Chuck Norris

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

(1940-03-10) March 10, 1940 (age 81)
OccupationActor, martial artist, film producer, screenwriter, air policeman (U.S. Air Force)
Years active1968–present
Political partyRepublican[1]
Dianne Holechek
(m. 1958; div. 1989)

Gena O'Kelley
(m. 1998)
Children5, including Mike and Eric Norris
Chuck Norris' signature.svg

Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris (born March 10, 1940) is an American martial artist, actor, film producer, and screenwriter. He is a black belt in Tang Soo Do, Brazilian jiu jitsu and judo.[2] After serving in the United States Air Force, Norris won many martial arts championships and later founded his own discipline Chun Kuk Do. Shortly after, in Hollywood, Norris trained celebrities in martial arts. Norris went on to appear in a minor role in the spy film The Wrecking Crew (1969). Friend and fellow actor Bruce Lee invited him to play one of the main villains in Way of the Dragon (1972). While Norris continued acting, friend and student Steve McQueen suggested to him that he take it seriously. Norris took the starring role in the action film Breaker! Breaker! (1977), which turned a profit. His second lead Good Guys Wear Black (1978) became a hit, and Norris became a popular action film star.

Norris would go on to star in a streak of bankable independently-made action and martial arts films, with A Force of One (1979), The Octagon (1980), and An Eye for an Eye (1981). This made Norris an international celebrity. He went on to make studio films like Silent Rage (1982) with Columbia, Forced Vengeance (1982) with MGM, and Lone Wolf McQuade (1983) with Orion. This led Cannon films to sign Norris into a multiple film deal, starting with Missing in Action (1984), which proved to be very successful and launched a trilogy. Norris started to work almost exclusively on high-profile action films with Cannon, becoming their leading star during the 1980s. Films with Cannon included Invasion U.S.A (1985), The Delta Force (1986), Firewalker (1986), etc. Apart from the Cannon films, Norris made Code of Silence (1985), which was received as one of his best films. In the 1990s, he played the title role in the long running television series Walker, Texas Ranger from 1993 until 2001. Until 2006, Norris continued taking lead roles in action movies, including Delta Force 2 (1990), The Hitman (1991), Sidekicks (1992), Forest Warrior (1996), The President's Man and its sequel (2002). Norris made his last film appearance to date in Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables 2 (2012).

Throughout his film and TV career Norris diversified from his regular endeavors. He is a noted writer, having penned books on martial arts, exercise, philosophy, politics, Christianity, western novels, and biography. He was twice a New York Times bestselling author, first 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. Norris also appeared in several commercials endorsing several products most notably being one of the main spokespersons for the Total Gym infomercials. In 2005, Norris found a new fame on the Internet when Chuck Norris facts became an Internet meme documenting humorous, 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, the phenomenon resulted in six books (two of them New York Times best sellers), two video games, and several appearances on talk shows, such as Late Night with Conan O'Brien where he read the facts or participated in sketches.

Early life

Norris was born in Ryan, Oklahoma on March 10, 1940[3] to Wilma (née Scarberry) and Ray Dee Norris, who was a World War II Army soldier,[4] a mechanic, bus driver, and truck driver.[5] Norris has stated that he has Irish and Cherokee roots.[4][6][7] Norris was named after Carlos Berry, his father's minister.[4] He was the oldest of three brothers, the younger two being Wieland and Aaron (a Hollywood producer). When Norris was sixteen, his parents divorced,[8] and he later relocated to Prairie Village, Kansas and then to Torrance, California with his mother and brothers.[6]

Norris has described his childhood as downbeat. He was nonathletic, shy, and scholastically mediocre.[9] 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.[10]


1958 to 1968: United States Air Force and martial arts breakthrough

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.[11] 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 applied to be a police officer in Torrance, California. While on the waiting list, Norris opened a martial arts studio. To promote it, Norris did demonstrations and fights in all kinds of events.[12]

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 Vic Moore. On June 3, at the 1967 tournament of karate, Norris defeated seven opponents, exchanged his final blows with Skipper Mullins, and won the tournament.[13] On June 24, Norris was declared champion at the S. Henry Cho's All-American Karate Championship at the Madison Square Garden, taking the title from Julio LaSalle and defeating Joe Lewis.[14][15][16] During this time, 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.[17]

In early 1968, Norris suffered the tenth and final 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 then held for six consecutive years.[8] On April 1, it was reported that, in a round robin tournament, Norris successfully defended his All-American Karate Championship title at the Karate tournament of champions of North America Sunday against both Hawk D. Frazier and Carlos Farrell, winners of the black belt lightweight and heavyweight titles, respectively.[18] Again that year, Norris won for the second time the All-American Karate Championship. It was the last time Norris participated and retired undefeated.[19][20] While competing, Norris met Bruce Lee, who at the time was known for the TV series The Green Hornet. They developed a friendship, as well as a training and working relationship.

