Chuck Norris

Active - 1969 - 2014  |   Born - Mar 10, 1940 in Ryan, Oklahoma, United States  |   Genres - Action

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Biography by Hal Erickson

American action star Chuck Norris first learned martial arts while serving in the Air Force. From 1968 through 1974, he held the world's middleweight karate championship title. During this period, he made his film debut in The Wrecking Crew (1968) and his TV bow on a 1970 episode of Room 222. Thanks to the celebrity clientèle of his Los Angeles karate school, Norris was able to make the right contacts which enabled him to embark on a starring career in films. Building a box-office following with such fast-paced (and rapidly filmed) actioners as A Force of One (1979) and Lone Wolf McQuade (1982), Norris reached his professional apex as Colonel James Braddock in the three Missing in Action films of the 1980s. Around 1987, Norris' stardom went into eclipse, thanks in part to the heady competition of Schwarzenegger, Jean Claude Van Damme, and Steven Seagal; though he still occasionally appears in films, most of his later efforts don't back their cost until they hit the video shelves. In 1986, Chuck Norris lent his name and his voice to a brief TV cartoon series, Chuck Norris' Karate Kommandos, in which, after his cartoon counterpart decimates every bad guy within 50 miles, the real Norris cautions his young audience that "violence is my last option."

In the early nineties he found himself starring in the popular TV series Walker, Texas Ranger which ran for nine seasons. He spoofed his own persona with a cameo in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, and in 2012 he joined the cast of The Expendables 2 - teaming with other masters of 80s action films like Stallone, Willis, and Schwarzenegger.

Movie Highlights

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  • Joined the Air Force after high school and was stationed in Korea, where he first became interested in the study of martial arts.
  • From 1968 to 1974, he won six consecutive World Professional MiddleWeight Karate Championships.
  • Appeared opposite martial-arts expert Bruce Lee in Return of the Dragon (1972).
  • In 1990, started a foundation called Kick Drugs Out of America (which later became KickStart) whose objective was to help kids stay away from drugs by giving them martial-arts training.
  • In 1997, was awarded 8th degree Black Belt Grand Master recognition in the Tae Kwon Do system, the first man in the Western Hemisphere to be so honored.
  • An devout Christian, he joined the Board of Directors for the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools in 2007.
  • In addition to coauthoring his 2004 best-selling memoir Against All Odds: My Story, he cowrote the Western adventure novels The Justice Riders (2006) and A Threat to Justice: A Novel (2007) and penned the nonfiction, politically focused Black Belt Patriotism (2008).
  • Endorsed and campaigned for 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
  • Is the founder of the United Fighting Arts Federation, which governs and teaches the martial-arts style of Chun Kuk Do.