by Hayden Shaw
Chuck Norris had a major impact on action films in the 70’s-80’s! Because of his hit film The Way Of The Dragon he turned big into the public eye. Chuck joined the air force in 1958 and also married his high school sweetheart (Dianne Holechek) the same year.Sadly they divorced 30 years later, he is now married to Gena O’Kelly a retired model.
Chuck Norris is a well acclaimed martial artist. He has founded two art forms Chuck kuk do as well as Tang soo do. He has a 10th degree black belt in chuck kuk do and a 9th degree black belt in tang soo do.Norris was defeated in his first two tournaments, dropping decisions to Joe Lewis and Allen Steen and three matches at the International Karate Championships to Tony Tulleners. By 1967 Norris had improved enough that he scored victories over the likes of Lewis, Skipper Mullins, Arnold Urquidez, Victor Moore, Ron Marchini, and Steve Sanders. Norris would be a two time winner at S. Henry Cho's All American Championship. In early 1968, Norris suffered the tenth and last loss of his career, losing an upset decision to Louis Delgado. On November 24, 1968, he avenged his defeat to Delgado and by doing so won the Professional Middleweight Karate champion title, which he held for six consecutive years. In 1969, he won Karate's triple crown for the most tournament wins of the year, and the Fighter of the Year award by Black Belt Magazine.
Norris made history in 1990 when he was the first Westerner in the documented history of Taekwondo to be given the rank of 8th Degree Black Belt Grand Master. In 1999, Norris was inducted into the Martial Arts History Museum's Hall of Fame. 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 June 1970, his younger brother Wieland, a private in the 101st Airborne Division, was killed in Vietnam while on patrol in the defense of Firebase Ripcord. Norris was depressed and later dedicated his Missing in Action films to his brother's memory. At a martial arts demonstration in Long Beach, Norris met the martial artist Bruce Lee. In 1972, he acted as Lee's nemesis in the movie Way of the Dragon (titled Return of the Dragon in the U.S.), which is widely credited with launching him toward stardom. In Asia, Norris is still known primarily for this role. In 1974, McQueen encouraged him to begin acting classes at MGM. Chuck wants to tell everyone that “if you have a dream go for it, you will achieve your goal if you're dedicated enough”