Today I found out Chuck Norris’ first name is actually Carlos.
“Chuck” Norris was born Carlos Ray Norris all the way back in 1940 (yes, he’s 72 years old now and even recently had to have a hip replaced). Carlos Norris was named after Carlos Berry, a minister who was close to Norris’ father. He didn’t acquire the nickname “Chuck” until he joined the U.S. Air Force at the age of 18 (the full nickname being “Ground Chuck”). While he was with the Air Force, serving as an Air Policeman (AP) stationed at Osan Air Base in South Korea, he decided to take up Korean martial arts, specifically starting out studying Tang Soo Do.
Before this, while in school, Chuck Norris stated that he wasn’t very athletic, was “scholastically mediocre”, and was “the shy kid who never excelled at anything in school”. Further, he was frequently bullied, usually due to his mixed heritage (both his parents were Cherokee and Irish). Far from resulting in a lot of people feeling the wrath of one of the great martial artists of the last century, this bullying just resulted in Norris becoming even more shy than he was already.
This would all change thanks to his decision to join the Air Force, where he acquired his now famous nickname and got into Korean martial arts. After leaving the military, he worked for a couple years at Northrop Aviation while continuing to study martial arts, as well as instruct others part time. He soon had enough success at this that he was able to open his own school, which ultimately resulted in a chain of schools.
During this time, he also decided to start competing in tournaments, starting in 1964. After losing his first three matches, he subsequently went on a tear of Chuck Norrisan proportions rattling off 183 wins vs. just 7 losses and 2 ties. Further, all of his total 10 losses came in his first four years he competed (from 1964-1968). In 1968, he became the World Full-Contact Middleweight Karate Champion and never lost again, going undefeated over the next six years until 1974 when he decided to retire.
While competing in these various tournaments, Norris continued to expand his chain of martial arts schools and also began instructing certain celebrities like Steve McQueen, Priscilla Presley, Bob Barker, and Marie and Donny Osmond. It was Steve McQueen that encouraged Chuck Norris to become a full time actor supposedly telling him, “If you can’t do anything else, there’s always acting”.
Norris appeared in his first film in 1968, The Green Berets, though he was uncredited, which is why you’ll often read that his first film was The Wrecking Crew, in 1969. The film that really launched his career, though, was Return of the Dragon (1972), opposite Bruce Lee. From there he went on to appear in a total of 39 films to date and, of course, stared in the show he’s probably most famous for, Walker, Texas Ranger, which lasted 8 seasons and 196 episodes.
Bonus Chuck Norris Facts:
- Chuck Norris was initially offered the role of Red Forman on That ’70s Show, but turned it down because he was still doing Walker, Texas Ranger at that point (1998).
- Chuck Norris’ father ended up getting cancer, but managed to die from it in a very indirect way. His cancer surgery necessitated removing part of his throat and chin. Due to the removal of part of his throat, he required a tube inserted into his trachea to be able to breathe. Unfortunately, shortly after having this surgery, he got in a car accident and was ejected from the vehicle. Like the cancer, this didn’t kill him directly, as one might expect from the father of Chuck Norris. However, the tube in his throat came out and no one at the scene knew he needed it to be able to breathe, so he suffocated.
- The actor that played Doctor Zachary Smith in Lost in Space, Jonathon Harris, also gave Chuck Norris speech lessons. One particularly odd method he used to get Norris to speak more clearly was to put his fingers into Chuck Norris’ mouth and stretch his mouth wide open. One hopes he washed his hands first (and after). Chuck Norris once stated Harris was “the only man in the world who could get away with doing that”.
- Chuck Norris started his own form of martial arts called Chun Kuk Do, “The Universal Way”, which combines a variety of other styles he’s learned over the years, though is closest to Tang Soo Do. Chun Kuk Do has 10 rules, that are the rules Chuck Norris states he lives his life by:
- I will develop myself to the maximum of my potential in all ways.
- I will forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements.
- I will continually work at developing love, happiness and loyalty in my family.
- I will look for the good in all people and make them feel worthwhile.
- If I have nothing good to say about a person, I will say nothing.
- I will always be as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
- I will maintain an attitude of open-mindedness.
- I will maintain respect for those in authority and demonstrate this respect at all times.
- I will always remain loyal to my God, my country, family and my friends.
- I will remain highly goal-oriented throughout my life because that positive attitude helps my family, my country and myself.
Personally, I’m a much bigger fan of Ben Franklin’s “13 Virtues to Live By”
- Chuck Norris has a 10th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do and an 8th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Norris has stated that he was told he was the first American to become an 8th Degree Black Belt Grand Master, but this isn’t true. Two other U.S. citizens, Chuck Sereff and Edward Sell, both achieved the same distinction.
- Chuck Norris had a daughter out of wed lock in the 1960s, Dina. He didn’t learn he was her father until she was 16 years old and did not meet her in person until she was 26. He has four other children, two from his first wife (married out of high school, from 1958-1988) and two from his second wife (married in 1998).
- There is a bridge in Slovakia that spans into Austria that is named after Chuck Norris.
- Chuck Norris has not only written a few non-fiction books, including an autobiography, but also wrote two fictional novels, The Justice Riders and A Threat to Justice.
Bonus Funny Chuck Norris Facts:
- When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris. (Chuck Norris says this is his favorite funny Chuck Norris Fact)
- There used to be a street named after Chuck Norris, but it was changed because nobody crosses Chuck Norris and lives.
- Chuck Norris died 20 years ago, Death just hasn’t built up the courage to tell him yet.
- Chuck Norris doesn’t call the wrong number. You answer the wrong phone.
- Ghosts sit around the campfire and tell Chuck Norris stories.
- Chuck Norris has already been to Mars; that’s why there are no signs of life.
- Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn’t dead it is just afraid to move.
- A cop once pulled over Chuck Norris….the cop was lucky to get off with just a warning.
- Chuck Norris and Superman once fought each other on a bet. The loser had to start wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants.
- Chuck Norris once urinated in a semi truck’s gas tank as a joke….that truck is now known as Optimus Prime.
- Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.
- Death once had a near-Chuck Norris experience.
- Chuck Norris can win a game of Connect Four in only three moves.
- Chuck Norris will never have a heart attack. His heart isn’t nearly foolish enough to attack him.
- Chuck Norris once got bit by a rattle snake. After three days of pain and agony, the rattle snake died
- Chuck Norris once kicked a horse in the chin. Its descendants are known today as Giraffes.
- When the President pushes the big red button, Chuck Norris’ cell phone rings.
- Chuck Norris doesn’t mow his lawn. He just stands there and dares the grass to grow.
- Chuck Norris once ran a marathon backwards, just to see what second place looks like.
- The only movie role Chuck Norris was every turned down for was “Mission Impossible”, for obvious reasons.
- Chuck Norris The Film in 3D was actually banned after the first showing when a 3D roundhouse kick accidentally killed the entire audience.
- Chuck Norris sleeps in the light; not because he is afraid of the dark, but because the dark is afraid of him.
- Chuck Norris doesn’t pay attention – attention pays him.
- The only word that rhymes with orange is Chuck Norris.
- Chuck Norris’ calendar goes from March 31st to April 2nd because nobody fools Chuck Norris.
Expand for References
- The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book: 101 of Chuck’s Favorite Facts and Stories, by Chuck Norris
- The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Fact About the World’s Greatest Human, by Ian Spector
- Against All Odds: My Story, by Chuck Norris
- Chuck Norris Biography
- Chuck Norris Official Website
- Chuck Norris
- Chuck Norris
- Chuck Norris Facts
- Chun Kuk Do
- Image Source