In 1969, during the first weekend of August, Norris defended his title as world champion at the International Karate Championship. The competition included champions from most of the fifty states as well as a half dozen from abroad who joined for the preliminaries.[21] Norris retained his title.[22] Norris won Karate's triple crown for the most tournament wins of the year, and the Fighter of the Year award by Black Belt magazine. That year, Norris made his acting debut in the Dean Martin film The Wrecking Crew.

1970 to 1978: Early roles and breakthrough

Norris in 1976

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 Way of the Dragon went on to gross an estimated US$130 million worldwide.[23] The film is credited with launching him toward stardom.

On September 26, 1973, Jonathan Kaplan's The Student Teachers premiered where Norris had a small role.[24]

In 1974, actor Steve McQueen, who was his martial art student and friend at the time, saw his potential and encouraged him to begin acting classes at MGM. That same year, he played the supporting role of the main antagonist in Lo Wei's Yellow Faced Tiger.[25] Norris plays a powerful drug king in San Francisco, where he dominates the criminal world including the police department. He is eventually challenged by a young police officer who stands up to corruption.[26] The film was released theatrically in the US in 1981 as Slaughter in San Francisco. It was noticed that it was an older low-budget film announcing Norris as the lead. The film played as a double-bill to other action and genre film. It was described as a low budget martial arts actioner taking advantage of Norris' fame.[27]

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.[28]

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.[29]

In 1978, Norris starred in the thriller Good Guys Wear Black, which 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.[30] The film did very well; shot on a $1 million budget, it made over $18 million at the box office.[31] Following years of kung fu film imports from Hong Kong action cinema during the 1970s, most notably Bruce Lee films followed by Bruceploitation flicks, Good Guys Wear Black launched Chuck Norris as the first successful homegrown American martial arts star, having previously been best known as a villain in Lee's Way of the Dragon. Good Guys Wear Black distinguished itself from earlier martial arts films with its distinctly American setting, characters, themes, and politics, a formula which Norris continued to develop with his later films.[32]

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.[33] 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.[30][34]

In 1980, he released The Octagon, where his character must stop a group of terrorists trained in the ninja style.[35] 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.[30][36]

In 1981, he starred in Steve Carver's An Eye for an Eye, co-starring Christopher Lee, Richard Roundtree, Matt Clark, and Mako Iwamatsu. 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.[37] In the film, Norris plays a sheriff who must stop a psychopath 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 canceled.[30]

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.[38][39][40]

The same year, he also published his second book about general exercising called Toughen Up! the Chuck Norris Fitness System.[41]

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.[42] 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.[43] 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 installment, 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 era. Rostov, a Soviet operative, leads a band of Latin American communist guerrillas 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.[44][45][46][47] 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.

Norris on the set of the film The Delta Force (1986)

On February 14, 1986, Menahem Golan's The Delta Force premiered. Norris and co-star Lee Marvin play 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 Delta Force was a box office success. In October, Ruby-Spears' cartoon Karate Kommandos first aired. The animated show lasted 6 episodes. In it, Norris voices a cartoon version of himself who leads a United States government team of operatives known as the Karate Kommandos. Together, they fight against a super villain named The Claw and his organization. Marvel published a comic based on that. On November 21, J. Lee Thompson's Firewalker was released. In it, Norris paired with lead Louis Gossett Jr. The film is an action adventure film that also co-stars Will Sampson and Melody Anderson.[48] 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.[49]

In January 1988, Norris returned as Colonel James Braddock in 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. The story is about Braddock who learns that his Vietnamese wife, who was declared dead, may be alive with their 12-year-old son. Braddock returns to Vietnam to retrieve them, but faces the sadistic General Quoc (Aki Aleong). On August 28, Norris starred in Hero and the Terror.[50] It co-starred 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".[51]

1989 to 1999: 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.

His films had collectively grossed over $500 million worldwide by 1990. By this time, he had drawn comparisons to both Bruce Lee and Clint Eastwood, sometimes called the "blonde Bruce Lee" for his martial arts film roles while his "loner" persona was compared to the Eastwood character Dirty Harry.[52] In 1991, Norris 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 starred in Sidekicks, his most successful film of that era. 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.[53] 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.

