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 competed as a martial artist, won many championships, and he has since founded his own school of fighting, Chun Kuk Do. Norris is a black belt in Tang Soo Do, Brazilian jiu jitsu and Judo.
Norris in 2015
Carlos Ray Norris
March 10, 1940
Ryan, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Residence||Navasota, Texas, U.S.|
|Occupation||Actor, martial artist, film producer, screenwriter, air policeman (U.S. Air Force)|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (178 cm)|
(m. 1958; div. 1989)
|Children||5, including Mike and Eric Norris|
|Service/||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1958–1962|
|Rank||Airman First Class|
Norris appeared in a number of action films, such as Way of the Dragon (in which he starred alongside Bruce Lee), Good Guys Wear Black, The Octagon, Lone Wolf McQuade, Code of Silence, The Delta Force, and Missing in Action 1, 2, & 3. He was The Cannon Group's leading star in the 1980s. He played the title role in the television series Walker, Texas Ranger from 1993 until 2001. Since 1997, he and model Christie Brinkley have been the main spokespersons for the Total Gym infomercials.
Norris has written several books, with subject matter varying from martial arts, exercise, philosophy, politics, Christian religion, western novels, to biography. He was twice a New York Times best-selling author, firstly with his book on his personal philosophy of positive force and the psychology of self-improvement based on personal anecdotes called The Secret of Inner Strength: My Story (1988). His second New York Times Best Seller, Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America (2008), was about his critique on current issues in the USA.
Originally starting in early 2005 on an internet forum and later on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Chuck Norris facts became an internet meme documenting fictional and often absurd feats of strength and endurance. Although Norris himself did not produce the "facts", he was hired to endorse many products that incorporated Chuck Norris facts in advertising, and the phenomenon resulted in six books (two of them New York Times Best Sellers) and two video games.
Norris was born in Ryan, Oklahoma on March 10, 1940, to Wilma (née Scarberry, born May 4, 1921) and Ray Norris (1918–1971), 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). 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. His father, Ray, worked intermittently as an automobile mechanic, and went on alcohol drinking binges that lasted for months at a time. Embarrassed by his father's behavior and the family's financial plight, Norris developed a debilitating introversion that lasted for his entire childhood.
1958 to 1968: United States Air Force and Martial arts
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 from the U.S. Air Force in August 1962.
Following his military service, Norris started to participate in martial arts competitions. He was defeated in his first two tournaments, dropping decisions to Joe Lewis and Allen Steen. He lost 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, and Vic Moore. Norris would be a two-time winner at S. Henry Cho's All American Championship. 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.
Norris also worked for the Northrop Corporation and opened a chain of karate schools including a storefront school in his then-hometown of Torrance, CA on Hawthorne Boulevard. Norris's official website lists celebrity clients at the schools; among them Steve McQueen, Chad McQueen, Bob Barker, Priscilla Presley, Donny Osmond and Marie Osmond.
In 1968, when Norris competed for the World Title, Bruce Lee, who at the time was known for the TV series The Green Hornet, noticed him. They developed a friendship and trained together for the next two years, until Lee returned to Hong Kong to pursue his movie career.
1969-1978: Early roles and breakthrough
In 1969, Norris made his acting debut in the Dean Martin film The Wrecking Crew. In 1972, he acted as Bruce Lee's nemesis in the widely acclaimed martial arts movie Way of the Dragon (titled Return of the Dragon in its U.S. distribution). The film grossed HK$5,307,350.50 at the Hong Kong box office, beating previous records set by Lee's own films, The Big Boss and Fist of Fury, making it the highest-grossing film of 1972 in Hong Kong. The film is credited with launching him toward stardom. In 1973, he had a small role in the comedy The Student Teachers.
That same year, he played the main antagonist in the Lo Wei film Yellow Faced Tiger. He played the biggest drug king in San Francisco who owns everyone including the police department. He found his match when a young police officer stood up to him.
In 1975, he wrote his first book Winning Tournament Karate on the practical study of competition training for any rank. It covers all phases of executing speedy attacks, conditioning, fighting form drills, and one-step sparring techniques.
Norris' first starring role was 1977's Breaker! Breaker!, an action trucking film. After turning down offers to do many martial art films, Norris decided that he wanted to do films that had story and where the action would take place when it is emotionally right. The low budget film turned out to be very successful.
