Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris (born March 10, 1940) is an American martial artist and actor. 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, Chun Kuk Do. As a result of his "tough guy" image, an Internet phenomenon began in 2005 known as Chuck Norris facts, ascribing various implausible or even impossible feats to Norris.
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 next played the starring role in the television series Walker, Texas Ranger from 1993 to 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.
Norris was born in Ryan, Oklahoma. He is the son of Wilma (née Scarberry) and Ray Norris, who was a mechanic, bus driver, and truck driver. Norris has said that he has Irish and Cherokee Native American ancestry. Norris was named after Carlos Berry, his father's minister. He has two younger brothers, Wieland (deceased) 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. 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."
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. He created 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 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
Norris 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[disambiguation needed ]. 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. Chuck Norris retired with a karate record of 183–10–2.
It is occasionally cited that Norris made history in 1997 when he was the first Westerner in the documented history of Tae Kwon Do to be given the rank of 8th Degree Black Belt Grand Master. However, Norris appears to have been misled about this as there were at least two other U.S. Black Belts (Charles 'Chuck' Sereff and Edward Sell) awarded TKD 8th Dan several years prior. On July 1, 2000, Norris was presented the Golden Lifetime Achievement Award by the World Karate Union Hall of Fame.Acting career Rise to fame
In 1969, Norris made his acting debut in the Dean Martin film The Wrecking Crew.
In June 1970, his younger brother Wieland, a private in the 101st Airborne Division, was killed in Vietnam while on patrol in the defence of Firebase Ripcord. 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 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.
Norris' first starring role was 1977's Breaker! Breaker!, and subsequent films such as Good Guys Wear Black (1978), 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 prisoner of war rescue fantasies themed around the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue that were produced by Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus and released under their Cannon Films banner. Contrary to reports, Norris publicly said he was never offered the part of the Sensei of the Cobra Kai dojo in the film The Karate Kid.
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 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's 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, notably the Hallmark Channel.
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.Product endorsements 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 Chuck Norris's 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.
Norris married Dianne Holechek in 1958. In 1963 their first child, Mike, was born. His daughter Dina was born in 1964 to a woman he was not married to. Then, he had a second son, Eric, with his wife in 1965. After 30 years of marriage, Norris and Holechek divorced in 1988.
In November 1998, he married former model Gena O'Kelley, born in 1963 and 23 years Norris' junior. O'Kelley had two children from a previous marriage. She delivered twins in 2001: Dakota Alan Norris, a boy, and Danilee Kelly Norris, a girl. The wedding was performed by Lawrence Kennedy, who is featured in Norris' autobiography. 
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 to his home informing him of their relationship. After meeting her, Norris said he knew she was his daughter upon seeing her.Christianity
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 serves on the board of directors of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, an organization promoting the use of the Bible in public schools, and also speaks on behalf of organizations advocating official prayers in public schools.Martial arts and personal fitness
In his February 15, 2010 WorldNetDaily column, Norris announced that, starting in the fall of 2010, he will begin a second weekly column for Creators Syndicate. This new column, "C-Force", will focus on personal fitness.Chuck Norris facts
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.
On November 29, 2007, Gotham Books, the adult division of Penguin USA, released a book entitled The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 facts about the World's Greatest Human based on the Chuck Norris Facts. Norris filed suit in December against Penguin USA and author Ian Spector claiming "trademark infringement, unjust enrichment and privacy rights." Norris dropped the suit in May of the following year.Activism Philanthropy
In addition to being an action superstar, Chuck Norris is also a philanthropist. 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 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.
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.Political views
Norris is a Republican, often championing the views of the party. Norris has donated more than $32,000 to Republican candidates and organizations since 1988. Norris supports gun rights and ownership and is against public schools condoning homosexuality.
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.