During his tenure on Walker, Texas Ranger, Norris was seen in other projects. This started as early as August 25, 1993 when Norris appeared in the television special Wind in the Wire starring Randy Travis in the main role. Burt Reynolds and Lou Diamond Phillips were among the other guests.[54][55]

In 1994, he starred in Hellbound, 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.[56] During the match, Norris delivered a roundhouse kick to an interfering Jeff Jarrett.[57]

In 1995, premiered Top Dog, 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.

In 1996, Norris acted in Forest Warrior, 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 (Norris) appears to help them vanquish the villains.[58] That year, Norris also wrote 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.[59]

Since 1997, Norris has appeared with Christie Brinkley in a long-running series of cable TV infomercials promoting Total Gym home fitness equipment.[60]

On November 1, 1998, Norris starred, executive produced, and participated to writing the story of Michael Preece's award-winning television film Logan's War: Bound by Honor. It premiered on CBS, right after Walker, Texas Ranger newly scheduled episode.[61] Sharing the lead with Norris is actor Eddie Cibrian. It also co-stars Joe Spano, Jeff Kober, R. D. Call, Brendon Ryan Barrett, etc. The narrative follows Logan Fallon (Cibrian), who as a child witnesses the murder his father, a district attorney, and the rest of his family. Logan survives because of his sixth sense for danger. Knowing who killed them Logan vows revenge. He moves in with his uncle Jake (Norris) who raises him from that point on, teaching him self-defence and combat, until adulthood where he can fulfill his goal.[62] The television-film was ranked third among the thirteen most viewed shows of that week.[63]

In 1999, Norris produced and played Walker in a supporting role in the Walker, Texas Ranger spin-off Sons of Thunder. This year, also playing the role of Walker, Norris acted a in crossover episode of the Sammo Hung's TV show Martial Law. For another crossover, Hung also appeared as his character in Walker, Texas Ranger.

2000 to present day: Internet fame and current works

Norris during a meeting with USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) commanding officer Captain J. R. Haley, in June 2005

In 2000, Norris starred and was an executive producer for the television film The President's Man, where he reunited with director Michael Preece. It premiered on April 2 on CBS.[64] It is an action film co-starring Dylan Neal, Ralph Waite, Marla Adams, Stuart Whitman, and Soon-Tek Oh. The story is about Joshua McCord (Norris) who's an aging president's man, the highest classified job in the USA; it consists to be a highly trained bodyguard of the President (Waite). After participating in a dangerous mission, McCord thinks of retiring and prepares to finds his replacement. McCord chooses Deke Slater (Neal), a former Army sergeant who is very talented but has a troubled record.[65][66][67]

In 2002, Norris returned for a sequel as Joshua McCord in Eric Norris' The President's Man: A Line in the Sand. It premiered on CBS on January 20.[68] The sequel co-starred Judson Mills, Robert Urich, Roxanne Hart, and others. The plot consists of McCord who is assigned by the President of the United States (Urich) to prevent a band of terrorists from setting off a nuclear device.[69]

In 2003, he co-starred in the supernatural Christian 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 gives up his Christian faith, after losing his family in a car accident. Reluctantly, he joins two friends (White and Scott) for a trip. While travelling, their small aircraft crashes, and the trio find themselves in a wasteland and find the secluded town of Ceres, a town where visitors are unwanted outsiders. They face the town elder (Teague) and confront him with the help of a local rancher (Chuck Norris).

That same year, he was a guest on the TV Show Yes, Dear.

In 2004, he made a small appearance in the Rawson Marshall Thurber comedy 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, in a small but pivotal role, as one judge during a dodgeball match. The film grossed $167.7 million. It is described by critics as raunchy and low-brow humor that delivers for many.[70]

That same year, he published his autobiography Against All Odds: My Story.

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.[71]

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.

Norris during a promotion ceremony at Camp Taqaddum in the Al Anbar province of Iraq on November 2, 2006

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,[72] 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.[73] At first it was mostly college students exchanging them, but they later became extremely widespread.[74] Books, video games, and TV ads would be based on the trend.[citation needed]

From that point on, Norris started to tour with the Chuck Norris facts appearing on major talk shows, and even visiting the troops in Iraq, for morale boosting appearances.[75]

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.

