Chuck Norris is a legendary martial arts artist, writer, and actor. He is famous for his Delta Force Movie series, Missing in Action, and the iconic TV show Walker, Texas Ranger (he was also its producer). Born in Oklahoma, USA, very few people can boast a career as impeccable as Norris’s.
However, his rise to stardom wasn’t a straightforward one. He has been through everything from failed martial arts competitions to waiting for his turn in the film industry. Here are a few lesser-known Chuck Norris facts to keep you in the loop.
1. His Real Name is Carlos Ray Norris
Born to Wilma and Ray Norris, Chuck Norris is the eldest of three children. He schooled at North Torrance High School before graduating in June 1958. Throughout this time, his name was Carlos Ray Norris; this changed when he joined a boot camp in San Antonio, Texas.
Once, a colleague asked Norris if he knew what the name “Carlos” meant in English. Apparently, it means “Charles,” whose nickname is “Chuck.” More people started calling him that, and that is how it stuck. Close friends and acquaintances sometimes call him Ground Chuck.
2. Chuck Norris Briefly Served in the Air Force
After graduating from Torrance High School, Chuck Norris joined the Air Force. He was sent to Korea, where he served and grew his love for martial arts. Even though his stint in Asia wasn’t that long, he learned enough to continue the practice even after joining Northrop Aviation back home.
3. He Has Several Black Belts in Different Disciplines
Even though he went to Korea for police duties, one of the things that interested Chuck Norris was the country’s love for martial arts. Even though he was somewhat of a late bloomer in the field and an extreme introvert, Chuck Norris took a specific interest in Judo. A week into the classes, he broke his shoulder.
He did not give up. Instead, he sought to learn other martial arts disciplines, including Tang Soo Do. He later learned Jiu-Jitsu, Chun Kuk Do (his creation), and Taekwondo, each of which he has a black belt.
4. He Starred Alongside Bruce Lee in The Way of the Dragon
Due to their love of martial arts, Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris met and became friends almost immediately. It wasn’t long before Chuck featured in Lee’s movie, The Way of the Dragon. Even though he wasn’t the main character, many argue the film’s success catapulted Chuck’s acting career.
5. He Had an Equally Successful Martial Arts Career
Besides acting, which he was formidable at, Chuck Norris excelled in his near-decade fighting career. He started in 1964 but didn’t hit success straightaway– he lost his first 3 tournaments. However, within 2 years, Norris had recollected himself, trained, and became unbeatable. From there, it was championship after another.
His most notable accolades include:
- The National Karate Championship won in 1966
- The All-Star Championships won in 1966
- World Middleweight Championship won in 1967
- World Professional Middleweight Karate Championship in 1968
- All-American Championship in 1968
- North America Karate Championship
- American Tang Soo Championship
What’s more impressive is that he beat other heavyweights to his 65-5 fight record. They include Ronald L. Marchini, Skipper Mullins, Joe Lewis, and Louis Delgado, who he beat to win the World Professional Middleweight Karate Championship in 1968.
Chuck Norris’s last career defeat was in early 1968 to Louis Delgado, but he got his revenge later in the year. From there, Norris remained undefeated until 1974, when he retired from fighting. He bowed out as an undefeated Professional Full-Contact Middleweight Champion.
6. Chuck Norris’s Last Film Appearance Was in 2012
From the time he was featured in Bruce Lee’s Way of the Dragon, Chuck Norris’s acting career remained on course, playing a role in more than 50 films and shows. The most notable ones include:
- The Hitman
- The Delta Force 1 and 2
- Missing in Action
- Walker, Texas Ranger
Chuck Norris appeared in Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables 2 in 2012 to cap what had been an outstanding career. This would mark his last appearance in TV shows and films.
7. There is a Website that Parodies Chuck Norris’ Career
Due to his badass on-screen character, a website was developed to parody Chuck Norris’ career. The site jokes about everything the writers can think of concerning the legendary movie star. For example, one says, “Even when you are fast asleep, Chuck Norris is faster.”
Chuck Norris is aware of this website and even acknowledged that he doesn’t mind what is posted there in an interview. He hoped the jokes motivated people to learn more about him and his achievements.
When filming The Expendables 2, Chuck Norris included a line with similar jokes. In the scene, Sylvester Stallone asks Chuck Norris if, indeed, he was bitten by a king cobra. Norris replies, “Yeah, I did! And after 5 days of agonizing pain, the cobra died.”
Honorary Mention: Chuck Norris Practices What He Preaches
According to a post in Readers Digest, Chuck Norris, as is the case with his characters, prefers non-violent problem-solving techniques. The story is about a customer who walks into a bar and finds Chuck Norris sitting in his favorite position. Not knowing who he was, the man ordered Norris to move.
Apparently, Chuck Norris moved without saying a word. Realizing who he was talking to, the man wondered why Chuck didn’t resist or beat him. The movie star told him that fighting wouldn’t achieve anything. He acknowledges that the approach earned him a friend.