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Biography

Chuck Norris in 2007
Chuck Norris in 2007

Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris (born March 10, 1940 in Ryan, Oklahoma) is the eldest of three children to a father Ray Norris, who is a Cherokee Indian and to a mother Wilma Scarberry, an Irish-English.

Norris is an American martial artist, international film and television star, who has starred in motion pictures such as Code of Silence, Delta Force, Missing in Action, Lone Wolf McQuade, Way of the Dragon and The Expendables 2, just to name a few (the full filmography list). He is a star of the highly rated CBS television series "Walker, Texas Ranger", which run for almost 9 years. With 203 episodes, is the most successful Saturday night series on CBS since "Gunsmoke".

His younger brother Wieland was born in 1943 (was killed while serving in Vietnam in 1970) and the youngest brother Aaron was born in 1951. When Chuck Norris was 12, his parents divorced and he moved to Torrance, California, with mother and brothers. Though the early years were tough, his mother, a devout Baptist, held the family together financially and emotionally, while Chuck took care of his two younger brothers. "She is still an inspiration to me," he says. "We didn't have much money, but there was always plenty of love."

In 1958 after graduating from high school, Norris married his high school sweetheart Dianne Holechek. They had been together for 30 years until 1988, when they divorced. In the same 1958 year, Norris joined the United States Air Force as an Air Policeman and was sent to Osan Air Base in South Korea, where he acquired the nickname Chuck. There he was for 4 years and held the rank of Airman First Class. He was first introduced to the Asian martial art of Tang Soo Do during a stint in Korea. "These studies changed my entire outlook on life," Norris recalls.

In 1962, Norris was sent back to the United States and honorably discharged from the military in August that same year. Then he started teaching karate besides working full time for Northrop Aviation. Two years later Norris had his own karate school that later successfully expanded nation wide and had many big name students including Steve McQueen, Priscilla Presley & Michael Landon.

In 1963 the first son Mike was born, in 1964 a daughter Dina was born and in 1965 the second son Eric was born.

During Chuck Norris' career (1964 to 1974) as a competitive martial artist, he won many of the most prestigious events including the triple crown after winning the All American Open Championships for a second time ('67, '68), and the North American Championships with a win over his close friend Skipper Mullins, another great during that era.  On November 24, 1968, Norris won the World Professional Middleweight Karate Champion title and held that title until he retired, a six-time undefeated, in 1974. Norris retired with a karate record of 183–10–2.

  • In 1968, Norris was inducted into Black Belt Hall of Fame as "Karate Fighter of the Year",
  • In 1975, as "Karate Instructor of the Year",
  • In 1977, as "Man of the Year",
  • In 1979, "Fighting Stars Editor's Award".
  • By the 1970s, Norris had revolutionized martial arts in the United States and was in the process of taking this exciting individual sport to a new level by transitioning it into a team event, when he was faced with a career choice: continue to build upon the team combat martial arts format he had pioneered or commit himself to a film acting career.
  • In 1990, Norris founded his own martial art style called Chun Kuk Do (CKD), meaning "The Universal Way", and he is also the Founder and Chairman of the United Fighting Arts Federation (UFAF) with more than 2,300 Chun Kuk Do Black Belts all over the world.
  • In 1997, Norris reached another milestone in his life: he was awarded an 8th degree Black Belt Grand Master recognition in the Tae Kwon Do martial arts system.
  • On July 1, 2000, Norris was presented the Golden Lifetime Achievement Award by the World Karate Union Hall of Fame.

In 1969, Norris made his film debut in Dean Martin's "The Wrecking Crew". In 1972 invited by Bruce Lee, Chuck co-starred as the top fighting villain in "The Way of the Dragon".

By the time he was 34 (1974), Norris had achieved his early goals - he had 32 Karate schools, and had been Champion for the past six years. He was up to a new challenge. On the advice of his friend, Steve McQueen, he turned to acting. Norris gradually established his original film style by incorporating all his karate skills and martial arts knowledge.

"The hardest part of acting for me was to relax totally in front of the camera," he admits. "After many years of learning to control my emotions in karate, I found it very difficult to reverse that process and fully express them. But I try to learn from my mistakes and, hopefully, have developed more as an actor with each role."

Chuck Norris kick
Chuck Norris kick

While a large part Norris' appeal stems from his physical prowess, he stresses that his work features action, and violence. "I try to keep my fighting scenes artistic, using techniques as the show, rather than violence and its aftermath," he points out. "Most of all, the characters I portray use their skills only as a last resort, and that's what I want people to take with them."

Norris' intense drive and determination extended beyond his martial arts and acting career.  He was an offshore powerboat racer with speeds of 140 miles per hour.  In 1990, he and his team, with sponsor "Popeye's Chicken", won the World Offshore Powerboat Championships. Norris went on to set a new world record by racing a 38 foot Scarab boat 605 miles across the Great Lakes, from Chicago to Detroit, in 12 hours and 8 minutes.