In 1978, Norris starred in the thriller, Good Guys Wear Black, that he considers to be his first significant lead role. No studio wanted to release it, so Norris and his producers four-walled it, renting the theaters and taking whatever money came in. The film did very well; shot on a $1 million budget, it made over $18 million at the box office.
1979 to 1983: Action film star
In 1979, Norris starred in A Force of One, where he played Matt Logan, a world karate champion who assists the police in their investigation. The film was developed while touring for Good Guys Wear Black. Again no studio wanted to pick it up, but it out-grossed the previous film by making $20 million at the box office.
In 1980, he released The Octagon, where his character must stop a group of terrorists trained in the ninja style. Unlike his previous films this time the studios were interested. American Cinema Releasing distributed it and it made almost $19 million at the box office.
The following year he had the lead in the action horror film Silent Rage (1982) it was his first film released by a major studio Columbia Pictures. In the film Norris is a sheriff who must stop a mentally ill man who goes on a rampage after being granted near-indestructibility in a medical experiment.
Shortly afterward MGM gave him a three-movie deal, and that same year they released Forced Vengeance (1982). Norris was unhappy with the direction they wanted to take with him, hence the contract was cancelled.
In 1983, Norris made Lone Wolf McQuade with Orion Pictures. He played J.J. McQuade, a reckless Texas Ranger who'd rather work alone, but who gets a new partner because his captain would like to have him supervised. The partners investigate an arms dealer played by David Carradine. The film was a worldwide hit and had a positive reception from movie critics, often being compared to Sergio Leone's stylish spaghetti westerns. The film became the inspiration for Norris's future hit TV show Walker, Texas Ranger. Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film a 3.5 star rating, calling the character of J.J. McQuade worthy of a film series and predicting the character would be a future classic.
The same year, he also published his second book about general exercising called Toughen Up! the Chuck Norris Fitness System.
Also in 1983, Xonox produced the video game Chuck Norris Superkicks for the Commodore 64, Commodore VIC-20, Atari 2600, and Colecovision. The game combines two types of gameplay: moving through a map, and fighting against enemies. The player takes control of Chuck Norris who has to liberate a hostage. It was later sold as Kung Fu Superkicks when the license for the use of the name Chuck Norris expired.
1984 to 1988: Mainstream success
In 1984, Norris starred in Missing in Action, the first of a series of POW rescue fantasies themed around the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue that were produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus and released under their Cannon Films banner, with which he had signed a multiple movie deal. He plays Colonel James Braddock, a US military officer who spent seven years in a North Vietnamese POW camp, which he escaped 10 years ago. After the war, Braddock accompanies a government investigation team that travels to Ho Chi Minh City to investigate reports of US soldiers still held prisoner. Norris later dedicated these films to his younger brother Wieland, who was a private in the 101st Airborne Division, and had been killed in June 1970 in Vietnam while on patrol in the defense of Firebase Ripcord. The film was a huge success and Norris became Cannon's most prominent star of the 1980s.
In 1985, Cannon Films released Missing in Action 2: The Beginning and Invasion U.S.A. which were extremely successful. Missing in Action 2: The Beginning is a prequel to the first instalment, where Colonel James Braddock is held in a North Vietnamese POW camp run by sadistic Colonel, who forces the POWs to grow opium for a French drug runner, and tries to get Braddock to admit to and sign a long list of war crimes. During his team's time in captivity, they are relentlessly subjected to various forms of torture. This leads them to attempt escape, and Braddock plots to free his fellow prisoners and destroy the prison camp.
Invasion U.S.A. takes place during the Cold War area. Rostov, a Soviet operative leads a band of Latin American communist guerillas to invade Florida. The invasion force spreads out into the South and causes havoc by shooting bazookas into suburban homes, inciting race riots by impersonating the police and attacking ethnic events, and planting bombs in churches and on school buses. With terror spreading everywhere, martial law is declared. Norris plays a former CIA agent who has had previous encounters with Rostov, and can take him on.
That same year Orion Pictures released Code of Silence which received positive reviews and was also a box office success. Code of Silence is a crime drama, and features Norris as a streetwise plainclothes officer who takes down a crime czar responsible for officers being wounded in a botched drug raid. It's considered by fans and critics as Chuck Norris's best film to date.
