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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture


Best known for starring in action movies and the long-running series Walker, Texas Ranger, "Chuck" Norris was born in Ryan, Oklahoma, March 10, 1940. At age twelve he moved with his family to Torrance, California, and after high school he joined the U.S. Air Force. A tour of duty in Korea enabled him to learn Asian martial arts. Before his acting career blossomed, he won many martial arts championships, including the World Professional Middleweight Karate crown seven years in a row. A renowned teacher of martial arts, he coached such celebrities as Steve McQueen, Priscilla Presley, and Donnie and Marie Osmond.

Chuck Norris's screen debut came in The Wrecking Crew (1968), which he followed with numerous action films such as Return of the Dragon (1972, with Bruce Lee), Good Guys Wear Black (1978), Missing in Action (1984), Delta Force (1986), and Delta Force 2 (1990). His television career began in 1993 with the CBS series Walker, Texas Ranger.

Norris founded the United Fighting Arts Federation, a worldwide organization of 2,300 black belts. In 1996 he was awarded an eighth degree Black Belt Grand Master in Tae Kwon Do, the first such honor for a man in the Western Hemisphere. He retired from competition undefeated.

In 1988 he wrote a best-selling autobiography, The Secret of Inner Strength. He was actively involved in charitable causes such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the United Way, and a group he helped create, the Kick Drugs Out of American Foundation. At the end of the twentieth century Chuck Norris remained a popular motivational speaker for many Christian ministries.

Bob Burke


Leonard Maltin, Spencer Green, and Luke Sader, Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia (New York: Penguin Books, 1994).

Chuck Norris, The Secret of Inner Strength (New York: Little, Brown Publishing, Inc., 1988).


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Bob Burke, “Norris, Carlos Ray,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=NO009.

Published January 15, 2010

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