Birth name Carlos Ray Norris
Born March 10, 1940 (1940-03-10) (age 67)
Notable roles Cordell Walker in Walker, Texas Ranger
Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris (born on 10 March 1940) is an American martial artist, action star, Hollywood actor, and recently, an internet phenomenon, who is best known for playing Cordell Walker on Walker, Texas Ranger.
A native of Ryan, Oklahoma, Norris has two younger brothers, Wieland (deceased) and Aaron (a Hollywood producer).
Chuck Norris was born to an alcoholic father who is half Irish and half Cherokee. Norris's mother is also half Irish and half Cherokee. Norris is very proud of his Native American heritage, and frequently referred to his origins on his hit show Walker, Texas Ranger.
When Norris was 10, his parents divorced, and he later relocated to Prairie Village, Kansas and then Torrance, California with his mother and brothers. Norris describes his childhood as downbeat. He was nonathletic, shy, and scholastically mediocre. Other children taunted him about his mixed ethnicity, and Norris daydreamed about beating up his tormentors. Norris mentioned in his autobiography that his father had a very serious problem with drinking and "wasn't there" a lot for him growing up. Norris admitted that he loved his father but did not like him. However, he professed that he only felt pity for the man because "that was just how he was, and he missed so much."
Chuck Norris finished high school and soon married his girlfriend, Diane Holechek. In 1958 Norris joined the United States Air Force as an Air Policeman and was sent to Osan Air Base, South Korea. It was in South Korea that Norris acquired the nickname Chuck and began his training in Tang Soo Do (tangsudo), an interest that would lead to black belts in that art, as well as Taekwondo, and Shito ryu Karate, and the founding of the Chun Kuk Do ("Universal Way") form and the education associations United Fighting Arts Federation and "KickStart", formerly "Kick Drugs Out of America", a middle school – and high school – based program intended to give at-risk children a focus point in life through the martial arts. When he returned to the United States he continued to act as an AP at March Air Force Base California. Norris was discharged in August of 1962. He worked for the Northrop Corporation and opened a chain of karate schools, which Chad McQueen, Steve McQueen's son, attended. Norris made history in 1997 when he was the first Westerner in the documented history of Taekwondo to be given the rank of 8th Degree Black Belt Grand Master. On July 1, 2000 he was presented the Golden Lifetime Achievement Award by the World Karate Union Hall of Fame.
Currently, Norris lives in north Dallas and owns a ranch between Navasota, Texas and Anderson, Texas. He also has a small residence in Los Angeles for when he does films or television shows. He works for KickStart, which is located in Dallas and Houston.
Rise to fame
Norris' entrance into tournament karate began on a losing note. He was defeated in his first two tournaments, dropping decisions to Joe Lewis and Allan Steen and three matches at the International Karate Championships to Tony Tulleners. However, by 1967, Norris began to demonstrate his skill and scored victories over the likes of Joe Lewis, Skipper Mullins, Arnold Urquidez, Victor Moore, Ron Marchini, and Steve Sanders. In early 1968, Norris suffered the fifth and last loss of his career, losing an upset decision to Louis Delgado. However, on November 24, 1968, he avenged his defeat to Delgado and in the process won the Professional Middleweight Karate champion (non-contact) 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. It was also in 1969 that Norris made his acting debut, in the Dean Martin movie The Wrecking Crew.
In 1970, his younger brother Weiland was killed in Vietnam. Norris later dedicated his Missing in Action films to his brother's memory.
At a martial arts demonstration in Long Beach, Norris met the soon-to-be famous martial artist Bruce Lee. In 1972, he acted as Bruce Lee's nemesis in the movie Way of the Dragon (also known as Return of the Dragon), which is widely credited with launching his way into stardom. In Asia, he is still known primarily for this role.
In 1974, McQueen encouraged him to begin acting classes at MGM. Chuck Norris retired with a karate record of 65–5, having avenged all of his defeats.
