Born Carlos Ray Norris, Chuck Norris entered the world on the 10th of March in 1940. World-renowned for his martial arts ability and his acting skills, this American icon started his ascent to fame after a stint in the American Air Force. Currently, Norris runs a martial arts school that is named, Chun Kuk Do.
As an actor, Chuck Norris has carved out an identity as a powerful, hyper-masculine action hero. His best-known films, such as Way of the Dragon, allowed him to showcase his martial arts prowess alongside other martial arts legends, including Bruce Lee. In the 1990s, Norris received widespread attention and acclaim for his starring role in the television series, Walker, Texas Ranger. The show ran from 1993 to 2001.
These days, Norris, who practices Christianity and espouses right-wing political views, is known for his support of Republican politicians and causes. For example, he supported presidential candidate Mike Huckabee in the 2008 presidential election. Huckabee did not win the Republican nomination.
The Life and Times of an American Icon
Born in Ryan, Oklahoma, Chuck Norris is the son of Wilma Scarberry and Ray Norris. His father was employed in a series of jobs, including mechanic and bus driver. Believed to be of Irish and Cherokee Indian extraction, Norris was named for his father’s minister, Carlos Berry. Norris has two siblings, Wieland and Aaron.
However, Wieland has now passed away. Aaron works in Hollywood as a producer. At the age of sixteen, Norris’ parents split up. At this point, Morris moved to Kansas, and later moved to Torrance, California. He lives with his mother and siblings after his parents separated.
Norris did not really enjoy his childhood, as he felt awkward and his academic performance was subpar. In addition, he was teased due to his mixed heritage. Norris fantasized about taking revenge on childhood bullies, and this may have been the inspiration for his later martial arts acumen.
His Dad drank too much throughout his childhood, and therefore couldn’t function as a strong male role model. This caused young Chuck plenty of heartache. However, as the years passed, Norris became more philosophical about this father’s weaknesses, stating that he “loved him, but did not like him”.
Chuck Norris became an Air Policeman in the United States Air Force, enlisting in 1958. His first posting was to the Osan Air Base in South Korea. At this point, he acquired his nickname, “Chuck”, and began to practice the fundamentals of Tang Soo Do, which he eventually earned a black belt in. Later, he was transferred to an air base in California.
In 1962, Norris left the air force, and went to work with the Northrop Corporation. With their assistance, he opened a range of Karate facilities, including a Torrance, California location. Many famous people practiced martial arts at his dojo, including Steve McQueen and Donny Osmond.
Film and Television Highlights
In the 1970s, Norris appeared in Return of the Dragon. One pivotal and memorable scene found him fighting Bruce Lee within the Roman Colosseum. In 1977, Norris starred in another action flick, Breaker! Breaker!
While detractors depict Norris’ acting style as wooden and devoid of emotional range, audiences really responded to his “no holds barred” action style. Norris doled out punishment to the bad guys in almost every film that he ever made, including Good Guys Wear Black and Forced Vengeance.
1984 brought Norris a starring turn in Missing in Action, which told the story of a Vietnam vet who returned to the country to free American soldiers. Since Norris’ brother perished while fighting in Vietnam, this film was done in tribute, and probably figures among the actor’s most meaningful and poignant roles.
Personal Life and Interests
Chuck Norris was married to Dianne Holechek, and they had three children together. When the couple split in the late 1980s, he went on to marry Gena O’Kelley, who bore him twins three years after their wedding. Norris enjoys racing powerboats in professional competitions. Norris is a noted philanthropist who supports the Make-a-Wish Foundation and other worthy charities. He also remains politically active within Republican circles. This famous American has enjoyed a long and varied career, and currently has achieved cult status due to his martial arts skills and acting forays.