Charles Dennis Buchinsky, better known as Charles Bronson, born November 3, 1921, was an American actor who rose to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s. With his ‘tough guy’ image, he dominated the film industry. As one of the most gifted and adaptable actors in the American cinema industry, Bronson was renowned for playing classic hard-hitting characters with panache. His skill at playing vigilante roles made him an unrivaled star in the genre. Bronson began his career as a coal miner before becoming an air force officer. However, he quickly realized his true calling and began appearing in uncredited roles in numerous films. Throughout his career, he never stopped honing his acting and artistic abilities, which made him a legendary actor. We will assist you in commemorating his special day right here.
Charles Dennis Buchinsky, better known as Charles Bronson, was born on November 3, 1921, in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, to a Roman Catholic family of Lithuanian heritage in the coal region of the Allegheny Mountains north of Johnstown. His parents were Lithuanian Mary Valinsky, the mother of Lipka Tatar, and Latvian Valteris P. Buinskis. When Bronson was 10 years old, he lost his father, so he decided to work in the coal mines, first at the mining office and subsequently in the mine. Later, he claimed that each ton of coal extracted was worth one dollar. Bronson revealed in another interview that he had to work two shifts to make $1 weekly. Later, Bronson remembers working physically to remove stumps between mines with his brother and learning that cave-ins were frequent.
Bronson worked in the mine until 1943 when he enrolled in the United States Army Air Force during World War II. He served in the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron and, in 1945, as a Boeing B-29 Superfortress aerial gunner with the Guam-based 61st Bombardment Squadron of the 39th Bombardment Group, which operated combat missions against the Japanese home islands. He flew 25 missions and received the Purple Heart for combat injuries. Following his service in World War II, Bronson worked at various odd jobs before joining a theatrical group. After a brief stay in New York, he relocated to Hollywood in 1950, where he registered in acting classes. Bronson’s first screen performance was as an uncredited sailor in the 1951 film “You’re in the Navy Now.” Following that, he appeared in a few motion pictures, such as “Pat and Mike,” “Miss Sadie Thompson,” and “House of Wax.” In 1952, he made his television debut in Rogers’ show “Knockout,” as well as an episode of “The Red Skelton Show.” His performance in “Drum Beat” as Modoc warrior Captain Jack propelled his acting talent to the forefront. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he appeared on several television programs, including “Biff Baker, U.S.A.,” “Sheriff of Cochise,” “U.S. Marshal,” “Hey, Jeannie!” and “And So Died Riabouchinska.” His growing popularity and refined acting skills landed him repeated roles in television shows like “Have Gun, Will Travel” and “Hennesey.”
Bronson’s first leading role was in Roger Corman’s 1958 film “Machine-Gun Kelly.” The same year, he got cast as Mike Kovac in the detective series “Man with a Camera,” which aired until 1960. In 1960, he appeared in several T.V. series, including “Riverboat” and “The Islanders.” But his portrayal of Bernardo O’Reilly in John Sturges’ movie “The Magnificent Seven” gave him his first taste of genuine fame. The film established him as a rising Hollywood star. Three years later, Bronson got chosen to play the claustrophobic Polish exile Danny Velinski in “The Great Escape,” another Sturges picture with a large budget and post-World War II setting. He had appearances in several television programs from 1963 to 1967, including “Empire,” “The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters,” “The Legend of Jesse James,” and “Combat!” His tough-guy reputation managed to land him leading roles in movies such as “The Dirty Dozen,” starring Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine. In 1974, Bronson’s magnum opus “Death Wish” was released.
In the film “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus,” he played a compassionate newspaper editor, a departure from his usual violent roles. In 1994, “Death Wish V: The Face of Death,” the last of the “Death Wish” franchise, was released, which marked his final theatrical release as well. Following that, Bronson appeared in several T.V. movies, including “Family of Cops” (1995), “Breach of Faith: A Family of Cops II” (1997), and “Family of Cops III: Under Suspicion” (1999).
In the film “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus,” he played a compassionate newspaper editor, a departure from his usual violent roles. “
Bronson joins the United States Army Air Force.
Bronson makes his movie debut as an uncredited sailor in the war comedy "You're in the Navy Now."
In Roger Corman's action film "Machine-Gun Kelly," Bronson plays George R. “Machine Gun” Kelly, his first leading role.
Bronson portrays the claustrophobic Polish prisoner of war, Flight Lieutenant Danny Velinski, in the war action movie "The Great Escape."
Henry Fonda and Bronson co-star in the spaghetti western "Once Upon a Time in the West," which follows a mystery man playing the harmonica who teams up with an infamous outlaw to defend a stunning widow from a cunning railroad assassin.
In his most famous film, "Death Wish," Bronson plays Paul Kersey, a successful New York architect who becomes a crime-fighting vigilante.
Bronson appears in "Death Wish V: The Face of Death," the final installment of the "Death Wish" franchise.
Bronson makes his final cinematic appearance as the Police Inspector Paul Fein in "Family of Cops III: Under Suspicion."
Why We Love Charles Bronson
He is a representation of success
Although Bronson originated from a low-income home and had to overcome many obstacles, he succeeded. Before being well-known not just in the United States but also all around the world, he held several occupations and served in the army.
He didn't behave like a famous person
Despite his enormous success as an actor, Bronson remained kind and humble. He never forgot growing up in poverty, working in coal mines, and enlisting in W.W.II. He was approachable, friendly, conversational, and quick to laugh.
He helped others
Bronson has become a successful actor, but he has not forgotten his commitment to helping others. He donated to charities, and when he inherited a $300,000 estate from a fan named Audrey Knauer, whom he had never met, he donated it to Knauer's favorite charity, the Louisville Public Library.
5 Surprising Facts
His family suffered extreme poverty
During the Great Depression, Bronson's family suffered from terrible poverty, and he recalls going hungry several times.
He was his family's first graduate
Bronson was the first in his family to graduate from high school.
Burping got him his first acting role
Bronson got his first film role in 1951's "You're in the Navy Now" because he was the only actor who could burp on command.
He was terrified of germs
Bronson avoided fans and declined autograph requests and handshaking for fear of being exposed to germs.
He wasn't a big talker
Bronson preferred to say as little as possible and never talked about a film's philosophy.
Charles Bronson FAQs
How many times did Charles Bronson marry?
Bronson was married three times in his life, first to Harriet Tendler from 1949 to 1967, then to Jill Ireland from 1968 to 1990, and finally to Kim Weeks from 1998 until he died in 2003.
Where is Charles Bronson buried?
Bronson died on August 30, 2003, at 81, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and was buried at the Brownsville Cemetery in West Windsor, Vermont, United States.
How many children does Charles Bronson have?
Bronson is the father of four children from his three marriages, Zuleika Bronson, Katrina Holden Bronson, Suzanne Bronson, and Tony Bronson.
Charles Bronson’s birthday dates