During that time he published his first novel The Justice Riders (2006) and its sequel A Threat to Justice (2007); both were co-written with Ken Abraham, Aaron Norris, and Tim Grayem.[76][77]

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.[78] Norris subsequently filed suit in December against Penguin USA claiming "trademark infringement, unjust enrichment and privacy rights".[79] Norris dropped the lawsuit in 2008.[80] 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).[81]

In 2008, he published the political non-fiction book Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America, which reached number 14 on The New York Times best seller list in September 2008.[82]

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.[83] The player takes control of Chuck Norris himself in a side-scrolling beat 'em up. The game was well reviewed.[84]

On October 7, 2009, Tyndale House Publishers issued The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book: 101 of Chuck's Favorite Facts and Stories, which was co-written and officially endorsed by Norris.[85]

Since 2010, Chuck Norris has been a nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate writing on both personal health issues and broader issues of health care in America.[86]

In 2010, Norris appeared in advertisements for communications company T-Mobile in the Czech Republic.[87]

In 2011, Norris appeared in advertisements for the World of Warcraft video game.[88]

In 2012, Norris appeared in a series of commercials for the Polish bank BZ WBK.[89]

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 Vilain's minions and helps them along the way. The film was a success and grossed over $310 million worldwide.[90]

In 2015, he appeared in two commercials for the French TV show Pieds dans le plat.[91]

That same year, Norris and his wife Gena founded CForce Bottling Co. after an aquifer was discovered on his ranch.[92]

In 2016, he starred in the commercial for the beer Hoegaarden.[93]

In 2017, he appeared in the advertisement for United Healthcare.[94]

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 [95]

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.[96]

In 2018, Norris appeared in an ad for Hesburger, a Finnish hamburger chain.[97][98][99][100] That year he also did a commercial for Cerveza Poker.[101] His third commercial that year was for Toyota.[102]

In early January 2020, Norris starred in a QuikTrip commercial for their Snackle line of food. In it Norris descends in parachute where out of a cannon he shoots hot-dogs at a crowd of people.[103] On April 3, Norris appeared in the series finale of Hawaii Five-0.[104][105]

In January 2021, Norris was falsely accused of participating in the storming of the United States Capitol.[106]

Martial arts knowledge

Chuck Norris
Chuck Norris May 2015.jpg
StyleChuck Norris System[a] (founder)
American Tang Soo Do[b], Tang Soo Do (Moo Duk Kwan), Taekwondo, Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo
Teacher(s)Shin Jae-chul,[c][107] Machado Brothers[108][109][110][111]
Rank  10th degree black belt Chuck Norris System/Chun Kuk Do

  9th degree black belt Tang Soo Do[specify]
  8th degree black belt Taekwondo
  8th degree black belt Kyokushin Budokai[112]
  5th degree black belt in Karate[specify]
  3rd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[2]

  Black belt in Judo[specify]

Chuck Norris has founded two major martial arts systems: American Tang Soo Do and Chuck Norris System (formerly known as Chun Kuk Do).

American Tang Soo Do

American Tang Soo Do was formed in 1966 by Chuck Norris, which is combination of Moo Duk Kwan-style Tang Soo Do,[d] Judo and Karate (Shito-Ryu and Shotokan). Over the years it has been further developed by former black belts of his and their students.

Chuck Norris System

Chuck Norris' present martial art system is the Chuck Norris System, formerly known as Chun Kuk Do.[a][113][114][additional citation(s) needed]

The style was formally founded in 1990 as Chun Kuk Do 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 Shōtōkan, Gōjū-ryū, Shitō-ryū, American Kenpo, Enshinkaikan, Kyokushin, Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Arnis, Tae Kwon Do, Tang Soo Do and Hapkido. Chun Kuk Do now emphasizes self defense, competition, weapons, grappling, and fitness, among other things.[115] Each summer the United Fighting Arts Federation (UFAF) holds a training conference and the Chun Kuk Do world championship tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.[116]

The art includes a code of honor and rules to live by. These rules are from Norris' personal code. They are:[117]

  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.

Like most traditional martial arts, Chuck Norris System 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).[citation needed]

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.[118] There are about 90 member schools in the US, Mexico, Norway, and Paraguay.[citation needed]

Distinctions, awards, and honors

Norris' Hollywood star
Norris receiving the Veteran of the Year award by the U.S. Air Force in 2001

While in the military, Norris's rank units were Airman First Class, 15th Air Force, 22d Bombardment Group, and 452d Troop Carrier Wing.

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[specify], an 8th degree black belt in Taekwondo, a 5th degree black belt in Karate[specify], a 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu from the Machado family, and a black belt in Judo.[119]

In 1967, he won the Sparring Grand Champions at the S. Henry Cho's All American Championship, and won it again the following year.[120]

In 1968, he won the Professional Middleweight Karate champion title, which he held for six consecutive years.[8]

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.[121]

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.[71]

In 2001, he won the Golden Boot and the Golden Boot Awards.