In 1986, he made two films co-starring with Academy Award winners. The first one The Delta Force with Lee Marvin, The Delta Force was a box office success. In the film Norris and Marvin are leaders of an elite squad of Special Forces troops based on the real life U.S. Army Delta Force unit, who face a group of Lebanese terrorists who have hijacked a Boeing 707.
The second release that year was Firewalker with Louis Gossett, Jr. as a co-lead. The American action adventure film co-stars Will Sampson and Melody Anderson. It was directed by J. Lee Thompson. Norris and Gossett play Max Donigan and Leo Porter, two soldiers of fortune, whose adventures rarely result in any notable gain. They are befriended by an inscrutable woman of mystery Patricia (Anderson). Patricia's map leads them on a quest for treasure in Central America. The name of the movie comes from the powerful guardian of the treasure.
In 1987, he published the book The Secret of Inner Strength: My Story It is an explanation of his personal philosophy of positive force and the psychology of self-improvement and is interspersed with anecdotes about international karate competitions, training with Bruce Lee, and Norris's acting career. It became a New York Times Best Seller.
In 1988, he made his last two films of the eighties, the first Braddock: Missing in Action III which marks his brother Aaron Norris's directorial debut. Aaron Norris had previously been stunt and/or fight coordinator in the vast majority of his filmography up until that year. Aaron would direct most of his films from that point on. Colonel James Braddock who had believed his Vietnamese wife to be dead since the war ended in 1975, but he hears from a missionary, that she is not only alive, but that she and Braddock have a 12-year-old son. He returns to Vietnam to save them.
The next one was Hero and the Terror, co-starring Brynn Thayer, Steve James, Jack O'Halloran, Jeffrey Kramer, Ron O'Neal, Murphy Dunne, and Billy Drago. The film stars Norris as Danny O'Brien as a cop trying to stop a serial killer, Simon Moon (O'Halloran) known as "The Terror".
1990s: Subsequent success
By 1990, MGM acquired the Cannon Films library, and Norris made the sequel Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection where his character leads his Delta team into the fictional South American country of San Carlos to rescue hostages and stop the flow of cocaine into the United States.
In 1991, he starred in The Hitman, where he plays a cop who's been brutally shot by his crooked partner. He's in a coma for several years and when he wakes up he assumes a new identity and infiltrates a drug-smuggling operation run by the local Mafia.
In 1992, he did Sidekicks, his most successful film of that area. It is about a loner boy, who lives with his widowed father. He has vivid daydreams about being Chuck Norris' sidekick, battling against Norris's movie enemies, who are often personified by his everyday bullies.
In 1993, he began shooting the action series Walker, Texas Ranger. The show is centered on Sergeant Cordell Walker (Norris), a Dallas–Fort Worth–based member of the Texas Rangers, a state-level bureau of investigation and is about his adventures fighting criminals with his partner James Trivette. It lasted eight seasons on CBS and continued in syndication on other channels, notably the Hallmark Channel. The show was very successful in the ratings throughout its run, ranking among the Top 30 programs from 1995 until 1999, and ranking in the Top 20 in both the 1995–1996 and 1998–1999 seasons. His character Walker had cameos in the spin-off Sons of Thunder, and the TV show Martial Law.
Also in 1993, he co-starred in the made-for-TV comedy film Wind in the Wire starring Randy Travis in the main role. The rest of the cast includes Burt Reynolds, Lou Diamond Phillips, Melanie Chartoff, Dale Robertson, Denver Pyle, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Peter Jason.
During the prime of Walker, Texas Ranger, he continued making movies starting with Hellbound (1994). A supernatural thriller film starring co-starring Calvin Levels and Christopher Neame. It was the final film made by Cannon Films. Frank Shatter (Norris) and Calvin Jackson (Levels) are two Chicago Police detectives sent to investigate the brutal murder of a rabbi. As the investigation begins, Shatter and Jackson are summoned to Israel for questioning. Upon arrival, they realize that they are, in fact, pursuing a supernatural being – Satan's emissary, Prosatanos (Neame)– who tried to wrest control of the world from God during the crusades.
At the 1994 edition of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF)'s Survivor Series event, Norris was the special outside enforcer for the casket match between The Undertaker and Yokozuna. During the match, Norris delivered a roundhouse kick to an interfering Jeff Jarrett.
