Actor, Martial Arts Champion
It comes as no surprise that Chuck Norris was named "Veteran of the Year" at the American Veteran awards show. Chuck Norris is famous as a world champion martial artist, and movie and television star. What many people don't know is that Norris is also very dedicated to the military community.
Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris was born on March 10, 1940 in Ryan, Oklahoma. His mother was Irish-English and his father was Cherokee. Norris joined the Air Force after high school, with the goal of training in the Security Police in preparation for a career in law enforcement. It was in the Air Force, while stationed in Korea, that Chuck was introduced to martial arts. One night on duty, Norris realized that he couldn't arrest a rowdy drunk without pulling his weapon.
He studied Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwan Do, both Korean martial arts, and became the first Westerner to be awarded an eighth-degree Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do. He held the world middleweight karate champion title for six years, and was named Black Belt magazine's "Fighter of the Year" in 1969. He founded 32 martial arts schools, and was actor Steve McQueen's karate teacher.
It was McQueen who encouraged Norris to go into acting. Norris has starred in such films as "Good Guys Wear Black," "Delta Force" and "Missing in Action." He currently stars in the popular TV series "Walker, Texas Ranger."
Norris has used his success to give back to the military community. He has been a spokesman on behalf of the Veteran's Administration and hospitalized veterans. In 1990 he created the "Kick Drugs out of America" Foundation.