Commandant Gen. James T. Conway making Norris an honorary United States Marine in 2007

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.[122]

On December 2, 2010, he (along with brother Aaron) was given the title honorary Texas Ranger by Texas Governor Rick Perry.[123]

In 2010, he won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the ActionFest.[124]

In 2017, he was honored as an "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 the TV series Walker, Texas Ranger.

In 2020 two editions of a book honoring Norris were published titled Martial Arts Masters & Pioneers Biography: Chuck Norris - Giving Back For A Lifetime by Jessie Bowen of the American Martial Arts Alliance.[125]

Personal life


Norris married his classmate Dianne Kay Holechek (born 1941) in December 1958 when he was 18 and Dianne was 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 Dina[126] who was born in 1963 of an extramarital affair.[127] 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.[128]

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.[129]

Norris has thirteen grandchildren as of 2017.[130]


An outspoken Christian,[131] 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[132]

Political views

Norris with George W. Bush and Jeb Bush on November 6, 1997
Norris and his wife at a political event in the Woodlands, Texas on February 15, 2016
Norris with former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee in Londonderry, New Hampshire on January 5, 2008

Norris is a Republican.[133]

In 2007, Norris took a trip to Iraq to visit the troops.[134][135] That trip was documented in a film he produced, titled Answering the Call, and which premiered on January 7, 2012.[136]

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 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without criticizing African Americans, who had voted for the measure by a wide margin.[137]

On June 26, 2012, Norris published an article on, in which he accused the Obama administration of paying Jim Turley, the current National President of the Boy Scouts of America, to reverse the organisation's policy that excluded gay youths from joining.[138]

During the 2012 presidential election, Norris first recommended Ron Paul, and then later formally endorsed Newt Gingrich as the Republican presidential candidate.[139] 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.[140] On the eve of the election, he and his wife Gena made a video warning that if evangelicals did not show up at the polls and vote out President Obama, "...our country as we know it may be lost forever...".[141][142]

Norris has visited Israel and voiced support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the 2013 and 2015 elections.[143][144] Norris endorsed Huckabee again in the 2016 Republican Primary before he dropped out.[145] In March 2016, it was reported that Norris endorsed Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz and that he would be attending a Cruz rally,[146][147] but two days later, Norris stated he would only endorse the GOP nominee once that nominee has been nominated by the party.[148] Norris endorsed former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in the 2017 United States Senate special election in Alabama.[149]

In 2019, Norris signed an endorsement deal with gun manufacturer Glock. The deal was met with criticism from some members of the public and some of his fans who felt it was bad timing due to the increase in school shootings in the United States.[150]


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 endeavor, these children will have the opportunity to build a better future for themselves.[71][151] Norris has a ranch in Navasota, Texas, where they[who?] bottle water;[152] 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.[71]

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.[71]

In India, Norris supports the Vijay Amritraj Foundation, which aims at bringing hope, help and healing to the defenseless 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.[153]



  • 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). Regnery Publishing. ISBN 978-1-59698-558-2.
  • The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book: 101 of Chuck's Favorite Facts and Stories (2009)

Video games

  • 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 was not viable enough for TNT to release it.[154] The prototype resurfaced and was well received by the game reviewer who tried it.[155]
  • Chuck Norris: Bring On the Pain (2008)
  • Non Stop Chuck Norris (2017)
  • Chuck Norris was obtainable as a tank-commander in World of Tanks during the Holiday Ops 2021 event.[156] He gave players extra missions and featured a unique voice-over.


  1. ^ a b Chun Kuk Do was renamed to the Chuck Norris System in 2015.
  2. ^ Founder, former system
  3. ^ Tang Soo Do, Moo Duk Kwan
  4. ^ Older system taught by Shin Jae-chul. Not Soo Bahk Do that Moo Duk Kwan founder eventually developed the original style into.


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Further reading

  • The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems, Zen Buddhism and martial arts. Little, Brown and Company (1996). ISBN 0-316-58350-2.
  • Against All Odds: My Story, an autobiography. Broadman & Holman Publishers (2004). ISBN 0-8054-3161-6.
  • The Justice Riders, Wild West novels. Broadman & Holman Publishers (2006). ISBN 0-8054-4032-1.
  • Spector, Ian (2007). The Truth About Chuck Norris. New York:Gotham Books. ISBN 1-59240-344-1.

External links

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