Chuck Norris — The man, the myth, and the legend, celebrated his birthday on March 10. Born in 1940, we want to celebrate his 82 action-filled years by looking back at how his legacy started and where he is now. Norris is globally known and recognized as the star of various action films, including “The Hitman,” “The Delta Force,” “Missing in Action,” and more. Not only is Norris a well-known actor and martial artist, but he is also the main component of countless Chuck Norris jokes, made up by his fans from the early 2000s until now.
When the name Chuck Norris comes up in a conversation, most of us immediately think of action movies, martial arts, and, of course, the timeless Chuck Norris jokes. So, where did it all start? Norris and his two younger brothers were born in Ryan, Oklahoma, to Wilma Scarberry and Ray Norris. Norris’ parents divorced early in his childhood. Norris, his mother, and his brothers re-homed to Torrance, California. Norris attended North Torrance High School, where he joined the U.S. Air Force soon after graduation. Norris was very introverted as a teen.
During his time in the U.S. Air Force, in the 1950s, he started studying martial arts, and when Norris returned home from the U.S. Air Force, he worked for Northrop Aviation and became a karate instructor. In 1958, Norris married his high school sweetheart Dianne Holechek and welcomed two sons into the world during the 30 years of marriage. Norris’ karate instructor profession reached great heights early because he taught full-time while managing various martial-arts schools during the 1960s. And during this time, Norris taught karate to big names, including Steve McQueen, Priscilla Presley, and the Osmond family. His roundhouse-kicking fighting career lasted ten years, and he lost his first three tournaments but became almost unstoppable.
Norris became popular in the film industry during the 1970s and landed his first starring role in the action film “Breaker! Breaker!” in 1977. Norris’ acting career started to slow down in the early 1990s, during which he stopped making movies and made the shift to the small screen. “Walker, Texas Ranger,” aired until 2001. Fast-forward a couple of years later, Norris has been married to Gena O’Kelly for more than 20 years, he’s the father of five children, and the grandfather of six grandchildren.
Soon after Norris joined the U.S. Air Force as an air policeman, he is introduced to martial arts and forms his own martial art, Chun Kuk Do.
In June 1967, Norris is crowned the Grand Champion, after four wins and only one loss.
Norris’ acting career started early, as he landed his very first starring role in “Breaker! Breaker!” as a rugged truck driver, searching for his brother in a town run by a corrupt judge.
In the early 1990s, — Norris’ filming career starts to slow down, and he shifts to the small screen with the popular TV show “Walker, Texas Ranger.”
Norris becomes the first Westerner to obtain an eight-degree Taekwondo black belt.
Norris’ autobiography — “Against All Odds: My Story” is published and tells how he grew up in poverty, how his father’s alcoholism affected him, and his shyness that caused a lack of motivation early in his life.
Why We Love Chuck Norris
Norris is resilient
Norris, his mother, and two younger brothers moved to California, where he had to take the role of the man in the house. He was painfully shy and a mediocre scholar. This proves to us that a hard start can still lead to a great life, and he is an inspiration.
He honors his brother
Norris’ younger brother enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1970 and died while serving in South Vietnam. After his death, Norris and his other brother went to great lengths to honor this hero, including all the “Missing in Action” films that are dedicated to him.
Norris’ undying love for his wife
In 2017, his wife Gena O’Kelly developed a strange illness and after getting multiple MRI scans it later came out as gadolinium poisoning. Norris decided to leave his acting career behind to look after O’Kelly while raising awareness of the potential side effects of gadolinium. This is a great example.
5 Surprising Facts
The Chuck Norris system
In 1990, Norris invented his own martial art style, based on his Tang Soo Do training in Korea, formerly known as “Chun Kuk Do.”
Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee
Norris and Lee met in 1968 at a Karate Tournament, and even though the two were never involved in an actual fight with each other, they trained together for two years in Norris’ backyard.
The classic Chuck Norris jokes
The reason for these jokes lies behind the thread, “Chuck Norris Fact Generator,” which started in 2005 and ended up being the generator of the timeless Norris jokes.
The reason Norris started acting
He was encouraged to start acting by the iconic martial artist and actor.
The snake that didn’t get away
Norris was bitten by a Cobra a few years ago, and after days of experiencing high-level pain, the cobra sadly passed away.
Chuck Norris FAQs
What is Chuck Norris doing now?
Norris is currently living his life with his wife and two children, on his range in Texas.
What did Chuck Norris do in the Air Force?
During his time in the Air Force, Norris was an Air Policeman in South Vietnam.
Is Chuck Norris part Indian?
Norris is both Irish and Cherokee Indian.
Chuck Norris’s birthday dates