On November 28, 1998, Norris married a former model Gena O'Kelley. The couple had twins Dakota Alan (boy) and Danilee Kelly (girl) on August 30, 2001.

Norris is a devout Christian and politically conservative. He is also a New York Times bestselling author of three books. They include "Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America", and the 2004 autobiographical "Against All Odds: My Story". Norris has also penned two works of fiction, "The Justice Riders" and "A Threat to Justice". In 2006, he added "columnist" to his list of credits with the launch of his popular internet column on the independent news site WorldNetDaily.com. His weekly column is now widely syndicated and carried by Human Events and Townhall, among other outlets.

Modeling a life of health and fitness for more than 5 decades, Norris has promoted the importance of exercise by his endorsement of the Total Gym, a popular exercise machine that is sold internationally in more than 80 countries. Most recently he launched a syndicated weekly health and fitness column called C-Force to help inspire and improve the health and fitness of his readers by taking a holistic view of health-that wellness is obtained and maintained by treating ourselves as an integrated whole, in mind, body and spirit.

A genuine internet phenomenon, Norris has become the subject of countless Paul Bunyan-type fictional "facts" of his exploits, submitted by fans. There are currently more than a million such "facts" floating around the internet. In November of 2009, he came out with "The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book", focusing on 101 of his favorite facts and stories.

A very popular public speaker, Norris is a strong supporter of the NRA, supporting our 2nd amendment rights and was named Honorary Chairman of the NRA’s, "Trigger the Vote" campaign and has served as spokesperson for agencies such as The United Way and The Veterans Administration. Norris, an Air Force veteran, was named an Honorary  Marine in 2007, which was an incredible honor demonstrating the appreciation the Corps felt for his two "hand shake" tours of Iraq within a one year period.

Chuck was asked how he would like to be remembered. Chuck's answer was as a Humanitarian. He has gotten a good start by:

  1. Being the spokesperson for United Way, doing an eight-minute commercial, which helped bring in over two billion dollars.
  2. Veterans Administration spokesperson visiting over 12 V.A. hospitals and speaking with World War II, Korean and Vietnam War Veterans including one from World War I.
  3. Winning the 1998 Epiphany award on Walker, Texas Ranger for the best Christian program.
  4. The Jewish Humanitarian Man of the Year Award.
  5. Actively involved with the Make A Wish Foundation for 20 years by making dreams come true for terminally ill children.
  6. BMI Music Television Award for Walker, Texas Ranger theme song, "The Eyes of the Ranger".
  7. Texas Ranger Hall of Fame.
  8. Commissioned Police Officer for Terrell, Texas.
  9. Motivational speaker for many Christian ministries, such as T.D. Jakes Ministry, Trinity Broadcasting, and Bill Glass Crusade.
Chuck Norris with his wife Gena and twins Dakota and Danilee at KICK-IT-UP for K
Chuck Norris with his wife Gena and twins Dakota and Danilee at KICK-IT-UP for KickStart Kids event - Rodeo
Saturday, October 23, 2010

A man of deep religious convictions and a giving spirit, Chuck will say that next to his family, his most rewarding accomplishment is the creation in 1992 of his KICKSTART KIDS (formerly "Kick Drugs Out of America") Foundation. His wife, Gena, is also a leading force in this endeavor as the Foundations Co-Chairman. With the purpose of building strong moral character in our youth through martial arts training, the Foundation has become the most important mission of Chuck and Gena's lives, following the development and well-being of their family. KICKSTART KIDS now works with over 6,500 at-risk youth on a daily basis as part of the daily school curriculum in middle schools and since its inception; the program has graduated almost 70,000 youngsters. Their goal is to expand the program all over Texas and eventually nationwide.

The Norris' live on their "Lone Wolf" ranch near Houston in Navasota, Texas, where they are raising their eleven–year old twins, Dakota and Danilee.

Martial arts expert, action man, family man, religious man, movie star, television producer, humanitarian and internet super-hero, Norris wears many hats, all of which seem to fit rather well. He certainly doesn't lack energy, drive and good will. Perhaps it can all be traced back to his childhood, which he described as downbeat, and when he was abandoned by his father and bullied by his fellow pupils. It may have been his bleak beginnings in life, which provided him with the determination to succeed, and to continue doing whatever he does with determination and integrity.

Videos

Chuck Norris speaks to students at Kent State University on September 28, 2008 to promote his new book "Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America".
00:00:00-00:03:50 - intro. | 00:03:50-00:40:00 - Chuck Norris tells his life story. | 00:40:00-01:00:00 - Q&A session.

22 comments

your the one and only..... we love you chuck.

