Chuck Norris, has featured in around forty films but it wasn’t long into his acting career that he got his big breakthrough
His second marraige is still going strong today despite having shared some news regarding the health of his wife.
Now let’s take a closer look at Chuck Norris’ career and life.
On MARCH 10 1940, Chuck Norris was born In Ryan, Oklahoma. He was the eldest of three boys, but he would describe himself as “the shy kid who never excelled at anything in school.”
Chuck Norris – early life
Chuck’s father was a heavy drinker who suddenly disappeared and left his mother, Wilma to raised them alone. By the time Chuck turned fifteen he had already moved sixteen times until they finally settled in California.
Hi smother was a devoted Christian who ensured all her children went to church so aa result, Norrisdeveloped a close relationship with God.
Chuck attended North Torrance High School and while he studied he also helped his mother to take care of his brothers while she worked.
“God has a plan for you,” his mother would say.
“She loves Jesus with all of her heart and soul and made sure we understood that [growing up],” he was reported as saying by Baptist Press. “She influenced me spiritually and instilled in me a sense of responsibility that carried over in my later adult life, she always told me ‘God has plans for you,’ and I didn’t know what she meant. I think I do now.”
In 1958, Chuck married his high school sweetheart, Dianne Holechek and joined the US Airforce the very same year.
How Chuck Norris got his name
Chuck Norris was initially stationed at the Osan Air Base in South Korea, where he studied martial arts.
A Hispanic guy living in the barrack with Chuck asked if he knew what Carlos meant in English.
“I said,’ yea, it is Charles,’” Norris explained on his website. “Then he said,’ The nickname for Charles is Chuck. That is what I am going to call you.’ Well, all the guys started calling me Chuck and it stuck.”
Chuck soon “realized that he couldn’t arrest a rowdy drunk without pulling his weapon.” So, he decided to study martial arts. His instructor was Grand Master Mun – instructor Tae Kwon Do – at the Osan Gym.
In 1961, he left the Army and began working as a karate instructor and opened more than thirty karate studios thought the US during the sixties. He taught many celebrities, including Priscilla Presley and Steve McQueen.
Chuck also competed in tournaments and won the World Middleweight Karate Championship title for the first time in 1968 becoming one of the greatest fighters in martial arts history.
“I was competing against guys with years and years of experience”
Chuck retired from competition in 1974 and his chain of karate schools had fallen into ruin.
“I thought that maybe 500 schools was better than owning six schools, well turns out it wasn’t. Anyway, two years later, I lost everything. It took me five years to get out of that hole and pay all the creditors back. In the meantime, I was trying to decide what I was going to do with my life,” Chuck explained.
Steve McQueen had actually told Norris to try his hand at acting.
“Finally I found an acting school that I was able to take on my GI bill through the military,” Norris said. “So I went back to school to learn acting. Then I went out trying to find work (as an actor) but I was competing against guys with years and years of experience.”
“I said ‘this isn’t going to work.’ So I wound up writing my own screenplay and finally, you know through sheer determination and faith I sold the idea and made it a reality. That was in 1977. That really was the beginning of my career.”
In 1972, he appeared in Return of the Dragon, with a particular highlight of the film being a fight scene involving him and action star Bruce Lee, staged in the famous Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
“It was amazing because when I got to Rome my fighting weight was 168 (lbs.) and at the time Bruce weighed about 145,” Chuck said.
Chuck Norris – film career & net worth
“The producers of the film looked at us together and said to me ‘you know you two don’t look much different in size, you need to be bigger than Bruce, can we make you bigger?’ I said ‘what do you mean?’ He said ‘can you put on some weight?’ I said ‘well, I don’t know.’ You know by this time I’m intimidated because I’ve never done this before, I’m scared and I said ‘well how much weight do you want me to put on?’ He said ‘well can you put on 20 pounds?’ I said ‘well I’ll try.’”
Norris continued: “So I started eating hamburgers and drinking malt. But I was training every day so I was burning the weight right back off again. I had to literally stop training and just eat. And then of course you know it wasn’t muscle it was more fat than it was muscle (laughs). So I went up to about 180 for that fight scene. That’s why you didn’t see me do any jumping kicks I couldn’t get off the ground.”
Chuck has been in roughly forty films, which include Missing in Action, Code of Silence (1985), and The Delta Force (1986).
Chuck’s career as an actor began to fade so decided to create some new projects on the side. In 1990, he began his own charitable organization, Kickstart with the help of President George H. W. Bush.
An organization that provides martial arts training to middle-school students in the US which was designed to help kids raise their self-esteem, so they don’t feel they have to fight in the first place.
Chuck Norris – family, wife, children
“Kickstart, I think, is one of God’s plans for me and for Gina, too,” Norris said. “We work with kids who are already going down the wrong path, who already have two strikes against them, inner-city children who have no self start. And our program Kickstart, which means building strong, moral character in our youth through the martial arts, is a way for us to give back.”
in 1997, Chuck started dating Gena O’Kelley and married her a year later. Chuck posted an emotional tribute to his wife on Facebook, whom he calls his best friend.
“22 years ago I met the love of my life. And we are now celebrating 20 years of marriage together,” Norris wrote.
“Gena… Thank you for being not only the best wife a man could ask for but the greatest mom and best friend as well. I love you Gena and look forward to celebrating many more years together.”
Gena and Chuck Norris have two children together, Danielle and Dakota. Their lives turned upside-down as her health started to deteriorate when she received an injection Gena knew something felt wrong almost instantly.
“Within hours after the first jab, I felt like my whole body was on fire — as if acid had been passed through it. The burning was isolated at first, but it just kept spreading… I just lay in bed on an IV for five months and had to have round-the-clock nursing care. Chuck slept beside me on the couch and never left. I prayed that I would live to raise my children,” she explained.
Gena has suffered from constant nerve pain and kidney problems since she was poisoned by a chemical injected into her multiple times during magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI).
Gena and Chuck have publicly sued 11 healthcare companies in a bid for justice.
Since then, Gena has needed care, and her husband has always been there. In fact, he gave up everything else to care for his wife full-time. According to the couple, they have spent around $2 million on treatments alone.
“I’ve given up my film career to concentrate on Gena, my whole life right now is about keeping her alive,” Chuck said. “I believe this issue is so important.”
“It’s infuriating and heartbreaking,” Gena added. “It’s a vicious, ugly secret that has been kept hidden — something Chuck and I are determined to change.”
Hopefully Gena will fully recover soon.
Chuck Norris sure sounds like a fantastic husband and father. So please, share this article on Facebook with friends and family to honor him.