Norris' first starring role was 1977's Breaker! Breaker!, and subsequent films such as The Octagon (1980), An Eye for an Eye (1981), and Lone Wolf McQuade proved his increasing box office bankability. In 1984, Norris starred in Missing in Action, the first of a series of POW rescue fantasies produced by Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus and released under their Cannon Films banner. Also in that year, he was offered the part of the sensei of the Kobra Kai dojo in the movie The Karate Kid, but declined the part. He reportedly did not want to take part in depicting martial artists in an unfavorable light. However, Norris disputes this story. On a February 9, 2006 episode of Adam Corolla's radio show, Norris said that he was never offered the role. Norris noted that he was already playing leading roles by the time The Karate Kid was in production.
Over the next four years, Norris became Cannon's most prominent star, appearing in eight films, including Code of Silence, The Delta Force, and Firewalker, in which he co-starred with Academy Award winner Louis Gossett, Jr.. Many of the afformentioned films were produced by Chuck Norris's brother Aaron, as were several episodes of Walker Texas Ranger.
In 1986, he was involved in the production of the Ruby Spears cartoon Karate Kommandos.
Walker, Texas Ranger
By the close of the 1980s, Cannon Films had faded from prominence, and Norris' star appeal seemed to go with it. He reprised his Delta Force role for MGM, which had acquired the Cannon library after the latter's Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Norris went on to make several more largely ignored films before making a transition to television. In 1993, he began shooting the series Walker, Texas Ranger, which lasted eight years on CBS and continued in heavy syndication on other channels.
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. This was severely impaired by CBS' 2006–2007 season decision to no longer regularly schedule MOWs on Sunday night.
In 1963, his first child with Holechek, a son named Mike, was born. A daughter, Dina, was born in 1964, and a second son, Eric, followed in 1965. After 30 years of marriage, Norris and Holechek divorced in 1988. He married again in 1998, this time to former model Gena O'Kelley, and she delivered twins in 2001: Dakota Alan Norris, a boy, and Danilee Kelly Norris, a girl. Norris has always been a very loving family man; it was noted in People that his adult sons still hug and kiss him goodbye. "It's great my boys aren't afraid to show love," Norris said. "Nothing can buy that." Norris's son, Mike, said of his father, "Dad never had a lot of love growing up, but he has given me and my brother all that he should have had in multiples." However, in the same interview Mike said that he still wouldn't want to mess with his dad.
Norris pinning corporal chevrons on United States Marine Corps Corporal John Wright during a promotion ceremony at Camp Taqaddum in the Al Anbar province of Iraq on November 2, 2006.Now an outspoken Christian, Chuck Norris is the author of several Christian 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.
Additionally, the conservative news website WorldNetDaily gave Norris a column in 2006, and he used part of his first piece to express his belief that evolution doesn't exist, as well as explaining "if your soul needs healing, the prescription you need is (...) Jesus' blood."
Chuck Norris anchoring on Fox News Channel Hannity & ColmesChuck Norris is a political conservative, often championing values shared by the Republican Party. Equally, Norris was named one of President George W. Bush's favorite actors, and was invited to his inaugural ball in 2001.
Since 1988, Norris has donated over $32,000 to Republican candidates and organizations.
In 2006, he began penning a column for the conservative news website WorldNetDaily, and in his columns has expressed his beliefs that, among other things, evolution doesn't exist, those who are troubled should turn to Christ and is quoted as saying "true patriots" don't stay clear of discussing religion and politics. In addition, Norris also speaks on behalf of organizations advocating prayer in public schools.
On January 26, 2007, Norris filled in for Sean Hannity as a co-host on the popular Fox News Channel debate program Hannity & Colmes alongside Alan Colmes.
Chun Kuk Do
Main article: Chun Kuk Do
Chuck Norris in 1976Chuck Norris created the martial art Chun Kuk Do, which is based primarily on Tang Soo Do and includes elements from every combat style Chuck knows. Like many other martial arts Chun Kuk Do includes a code of honor and rules to live by. These rules are from Chuck 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 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.