I have two boy's when they were younger we would watch Walker Texas Ranger. The youngest son looked at me and mention he would like to learn martial arts. So we enrolled him in the karate school and he very well in it. He left it for a couple of years. Then my two boy's and I both enrolled in it. We did really have a good time and enjoyed it. Both my boy's have disablilities and karate has helped them in many ways. Thank you.

CHUCK........
HAVE GENA CHECK OUT WILLI LEAVY ART STUDIO ON HIS PAINTING OF HER AT AN EARLIER AGE

I really wanted to compose a quick note to be able to say thanks to you for some of the fantastic at this site.

Chuck, You had an amazing career that touched many. God Bless YOu and Gena.

I am a 78 year old single parent of a 10 year old boy. He was enrolled in the Kingston Martial Arts Center, Kingston, Tn, to try to compensate for ADHD. He got as far as ghis green belt then gave up. I would deeply6 appreciate it if you could encourage him to resume his training.

Mr. Norris I need your help can u please call me my number is 203-9828927

Thanks a lot for writing this, it was unbelievably informative and told me a ton good luck

Thanks Chuck for being a great Humanitarian, you have inspired me greatly, as Walker Texas Ranger even at the age that I am now and was when the show first airied I wanted to be just like you a man of God and a lover of humanity like Jesus Christ Keep doing what you do Mr. Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris Friends forever

chuck Norris your awesome, i love your movies and of course Walker Texas Ranger, im only 17 but still remember watching them when i was alittle younger and still to this day, i have all seasons on dvd, haha. Chuck your my hero and are truly a great person, i would love to grow up and be just like you.

My mom who is 83 years old moved in with us a year ago, and EVERY day from 2-5:00 we watch Texas Walker Ranger!! I really like the show now !! She actually pulled a groin muscle when she went to throw a kick while watching TWR !! lol For Christmas my husband bought her a bobble head Chuck ! She pats it and he talks and she just laughs and laughs! SHE IS NOT SENILE !! She just LOVES Chuck !!!!

I would LOVE one day for her to meet him!

Tammy

To Chuck and family from one Christian Family to another Christian family Gods richest blessings to you all and keep up the good work by bringing GODS book and love into the schools. Our prayers and thoughts are with you all. Chris.

Dear Mr. Norris:
My name is Patty Pickett. James Pickett is my son, and was the recipient of last years' CKD ITC "Most Inspirational" award. I can only say that it was the proudest moment of both of our lives. It is with HUGE regret that we've not sent you thank you letters directly. I don't know if you remember the story, but my husband Donald was a student of David Dunn's and he suffered a heart attack and passed away suddenly at 50 years old. He loved the Martial Arts, and although he was preparing to take his Black Belt test just before he passed you made it possible for David Dunn to present it to him on the day he passed away (this was coincidental, or what I believe to be devine intervention). My son was nine years old at the time and had his 10th birthday 5 days after his father passed away. That year James took 200 private lessons on top of regular classes and received his black belt about three years ago. I did not think about going to this web site to send you my deepest thanks for what you did for my husband, but more importantly my son and our family. His acheivements in the Martial Arts are what has kept my husbands spirt alive and has been James' "therapy" through difficult times.
As the anniversary of Dons passing is approaching, as well as James' birthday, would it be possible to contact someone @ CKD to get a picture of James getting his award and if available a video of the presentation. I would have taken the video myself, but I was in tears myself as the speech given by Ken Gallagher was so beautiful. If someone at your camp could help me with this I would be truely grateful. I can be reached at 661-476-8539 or emailed at pattyp3102005@yahoo.com. Again, thank you for all you've done for me and James.

im watching all the walker Texas ranger on CBS also i enjoy your films

.please could you save the horses in Oklahoma. The bill was signed to slaughter the horses yesterday.

I. Have a non profit foundation for assisted living. However I feel the horses could be trained for rehabilitation therapy. I am a retired nurse from rehab. And know nothing about horses. I have been watching walker every day. And. Thought you of all people could help?????--

God bless you and thank you.
Sonja

Chuck you always have been my role model. Thank you for being a great man.

Всем привет кто-нибудь читает делфи? Следит за жизнью в Латвии?

chuck I,ve watched walker texas ranger from the time it came on and still do Alfred Tansey

I HAVE SEEN ALL OF YOUR MOVIES,BUT I LOVE WALKER TEXAS RANGER,I STILL WATCH 3 EPISODES OF RERUNSMONDAY THRU FRIDAY. WISH YOU COULD BRING IT BACK TO T V .

Mr. Norris
Thank you for all and hope to meet you once you visit Dominican Republic...god bless you..!!

I don't think we are related...lol. But I so much love your movies, and maybe some day I be like you.

Dina isn't a daughter of Chuck and Dianne cause, Chuck said that he cheated on his wife with another woman. It's sad but it's true. :/

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