Top Dog (1995), an action comedy, in which Norris' character, Jake Wilder, is partnered with Reno, a police dog, whose handler was killed. Jake and Reno investigate a plot by domestic terrorists to attack a conference on unity.
Forest Warrior (1996), an environmental family film about a land developer who wants to cut down all the trees in a forest where a group of local children play. A mythical spirit appears (Norris) to help them to vanquish the villains.
He starred in Logan's War: Bound by Honor (1998), is an award-winning made-for-TV action-drama film directed by Michael Preece. It was written by Walter Klenhard. Co-starring in the film, with Eddie Cibrian and Joe Spano.
In 1996, he published the book The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems where he explains how the ancient system of Zen, the core philosophy behind the martial arts, can help achieve spiritual tranquility and self-confidence.
2000 to present day: Internet fame and current works
In the early 2000s, Norris starred in the television film The President's Man (2000), and action film co-starring starring Dylan Neal, Ralph Waite, Marla Adams, Stuart Whitman, and Soon-Tek Oh. The story is about, Joshua McCord (Norris) is ready to think about retiring from his grueling job as a Secret Service agent who's assigned to protect the president. After saving the First Lady (Adams), kidnapped by a mysterious band of terrorists, McCord prepares to train his replacement.
Its sequel The President's Man: A Line in the Sand (2002), co-starred Robert Urich, and Roxanne Hart. Secret agent Joshua McCord (Norris) is assigned by President Adam Mayfield (Urich) to prevent a band of terrorists from setting off a nuclear device in a U.S. city.
In 2003, he co-starred in the film Bells of Innocence, alongside Mike Norris (his son), David A. R. White, Carey Scott, and Marshall R. Teague. The film is about Jux Jonas (Mike Norris) a man who loses his faith in God, after losing his family in a car accident. Reluctantly, he joins friends Conrad (White) and Oren (Scott) for trip. However, their small aircraft soon crashes, and the trio find themselves in the secluded wasteland of Ceres, a town where visitors are seen as unwanted outsiders. They face the town elder, Joshua (Teague) with the help of local rancher Matthew (Chuck Norris).
That same year he was a guest on the TV Show Yes, Dear.
In 2004, he made a cameo in the Rawson Marshall Thurber' DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. The plot follows a group of misfits entering a Las Vegas dodge ball tournament to save their cherished local gym from the onslaught of a corporate health fitness chain. Norris plays himself as one judge during the final match.
That same year he published his autobiography Against All Odds: My Story.
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.
Chuck Norris facts originally started appearing on the Internet in early 2005. Created by Ian Spector, they are satirical factoids about Norris. Since then, they have become widespread in popular culture. The 'facts' are normally absurd hyperbolic claims about Norris' toughness, attitude, virility, sophistication, and masculinity. 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. At first it was mostly college students exchanging them, but they later became extremely widespread. Books, video games, and TV ads would be based on the trend.
In 2006, he starred in the film The Cutter, co-starring Joanna Pacuła, Daniel Bernhardt, Bernie Kopell and Marshall R. Teague. After a deadly kidnapping rescue gone wrong, a guilt ridden detective (Norris) recruits his specialized SWAT team to successfully rescue an aged diamond cutter from the hands of a murderous thief.
On November 29, 2007, Gotham Books, the adult division of Penguin USA, released a book penned by Ian Spector entitled The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 facts about the World's Greatest Human. Norris subsequently filed suit in December against Penguin USA claiming "trademark infringement, unjust enrichment and privacy rights". Norris dropped the lawsuit in 2008. The book is a New York Times Best Seller. Since then, Spector has published four more books based on Chuck Norris facts, these are Chuck Norris Cannot Be Stopped: 400 All-New Facts About the Man Who Knows Neither Fear Nor Mercy, Chuck Norris: Longer and Harder: The Complete Chronicle of the World's Deadliest, Sexiest, and Beardiest Man, The Last Stand of Chuck Norris: 400 All New Facts About the Most Terrifying Man in the Universe, and Chuck Norris Vs. Mr. T: 400 Facts About the Baddest Dudes in the History of Ever (also a New York Times Best Seller).
In 2008, Gameloft produced the video game Chuck Norris: Bring On the Pain for mobile devices, based on the popularity Norris had developed on the internet with the Chuck Norris facts. The player takes control of Chuck Norris himself in a side-scrolling beat 'em up. The game was well reviewed.
