On March 10, City Connect celebrates the birthday of Chuck Norris born on this day in 1940. Chuck Norris is an American martial artist and actor. After serving in the United States Air Force, he began his rise to fame as a martial artist. Chuck 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. Chuck Norris next played the starring role in the television series Walker, Texas Ranger from 1993 to 2001.
Norris joined the United States Air Force as an Air Policeman (AP) in 1958 and was sent to Osan Air Base, South Korea. It was there that Norris acquired the nickname Chuck and began his training in Tang Soo Do, an interest that led to black belts in that art and the founding of the Chun Kuk Do (“Universal Way”) form. When he returned to the United States, he continued to act as an AP at March Air Force Base, California. Norris was discharged in August 1962. He worked for the Northrop Corporation and opened a chain of karate schools including a storefront school in his then-hometown of Torrance on Hawthorne Boulevard. Norris’ official website lists celebrity clients at the schools; among them Steve McQueen, Chad McQueen, Bob Barker, Priscilla Presley, Donny Osmond and Marie Osmond.
In 1969, Norris won Karate’s triple crown for the most tournament wins of the year, and the Fighter of the Year award by Black Belt Magazine. Chuck Norris retired with a karate record of 183–10–2. 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 1972 he acted as Bruce 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.
Contrary to reports, Norris publicly said he was never offered the part of the Sensei of the Cobra Kai dojo in the film The Karate Kid. 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.
In late 2005, Norris became the object of an ironic internet meme known as “Chuck Norris Facts”, which document fictional, often absurdly heroic feats and characteristics about Norris. Norris has written his own response to the parody on his website, stating that he does not feel offended by them and finds some of them funny.
On March 28, 2007, Commandant Gen. James T. Conway made Norris an honorary United States Marine during a dinner at the commandant’s residence in Washington, D.C. On December 2, 2010, Norris was given the title honorary Texas Ranger by Texas Governor Rick Perry.
In addition to being an action superstar, Chuck Norris is also a philanthropist. He is known for his contribution towards organizations such as Funds for Kids, Veteran’s Administration National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans, the United Way, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the form of donations as well as fund-raising activities.
His time with the U.S. Veterans Administration as a spokesperson, was inspired by his experience serving the United States Air Force in Korea. His objective has been to popularize the issues such as Pensions and Healthcare, which concern hospitalized war veterans. Due to his significant contributions, and continued patriotism, he received the Veteran of the Year award in 2001 at the American Veteran Awards.
Additionally, Norris supports the Vijay Amritraj Foundation, which aims at bringing hope, help and healing to the defenceless and innocent victims of disease, tragedy and circumstance in India. Through his donations, he has helped the foundation support paediatric HIV/AIDS homes in Delhi, a blind school in Karnataka, and a mission that cares for HIV/AIDS infected adults, as well as mentally ill patients in Cochin.
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