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Chuck Norris: The Wild Life of the OG Texas Ranger

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By: Kate Row | Last updated: Sep 16, 2022

Chuck Norris might just be one of the most interesting men in the world. He gained a reputation for his strength and macho nature. Chuck was a man of many talents, but is most well known for his time as a martial artist and actor. 

However, there is so much more that makes up this interesting character. From martial arts to action jeans, the man is certainly full of surprises. Here are some fascinating facts about the famed Chuck Norris.

He is a veteran

There are more celebrities than you think that have served in the military. Chuck Norris described himself as being a shy child. But after graduating high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force and became a member of the military police. His goal was to pursue a job in law enforcement.

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He discovered martial arts for the first time while he was serving in South Korea. He first realized he needed some combat skills when a fight broke out in a bar and he was unable to control it. Before he returned to California, he studied Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwon Do.

He got into acting because of Steve McQueen

Norris had begun teaching classes to celebrities such as the Osmonds, Priscilla Presely, and Steve McQueen. Steve McQueen was the rugged handsome man of few words who ruled show business in the 1960s and 70s.

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Steve McQueen was the first person to suggest to Chuck Norris that he should try acting. Since Chuck had retired from competition, he was seeking other opportunities. It took several years for Chuck Norris to have a breakthrough in film but he eventually did with the movie Lone Wolf McQuade.

He founded his own system of martial arts

He took his knowledge of the martials arts he had learned during his time in the military and made his very own martial arts system. It eventually came to be known as Chun Kuk Do. 

 

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The philosophy behind this practice is that it encourages students to make themselves into their best potential. A major theme of this practice is that it is important to look for the good in other people. In 2015, it was renamed the Chuck Norris System.

He marketed “action jeans”

Chuck Norris wanted to enter many different kinds of businesses. With his knowledge of martial arts he was interested in entering the world of athletic apparel. He was recruited by an athletic product company to be a spokesperson for Karate jeans. Karate and jeans are not two things we would ordinarily put together.

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These were made of a flexible, stretchy fabric that would allow the wearer to move fluidly while working out. They were meant to be fashionable and functional for all martial artists. Norris promoted this product for years.

He has his own cartoon series

In the 1980s, Chuck Norris was reaching the height of his fame and he worked with an animation company to create a cartoon series. The show featured himself and other martial artists fighting villains.

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He explained that they only ever made 6 episodes before it was canceled because some people thought they were too violent. It was called Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos.

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He gained a cult following on the internet

Chuck Norris gained notoriety outside of his different business ventures, appearances on T.V., and martial arts talents. The internet started making jokes about Chuck Norris’ strength and toughness, which snowballed into a cult following on the internet.

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The memes took over the internet and really gave Chuck a resurgence in popularity. One example of this kind of joke is, “Chuck Norris was bitten by a rattlesnake. After days of suffering pain, the snake eventually died”. 

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He had a daughter from an affair

In 1963, Chuck had a daughter that was the result of an affair. He has admitted that he cheated on his wife with a woman named Johanna. He actually wrote this admission into the biography he wrote about himself.

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Apparently, the affair happened when he was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. Chuck now has a total of five children: Mike, Dakota, Dina, Eric, and Danilee.

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He went to jail for assault

In 2017, Chuck Norris faced jail time for assault. He spent a week in prison after an incident where he stabbed his nephew’s hand. Chuck had mentioned that he had not meant to stab him, but was trying to scare him because he was misbehaving.

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He was sentenced to community service and substance abuse classes in addition to the time spent in jail. His strength and background in hand to hand combat makes it less than surprising that he has spent some time in jail for violence.

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He launched a water company

In addition to his other business ventures, Chuck started a bottled water company. It was called CForce water and launched in 2017. Apparently, the product was supposed to be an energy drink that gave you “Chuck Norris energy” when you drank it.

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Chuck claimed that his water was much cleaner than other bottled water. He also said that it was “smoother” than other brands. Part of the proceeds were donated to kickstarter projects for young up and comers.