He co-starred in the 2012 sequel to The Expendables, alongside Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and many other action movie staples.The story of the second installment in The Expendables film series follows the mercenary group known as "the Expendables" as they undertake a seemingly simple mission which evolves into a quest for revenge against rival mercenary Jean Vilain (Van Damme), who murdered one of their own and threatens the world with a deadly weapon. Along the way they meet Booker (Norris) who saves them from Villain' minions and helps them along the way. The film was a success and grossed over $310 million worldwide.
In 2015, he appeared in two commercials for the French TV show Pieds dans le plat.
That same year, Norris and his wife Gena founded CForce Bottling Co. after an aquifer was discovered on his ranch.
In 2017, he appeared in the advertisement for United Healthcare.
In 2017, Flaregames produced Non Stop Chuck Norris, an isometric action-RPG game for mobile device and is the second game to be based on his popularity developed by the Chuck Norris facts. The game was well reviewed.
In 2017, Chuck Norris became Fiat's ambassador, a "tough face" for its commercial vehicles. Fiat says Norris embodies four pillars of its business: determination, reliability, dynamism, and competence.
|Style||Chun Kuk Do, Tang Soo Do, Taekwondo, Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo|
|Rank||Chun Kuk Do 10th degree black belt |
9th degree black belt Tang Soo Do
8th degree black belt Taekwondo
5th degree black belt in Karate
3rd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Black belt in Judo
Chun Kuk Do
Chun Kuk Do was founded by Chuck Norris, and was originally based on Norris' Tang Soo Do training in Korea while he was in the military. During his competitive fighting career, Norris began to evolve the style to make it more effective and well-rounded by studying other systems such as Shotokan karate, Goju-ryu karate, Shito-ryu karate, American kenpo, Enshinkaikan, Kyokushinkai, Judo, Brazilian Juijutsu, Arnis, Korean Tae Kwon Do, Tang Soo Do and Hapkido. Chun Kuk Do now emphasizes self defense, competition, weapons, grappling, and fitness, among other things. Each summer the United Fighting Arts Federation (UFAF) holds a training conference and the Chun Kuk Do world championship tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Chun Kuk Do includes a code of honor and rules to live by. These rules are from 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 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.
Like most traditional martial arts, Chun Kuk Do includes the practice of forms (Korean hyung and Japanese kata). The majority of the system’s forms are adapted from Korean Tang Soo Do, and Taekwondo, Japanese Shitō-ryū, Shotokan Karate, Goju-ryu Karate, Judo, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, American Kenpo and Kyokushinkai. It includes two organization-specific introductory forms, two organization-specific empty-hand forms, and one organization-specific weapon form (UFAF Nunchuk form, UFAF Bo form, UFAF Sai forms).
The United Fighting Arts Federation has graduated over 3,000 black belts in its history, and currently has nearly 4,000 active members world-wide. There are about 90 member schools in the USA, Mexico, Norway, and Paraguay.
Distinctions, awards, and honors
Norris has received many black belts. These include a 10th degree black belt in Chun Kuk Do, a 9th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, an 8th degree black belt in Taekwondo, a 5th degree black belt in Karate, a 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu from the Machado family, and a black belt in Judo.
In 1967, he won the Sparring Grand Champions at the S. Henry Cho's All American Championship, and won it again the following year.
In 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.
In 1969, he won the Fighter of the Year award by Black Belt magazine.
In 1982, he won Action Star of the Year at the ShoWest Convention.
In 1989, he received his Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 1992, he won International Box Office Star of the Year at the ShoWest Convention.
In 1997, he won the Special Award of being a Texas legend at the Lone Star Film & Television Awards.
From 1997 to 1998, he won for three consecutive years the BMI TV Music Award at the BMI Awards.
In 1999, Norris was inducted into the Martial Arts History Museum's Hall of Fame.
In 1999, he was nominated for Favorite Actor in a Drama by the TV Guide Award.
In 1999, he won the Inspirational Acting in Television Award at the Grace Prize Award.
On July 1, 2000, Norris was presented the Golden Lifetime Achievement Award by the World Karate Union Hall of Fame.
In 2001, he received the Veteran of the Year at the American Veteran Awards.
In 2001, he won the Golden Boot and the Golden Boot Awards.
In 2010, he won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the ActionFest.
