinctions, Awards, and Honors
Norris has received many black belts this includes a 10th degree black belt Chun Kuk Do, a 9th degree black belt Tang Soo Do, an 8th degree black belt Taekwondo, a 5th degree black belt in Karate, a 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu from the Machado family, and a black belt in Judo.
In 1967, he won the Sparring Grand Champions at the S. Henry Cho's All American Championship, and won it again the following year.
In 1968, he won the Professional Middleweight Karate champion title, which he held for six consecutive years.
In 1969, he won Karate's triple crown for the most tournament wins of the year.
In 1969, he won the Fighter of the Year award by Black Belt magazine.
In 1982, he won Action Star of the Year at the ShoWest Convention.
In 1989, he received his Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 1992, he won International Box Office Star of the Year at the ShoWest Convention.
In 1997, he won the Special Award of being a Texas legend at the Lone Star Film & Television Awards.
From 1997 to 1998, he won for three consecutive years the BMI TV Music Award at the BMI Awards.
In 1999, Norris was inducted into the Martial Arts History Museum's Hall of Fame.
In 1999, he was nominated for Favorite Actor in a Drama by the TV Guide Award.
In 1999, he won the Inspirational Acting in Television Award at the Grace Prize Award.
On July 1, 2000, Norris was presented the Golden Lifetime Achievement Award by the World Karate Union Hall of Fame.
In 2001, he received the Veteran of the Year at the American Veteran Awards.
In 2001, he won the Golden Boot and the Golden Boot Awards.
In 2010, he won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the ActionFest.
Norris married Dianne Holechek in 1958. In 1962 their first child, Mike, was born. His daughter Dina was born in 1963 out 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 separate 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 two children from a previous marriage. She delivered twins on August 30, 2001: Dakota Alan Norris, a boy, and Danilee Kelly Norris, a girl.
On September 22, 2004, Norris told Entertainment Tonight's Mary Hart that his daughter Dina was the result of an extramarital affair. He did not meet her until she was 26, although she learned that he was her father when she was 16. She sent a letter informing him of their relationship. After meeting her, Norris said he knew she was his daughter upon seeing her.
In 2005, Norris reported in his autobiography that his mother gave birth to him when she was 18 years old.
Norris has thirteen grandchildren in 2017.
An outspoken Christian, Norris is the author of several Christian-themed books, such as The Justice Riders. He has also been in a few TV commercials promoting Bible study and prayer in public schools, in addition to efforts to reduce drug use. In his WorldNetDaily columns, he has expressed his belief in Biblical creationism, that those who are troubled should turn to Jesus, and is quoted as saying "true patriots" do not stay clear of discussing religion and politics.
Norris is a Republican, and has donated more than $32,000 to Republican candidates and organizations since 1988. Norris supports gun rights and ownership and is against public schools celebrating the Day of Silence.
On October 22, 2007, Norris announced his endorsement of Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee for President. Norris said, "I believe the only one who has all of the characteristics to lead America forward into the future is ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee."
After the 2008 presidential election, Norris drafted a letter to President-elect Barack Obama, stating that he should "use and cite the Constitution ... protect American life ... learn from the mistakes of your Democratic predecessors ... [and] lead more from the center".
On November 18, 2008, Norris became one of the first members of show business to express support for the California Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage, and he chided activists for "interfering" with the democratic process and the double standard he perceived in criticizing the LDS Church without criticizing African Americans, who had voted for the measure by a wide margin.
During the 2012 presidential election, Norris first recommended Ron Paul, and then later formally endorsed Newt Gingrich as the Republican presidential candidate. After Gingrich suspended his campaign in May 2012, Norris endorsed Republican presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, despite Norris having previously accused Romney of flip-flopping and of trying to buy the nomination for the Republican Party candidacy for 2012. On the eve of the election he and his wife Gina made a video warning that if evangelicals didn't show up at the polls and vote out President Obama, "...our country as we know it may be lost forever...". Norris also produced the film Answering the Call, which featured his 2007 trip to Iraq to visit the troops.
Norris endorsed Huckabee again in the 2016 Republican Primary before he dropped out. In March 2016, it was reported that Norris endorsed Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz and that he would be attending a Cruz rally, but two days later, Norris stated he would only endorse the GOP nominee once that nominee has been nominated by the party. He endorsed GOP nominee Donald Trump in the general election.
Norris endorsed former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in the 2017 United States Senate special election in Alabama.
In 1990, Norris established the United Fighting Arts Federation and Kickstart Kids. As a significant part of his philanthropic contributions, the organization was formed to develop self-esteem and focus in at-risk children as a tactic to keep them away from drug-related pressure by training them in martial arts. Norris hopes that by shifting middle school and high school children's focus towards this positive and strengthening endeavour, these children will have the opportunity to build a better future for themselves.
He is known for his contribution towards organizations such as Funds for Kids, Veteran's Administration National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans, the United Way, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the form of donations as well as fund-raising activities.
His time with the U.S. Veterans Administration as a spokesperson was inspired by his experience serving the United States Air Force in Korea. His objective has been to popularize the issues such as Pensions and Health care, that concern hospitalized war veterans. Due to his significant contributions, and continued patriotism, he received the Veteran of the Year award in 2001 at the American Veteran Awards.
Additionally, Norris supports the Vijay Amritraj Foundation, which aims at bringing hope, help and healing to the defenceless and innocent victims of disease, tragedy and circumstance in India. Through his donations, he has helped the foundation support Paediatric HIV/AIDS homes in Delhi, a blind school in Karnataka, and a mission that cares for HIV/AIDS infected adults, as well as mentally ill patients in Cochin.
- Winning Tournament Karate (1975)
- Toughen Up! the Chuck Norris Fitness System (1983)
- The Secret of Inner Strength: My Story (1987)
- The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems (1996)
- Against All Odds: My Story (2004)
- The Justice Riders (2006)
- A Threat to Justice (2007)
- Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America (2008)
- The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book: 101 of Chuck's Favorite Facts and Stories (2009)
- Chuck Norris Superkicks (1983)
- Missing in Action (1989) - TNT Games were developing a game based on the film Missing in Action for the Atari 7800. Although the game was at or near completion (as confirmed by the programmer), it appears that the 7800 market just wasn't viable enough for TNT to release it. The prototype resurfaced and has been well received by the game reviewer who tried it.
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- Non Stop Chuck Norris (2017)
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- See External Links Drew Marshall Interview
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- The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems, Zen Buddhism and martial arts. Little, Brown and Company (1996). ISBN 0-316-58350-2.
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- Norris, Chuck. Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America, Regnery Publishing (2008). ISBN 978-1-59698-558-2
- Spector, Ian: The Truth about Chuck Norris: Gotham Books: New York: 2007: ISBN 1-59240-344-1
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