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There’s a drink named after Chuck Norris

Having a drink named after you has to be the peak level of fame, right? If that’s the case, Chuck has certainly achieved the highest level of success. Next time you’re at a bar you should see if they know how to make the “Chuck Norris”.

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This drink is made of UV Cherry Vodka mixed with a few ounces of Liquid Ice energy drink. In some versions of the drink, they might include tabasco sauce for a hit of spice. Maybe it’s called the Chuck Norris because you will need extra strength to fight the hangover from this beverage.

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There is a Chuck Norris 5k

Starting in 2019, there is a Chuck Norris 5k run held in Texas. The run sold out in record time! What sets the Chuck Norris run apart from other 5k runs is that you are required to dress up like Chuck to participate in the race.

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When you register, you receive a custom Chuck Norris shirt, beard, and belt buckle. The best costumes receive a prize. All are welcome to participate and it’s a fun way to get people to dress up and get active.

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He’s a screenwriter

In addition to acting in movies such as DodgeBall, The Real Miyagi, and An Eye for an Eye, Chuck is also a screenwriter. He’s contributed to film in many different ways. He’s been an actor, film producer, and screenwriter.

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He wrote Texas Ranger, Invasion U.S.A., and more. Not to mention he has written books as well. This includes his extensive autobiography and The Black Belt Patriotism. He really is a man of many talents! Who knew a martial artist would wear so many hats.

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He has a video game of his own

In 2017, the actor and martial artist launched his own smartphone game called Nonstop Chuck Norris. A German mobile game company, Flaregames, published the game. The game was actually a celebration of Chuck’s 77th birthday.

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In the adventure game, Chuck travels through multiple universes fighting off bad guys while collecting facts about the legend himself. The player plays the role of Chuck’s sidekick and defeats their opponents alongside the fearless Norris.

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He’s made many donations to Make a Wish

The man has made millions over the course of his career. Entertainment pays! He has a history of making generous donations to multiple foundations such as Funds for Kids, the Veterans Administration National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans, and United Way.

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In addition to donating to these charitable organizations, he has also organized many fund-raising activities himself. One of which is the Kick Start Foundation which he started in 1990 to help young people resist drugs.

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His father was a World War II veteran

Chuck Norris’s father, Ray Dee Norris was a World War II veteran and was most likely part of the reason Chuck enlisted in the military himself. Ray was also a mechanic, bus driver, and truck driver.

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Unfortunately his father also struggled with alcoholism. This made Chuck’s upbringing very tumultuous and frightening for the young boy. Luckily, Chuck brought himself up and became a legend despite his difficult beginnings.

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Chuck Norris was shy and not athletic in school

It’s hard to imagine the gruff martial arts legend as being anything other than the beast that he has rested his career on. But Chuck was not always this strong warrior. When he was young he was actually pretty non athletic.

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He was also very shy and introverted. He has been described as being academically mediocre. But of course, this all changed when he graduated high school and went to join the military, where he learned about martial arts and hand to hand combat.

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He has explained that he was introverted due to embarrassment

Chuck has commented about his shy nature as a child. He says that he was very introverted due to embarrassment about his parents’ finances and his dad’s alcoholism. He didn’t want to inspire violence from his father so he remained quiet most of the time.

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Also, his parents were not well off and he was embarrassed by the family’s financial situation so that was another leading factor in his quiet nature as a kid. When he was 16, his parents divorced and he and his siblings stayed with his mother.

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He married his high school sweetheart

Chuck married his high school sweetheart Dianne Kay Holecheck. He was only 18 and she was 17 at the time. They were married for 30 years before they agreed to separate. They had 2 children before going their separate ways.

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Dianne had her own successful career as a previous owner of a restaurant. Their two sons have made careers of their own as well. Their eldest son followed in his dad’s footsteps by becoming an actor and their younger son is a successful race car driver.

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His real name is not Chuck

It may come as a surprise that Chuck is not actually Chuck Norris’s real name. His real name is Carlos Ray Norris. His father’s minister was named Carlos Berry so Chuck was named after him. His middle name is ,of course, for his father.

