Carlos Ray “Chuck” Norris (born March 10, 1940) is an American martial artist, actor, film producer and screenwriter. After serving in the United States Air Force, he began his rise to fame as a martial artist, and has since founded his own school, Chun Kuk Do.
Norris appeared in a number of action films, such as Way of the Dragon, in which he starred alongside Bruce Lee, and was The Cannon Group’s leading star in the 1980s. He played the starring role in the television series Walker, Texas Ranger from 1993 until 2001.
Martial arts career
Norris was defeated in his first two tournaments, dropping decisions to Joe Lewis and Allen Steen and 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, Arnold Urquidez, Victor Moore, Ron Marchini, and Steve Sanders. 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 made history in 1990 when he was the first Westerner in the documented history of Tae Kwon Do to be given the rank of 8th Degree Black Belt Grand Master. In 1999, Norris was inducted into the Martial Arts History Museum’s Hall of Fame. On July 1, 2000, Norris was presented the Golden Lifetime Achievement Award by the World Karate Union Hall of Fame.
In 1969, Norris made his acting debut in the Dean Martin film The Wrecking Crew. In June 1970, his younger brother Wieland, a private in the 101st Airborne Division, was killed in Vietnam while on patrol in the defense of Firebase Ripcord. Norris later dedicated his Missing in Action films to his brother’s memory.
At a martial arts demonstration in Long Beach, Norris met the martial artist Bruce Lee. In 1972, he acted as Lee’s nemesis in the movie Way of the Dragon (titled Return of the Dragon in its U.S. distribution), which is widely credited with launching him toward stardom. In Asia, Norris is still known primarily for this role. In 1974, McQueen encouraged him to begin acting classes at MGM.
Norris’ first starring role was 1977’s Breaker! Breaker!, and subsequent films such as Good Guys Wear Black (1978), The Octagon (1980), An Eye for an Eye (1981), and Lone Wolf McQuade proved his increasing box office bankability. In 1984, Norris starred in Missing in Action, the first of a series of Rambo-inspired POW rescue fantasies themed around the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue that were produced by Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus and released under their Cannon Films banner. The film, however, was criticized heavily as being a preemptive cash-in on the Rambo film series.
Over the next four years, Norris became Cannon’s most prominent star, appearing in eight films, including Code of Silence, The Delta Force, and Firewalker, in which he co-starred with Academy Award winner Louis Gossett, Jr.. Many of the aforementioned films were produced by Norris’ brother Aaron Norris, as were several episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger. In 1986, he was involved in the production of the Ruby-Spears cartoon Karate Kommandos.
In October 2014 he revealed that he would be shooting a new film, The Finisher, in March 2015.
Walker, Texas Ranger
By the end of the 1980s, Cannon Films had faded from prominence, and Norris’ star appeal seemed to go with it. He reprised his Delta Force role for MGM, which had acquired the Cannon library after the latter’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Norris went on to make several more films before making a transition to television. In 1993, he began shooting the series Walker, Texas Ranger, which lasted eight years on CBS and continued in heavy syndication on other channels, notably the Hallmark Channel.
Norris receiving the Veteran of the Year award by the U.S. Air Force in 2001
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.
Ref: Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Norris