In 2017 he was honored as "Honorary Texan" because for many years he has lived at his Texas ranch near Navasota and he starred as Texas Ranger in his movie Lone Wolf McQuade and starred as ranger Cordell Walker in TV series Walker, Texas Ranger.
Norris married his classmate, Dianne Kay Holechek (born 1941), in December 1958 when he was 18, and Dianne 17 years of age. They met in 1956 at high school in Torrance, California. In 1962 their first child, Mike, was born. He also had a daughter who was born in 1963 of an extramarital affair. Later, he had a second son, Eric, with his wife in 1964. After 30 years of marriage, Norris and Holechek divorced in 1989, after separating in 1988, during the filming of The Delta Force 2.
On November 28, 1998, he married former model Gena O'Kelley, 23 years Norris' junior. O'Kelley had two children from a previous marriage. She delivered twins on August 30, 2001.
On September 22, 2004, Norris told Entertainment Tonight's Mary Hart that he did not meet his illegitimate daughter from a past relationship until she was 26, although she learned that he was her father when she was 16. He met her after she sent a letter informing him of their relationship in 1990, one year after Chuck's divorce with his first wife Dianne Holechek.
An outspoken Christian, Norris is the author of several Christian-themed books. On April 22, 2008, Norris expressed his support for the intelligent design movement when he reviewed Ben Stein's Expelled for Townhall.com.
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.
During the 2012 presidential election, Norris first recommended Ron Paul, and then later formally endorsed Newt Gingrich as the Republican presidential candidate. After Gingrich suspended his campaign in May 2012, Norris endorsed Republican presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, despite Norris having previously accused Romney of flip-flopping and of trying to buy the nomination for the Republican Party candidacy for 2012. On the eve of the election he and his wife Gena made a video warning that if evangelicals didn't show up at the polls and vote out President Obama, "...our country as we know it may be lost forever...". Norris also produced the film Answering the Call, which featured his 2007 trip to Iraq to visit the troops.
Norris has visited Israel and voiced support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the 2013 and 2015 elections. Norris endorsed Huckabee again in the 2016 Republican Primary before he dropped out. In March 2016, it was reported that Norris endorsed Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz and that he would be attending a Cruz rally, but two days later, Norris stated he would only endorse the GOP nominee once that nominee has been nominated by the party. He endorsed GOP nominee Donald Trump in the general election. Norris endorsed former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in the 2017 United States Senate special election in Alabama.
In 2019, Norris signed an endorsement deal with the gun manufacturer Glock. The deal was met with criticism from the media, celebrities, and some of his fans who felt it was bad timing due to the increase in school shootings in the United States.
In 1990, Norris established the United Fighting Arts Federation and Kickstart Kids. 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. Norris has a ranch in Navasota, TX where they bottle water; a portion of the sales support environmental funds and Kickstart Kids.
He is known for his contributions 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 that concern hospitalized war veterans such as pensions and health care. Due to his significant contributions, and continued support, he received the Veteran of the Year award in 2001 at the American Veteran Awards.
In India, 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. 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.
- Winning Tournament Karate (1975)
- Toughen Up! the Chuck Norris Fitness System (1983)
- The Secret of Inner Strength: My Story (1987)
- The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems (1996)
- Against All Odds: My Story (2004)
- The Justice Riders (2006)
- A Threat to Justice (2007)
- Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America (2008)
- The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book: 101 of Chuck's Favorite Facts and Stories (2009)
- Chuck Norris Superkicks (1983)
- Missing in Action (1989) - TNT Games were developing a game based on the film Missing in Action for the Atari 7800. Although the game was at or near completion (as confirmed by the programmer), it appears that the 7800 market just wasn't viable enough for TNT to release it. The prototype resurfaced and has been well received by the game reviewer who tried it.
- Chuck Norris: Bring On the Pain (2008)
- Non Stop Chuck Norris (2017)
- Kirell, Andrew (May 25, 2012). "Celebrities You Probably Didn't Know Are Republicans". Mediaite. New York City. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
- "Norris, Carlos Ray, A1C". TogetherWeServed. 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
- "CHUCK NORRIS EARNS 3RD DEGREE BLACK BELT IN BJJ". Fightland.com.
- Berkow, Ira (May 12, 1993). "At Dinner with: Chuck Norris". The New York Times.
- "Cinema: And Now, a Wham-Bam Superstar: Chuck Norris". Time. May 20, 1985. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
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