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It was not until he enlisted in the military that he got his nickname, Chuck. He was stationed at Osan Air Base in South Korea and they began to call him Chuck. It just stuck and that’s what we all know him as today.

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He opened his first martial arts studio in 1962

When he was discharged from the Air Force in 1962 he came home and wanted to become a police officer. While he was waiting to hear back about his application to the police academy he opened his first martial arts studio.

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His time in the military had opened his eyes to his love for martial arts. He would attend events and demonstrate fights to promote his new studio. When it began to take off he readjusted his career and decided not to be a police officer anymore.

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He created a code of honor for his own martial art called “Chun Kuk Do”

Chun Kuk Do was Norris’s very own martial art which he invented and taught in his studio. There was a code of honor that came long with this practice. This included committing to develop yourself in all aspects of life.

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You had to vow to be positive and promote positivity to others. It really emphasized happiness, love, and working on oneself as well as others. The ten rules of Chun Kuk Do were things that Chuck tried to emphasize in his everyday life.

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In 1967 he began winning Martial Arts tournaments

About 5 years after Chuck opened his first studio, he began to become really competitive in the martial arts world. He won his very first tournament in 1967. In this year he won many accolades.

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At the Tournament of Karate in June he defeated 7 opponents and then won the Sparring Grand Champions at the All American Championship. The following year he won the Sparring Grand Champions in 1968.

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He continued to dominate in the world of Martial Arts

After his win at the Sparring Grand Champions he went on to win the Professional Middleweight Karate champion title. He then won this title for the next 6 years. He was a force and he couldn’t be stopped!

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In 1969 he was awarded the Fighter of the Year award from Black Belt magazine. He then earned the Triple Crown for having the most tournament wins in one single year. It was at this time that Chuck was beginning to really garner popularity and transfer his skills into acting as well.

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His acting career kicked off

Chuck began acting but didn’t start to gain success until Cannon Films offered him a multiple film deal. The first of the series was called Missing in Action and released in 1984. The series went on for three films. The final one was released in 1988.

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Chuck stars in the films as Colonel Braddock. He is on a mission in the jungles of Vietnam to free Americans that are held captive. The franchise was the first big break for the budding actor.

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He wrote a book called The Secret of Inner Strength: My Story

He has authored a few books, the first of which was The Secret of Inner Strength: My Story. This was the story of how he overcame battles and kick started his acting career. It also outlined his training with Bruce Lee.

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Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris starred in many movies together as battling adversaries. Enter the Dragon, The Way of the Dragon, I am Bruce Lee, and Game of Death are some of the many movies that the two starred in together.

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His movies grossed $500 million worldwide

By the 1990s all of Chuck’s films had grossed over $500 million dollars! Not bad for a martial artist turned movie star. Some of his highest grossing films were The Octagon, A Force of One, Good Guys Wear Black, and An Eye for an Eye.

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But there were many more. To date, he has been in at least 40 movies. His success on screen translated to many of his other business endeavors.

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His charity aimed to help kids stay off drugs

He started a charity called Kickstart with the support of President George Bush. He provided martial arts lessons to middle school kids to teach them respect and discipline. He used the moral rules of Chun Kuk Do.

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It also aimed to keep underprivileged kids in something positive rather than getting involved in drugs. He also worked with other charitable societies.

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He bought a ranch to use as a studio

Chuck Norris and his brother bought a ranch in Texas so he could live there during the filming of Walker, Texas Ranger. He lived there during the filming process and had a separate building built to use as a studio.

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His brother Aaron also lived on the ranch alongside him. Aaron is also in the film industry as a stunt performer, director, actor, and producer. He was an executive producer on the Walker, Texas Ranger film.

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He was induced into the Martial Arts History Museum's Hall of Fame

Chuck Norris was added to the Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 1999. This was a moment in his career which commented on the impact he had on martial arts. His impact was notable through his own studio and his own form of martial arts.

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But he also made an impact through his movies. Many people associate the world of martial arts with him and his name. He has since been nominated for many more awards in the film and martial arts industry.

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