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Chuck Norris
Chuck Norris May 2015.jpg
Norris in 2015
Born
Carlos Ray Norris

March 10, 1940 (1940-03-10) (age 79)
Ryan, Oklahoma, U.S.
Occupation Actor, martial artist, film producer, screenwriter
Years active 1968–present
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Dianne Holechek (1958–88)
Gena O'Kelley (1998–present)
Children 5
Military career
Allegiance  United States of America
Rank E3 USAF AM1.svg Airman First Class
Unit
  • Patch 15th USAAF.png 15th Air Force
  • 22d Air Refueling Wing.png 22d Bombardment Group
  • 452d Air Mobility Wing.png 452d Troop Carrier Wing
Awards
  • National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal
  • Korea Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg Korea Defense Service Medal
  • Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon.png Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
  • Air Force Longevity Service ribbon.svg Air Force Longevity Service Award
  • Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon.png Small Arms Expert Marksmanship
Website chucknorris.com

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 began his rise to fame as a martial artist, 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, and was The Cannon Group's leading star in the 1980s. He played the starring role in the television series Walker, Texas Ranger from 1993 until 2001.

Norris is a devout Christian and politically conservative. He has written several books on Christianity and donated to a number of Republican candidates and causes. In 2007 and 2008, he campaigned for former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who was running for the Republican nomination for president in 2008. Norris also writes a column for the conservative website WorldNetDaily. Since 2005 Norris has been widely associated with an internet meme which documents fictional and often absurd feats associated with him.

Early life

Norris was born in Ryan, Oklahoma on March 10, 1940, to Wilma (née Scarberry) and Ray Norris, 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).

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 in August 1962. He 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.

Martial arts career

Chuck Norris (1976)
Norris in 1976

Norris was defeated in his first two tournaments. By 1967 Norris had improved enough that he started scored victories, he was a two-time winner at S. Henry Cho's All American Championship. On November 24, 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, and the Fighter of the Year award by Black Belt magazine.

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 1999, Norris was inducted into the Martial Arts History Museum's Hall of Fame. On July 1, 2000, Norris was presented the Golden Lifetime Achievement Award by the World Karate Union Hall of Fame.

Rise to fame

In 1969, Norris made his acting debut in the Dean Martin film The Wrecking Crew. At a martial arts demonstration in Long Beach, Norris met the martial artist Bruce Lee. In 1972, he acted as Lee's nemesis in the movie Way of the Dragon (titled Return of the Dragon in its U.S. distribution), which is widely credited with launching him toward stardom. In Asia, Norris is still known primarily for this role. In 1974, McQueen encouraged him to begin acting classes at MGM.

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 aforementioned films were produced by Norris' brother Aaron Norris, as were several episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger. In 1986, he was involved in the production of the Ruby-Spears cartoon Karate Kommandos.

After an 8-year layoff, he starred in the 2012 sequel to The Expendables.

In October 2014, he revealed that he would be shooting a new film, The Finisher, in March 2015.

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:

  1. I will develop myself to the maximum of my potential in all ways.
  2. I will forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements.
  3. I will continually work at developing love, happiness and loyalty in my family.
  4. I will look for the good in all people and make them feel worthwhile.
  5. If I have nothing good to say about a person, I will say nothing.
  6. I will always be as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
  7. I will maintain an attitude of open-mindedness.
  8. I will maintain respect for those in authority and demonstrate this respect at all times.
  9. I will always remain loyal to my God, my country, family and my friends.
  10. I will remain highly goal-oriented throughout my life because that positive attitude helps my family, my country and myself.

Activism

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.

Norris also established the United Fighting Arts Federation and Kickstart Kids in 1990. 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.

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.

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.

Honors

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.

Internet meme

In late 2005, Norris became the object of an ironic internet meme known as "Chuck Norris Facts", which document fictional, often absurdly heroic feats and characteristics about Norris. 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.

Filmography

Related pages

  • Chuck Norris facts

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