Born: March 10, 1940
Birthplace: Ryan, Oklahoma, U.S.
Carlos Ray 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 is also a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu and Judo.
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.
Since 1997, he and model Christie Brinkley have been the main spokespersons for the Total Gym infomercials.
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 was 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), was 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 Times Best Sellers, and two video games.
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.
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.
In 1968, when Norris competed for the World Title, Bruce Lee, who at the time was known for the TV series 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.
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 1973, he had a small role in the comedy The Student Teachers, and played the main antagonist in the Lo Wei film Yellow Faced Tiger.
In 1974, actor Steve McQueen, who was his martial art student at the time, saw his potential and encouraged him to begin acting classes at MGM.
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 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.
The following films were both distributed by major studios. An Eye for an Eye (1981) by Embassy Pictures, and Silent Rage (1982) by Columbia Pictures.
Shortly afterwards MGM gave him a three-movie deal, and in 1981 they released Forced Vengeance. Norris was unhappy with the direction they wanted to take with him, hence the contract was cancelled.
In 1983, Norris made Lone Wolf McQuade with Orion Pictures. He plays J.J. McQuade is a reckless Texas Ranger who'd rather works alone, but gets a new partner because his captain would like to have him supervised. They end up against investigating an arms dealer played by David Carradine. 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. The film became the inspiration for Norris's 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.
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 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 just signed a multiple movie deal. He plays Colonel James Braddock is a US military officer who spent seven 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 US soldiers still held prisoner. Norris later dedicated these films to his younger brother Wieland, who was 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 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. Missing in Action 2: The Beginning is a prequel to the first installment, where Colonel James Braddock is held in a North Vietnamese POW camp run by sadistic Colonel, who forces the POWs to grow opium for a French drug runner, and tries to get Braddock to admit to and sign a long list of war crimes. During his team's time in captivity, they are relentlessly subjected to various forms of torture. This lead to escape attempt rom the camp, and plots to free his fellow prisoners and destroy the prison camp.
Invasion U.S.A. takes place during the Cold War area. A Soviet operative leads a band of Latin American communist guerillas in Florida. The invasion force spreads out into the South and causes havoc by shooting bazookas into suburban homes, inciting race riots by impersonating the police and attacking ethnic events, and planting bombs in churches and on school buses. With terror spreading everywhere, martial law is declared. A former CIA agent played by Norris, had previous encounters with Rostov, and can take him on.
That same year Orion Pictures released Code of Silence who received positive reviews and was also a box office success. Code of Silence is a crime drama, It features Norris as a streetwise plainclothes officer who takes down a crime czar responsible for officers being wounded in a botched drug raid. 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. In the film Norris and Marvin are leaders of an elite squad of Special Forces troops based on the real life U.S. Army Delta Force unit, who face a group of Lebanese terrorists who has hijacked a Boeing 707.
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 the eighties, Hero and the Terror, and Braddock: Missing in Action III which marks his brother Aaron Norris's directorial debut, who was either or both stunt and fight coordinator in the vast majority of his filmography up until that year. Aaron would direct most of his films from that point on.
By 1990, MGM acquired the Cannon Films library, and Norris made the sequel Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection where his character leads his Delta team into the fictional South American country of San Carlos to rescue hostages and stop the flow of cocaine into the United States.
In 1991, he starred in The Hitman, were he plays a cop who's been brutally shot by his crooked partner. He's in a coma for several years and when he wakes up he assumes a new identity and infiltrates a drug-smuggling operation run by the local Mafia.
In 1992, he did Sidekicks, his most successful film of that area. It is about a loner boy, who lives with his widowed father. He has vivid daydreams about being Chuck Norris' sidekick, battling against Norris's movie enemies, who are often personified by his everyday bullies.
In 1993, he began shooting the action series Walker, Texas Ranger. The show is centered on Sergeant Cordell Walker (Norris), a Dallas-Fort Worth-based member of the Texas Rangers, a state-level bureau of investigation and is about his adventures fighting criminals with his partner James Trivette. It 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.
During the prime of Walker, Texas Ranger, he made the movies Hellbound (1994), Top Dog (1995), Forest Warrior (1996), and Logan's War: Bound by Honor (1998).
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. Once attained, those strengths can be accessible in everyday situations.
In 1997, Norris has appeared with Christie Brinkley in a long-running series of cable TV infomercials promoting Total Gym home fitness equipment.
In early 2000s, Norris starred in the television film The President's Man (2000), its sequel The President's Man: A Line in the Sand (2002).
In 2003, he co-starred in the film Bells of Innocence, and that same year he was a guest on the TV Show Yes, Dear.
In 2004, he made a cameo in the Ben Stiller film DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story. That same year he published his autobiography Against All Odds: My Story.
In 2005, Norris founded the World Combat League (WCL), a full-contact, team-based martial arts competition, of which part of the proceeds are given to his Kickstart Kids program.
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.
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, with whom that facts played a source of morale.
In 2006, he starred in the film The Cutter.
During that time he published his first novel The Justice Riders (2006) and its sequel A Threat to Justice (2007) both were co-written with Ken Abraham, Aaron Norris, and Tim Grayem.
Also in 2006, Norris began penning a column for the news website WorldNetDaily, sharing his views on politics, American social issues, sports, and health.
In 2007, he did a commercial for soft drink Mountain Dew, it is the first commercial that uses his viral internet fame in its content.
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 Times Best Seller. Since then, 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, he published the political non-fiction book Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America, who reached number 14 on the New York Times best seller list in September 2008.
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.
On October 7, 2009, Tyndale House Publishers issued The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book: 101 of Chuck's Favorite Facts and Stories, which was co-written and officially endorsed by Norris.
In 2010, Norris appeared in advertisements for communications company T-Mobile in the Czech Republic.
In 2011, Norris appeared in advertisements for the World of Warcraft video game.
In 2012, Norris appeared in a series of commercials for the Polish bank BZ WBK.
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 2016, he starred in the commercial for the beer Hoegaarden.
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.
In 2018, Norris appeared in the Hesburger ad a Finnish hamburger chain. That year he also did a commercial for Cerveza Poker.
|Style||Chun Kuk Do, Tang Soo Do, Taekwondo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo|
|Rank|| 10th degree black belt Chun Kuk Do
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
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:
While in the military, Norris's rank units were Airman First Class, 15th Air Force, 22d Bombardment Group, and 452d Troop Carrier Wing.
Norris has received many black belts. These include a 10th degree black belt in Chun Kuk Do, a 9th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, an 8th degree black belt in 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.
Norris made history in 1990 when he was the first Westerner in the documented history of Taekwondo to be given the rank of 8th Degree Black Belt Grandmaster.
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.
On March 28, 2007, Commandant Gen. James T. Conway made Norris an honorary United States Marine during a dinner at the commandant's residence in Washington, D.C.
On December 2, 2010, he (along with brother Aaron) was given the title honorary Texas Ranger by Texas Governor Rick Perry.
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 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 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 he did not meet his daughter Dina from a past relationship until she was 26, although she learned that he was her father when she was 16. He met with her after she sent a letter informing him of their relationship.
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.
On April 22, 2008, Norris expressed his support for the intelligent design movement when he reviewed Ben Stein's Expelled for Townhall.com.
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 ... 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 has visited Israel and voiced support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the 2013 and 2015 elections.
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 that concern hospitalized war veterans such as Pensions and Health Care. 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.