Chuck Norris is an actor, martial artist, screenwriter, and film producer. He is best known for his roles in action movies, but he is also well-known for establishing his own martial arts fighting school. Due to his success in the film industry, Chuck Norris has accrued a large wealth. As of 2019, Norris is believed to have an estimated personal net worth of $70 million. So, how did this multi-talented man get so rich? Carlos Ray Norris, known professionally as Chuck Norris, was born in Ryan, Oklahoma on March 10, 1940. He grew up there with his parents and two younger brothers until his parents divorced when he was 16. As a child, he was not athletic and he was a shy boy, so he showed no signs of a successful future in either martial arts or acting.
It was only after he joined the United States Air Force in 1958 that he developed an interest in the martial arts as he was posted to South Korea. After he was discharged from the United States Air Force in 1962, he began entering martial arts competitions. He went on to become a two-time winner of the S. Henry Cho All American Championship and he held the Professional Middleweight Karate champion title for six consecutive years. He won the Black Belt magazine fighter of the year award in 1969 and the karate triple crown in the same year. This success led to him opening a chain of karate schools in his hometown, and he had many celebrity clients.
Norris decided to try his hand at acting, and he made his film debut in the 1969 Dean Martin film ‘The Wrecking Crew. His next film was ‘Way of the Dragon’, which starred Bruce Lee, in 1972. This was the highest grossing film in Hong Kong that year, and it launched Chuck Norris to stardom. Steve McQueen was one of Norris’ students, and he encouraged Norris to take acting lessons to help him establish himself as an actor in the United States. This certainly helped as he landed the role of the main antagonist in the 1974 film ‘Yellow Faced Tiger’. Although he is a martial arts expert, Norris decided that he wanted to act in roles in action movies that had more of a storyline.
His first starring role was in the action trucking film ‘Breaker! Breaker!’ which was released in 1977 and was commercially successful even though it had been made on a low budget. The following year, he starred in the horror film ‘Good Guy Wears Black’. They were unable to find a studio willing to release it, so Norris and the film’s producers rented the theaters themselves. Although the film was made on a budget of only $1 million and there was no studio support, the film grossed over $18 million at the box office. Throughout the Late 70s and early 80s, Norris became well-established as an action movie star. Some of the films in which he starred during this period included ‘A Force of One’. ‘The Octagon’, ‘An Eye for an Eye’, ‘Silent Rage’, Forced Vengeance’, and ‘Lone Wolf McQuade’. The latter was the inspiration for the TV show in which Norris later starred ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’.
During the 1980s, Norris achieved success as an actor in mainstream films. He starred in the ‘Missing in Action’ series of films. Other films in which he starred at this time included ‘Invasion USA’, ‘Code of Silence’, ‘Delta Force’, ‘Firewalker’, Braddock: Missing in Action III’, and ‘Hero and the Terror’. By this time, he was recognized as a talented actor who was versatile and could take on a variety of roles.
The actor’s success continued into the 1990s, and it is during this decade that he made some of his most successfully commercial films. Some of the films in which he starred during the 90s included ‘Delta Force 2: The Columbian Connection’, ‘The Hitman’, ‘Sidekicks’, ‘Top Dog’, ‘Logan’s War: Bound by Honor’, and ‘Forest Warrior’. It was also in this decade that his television series ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’. Now, Norris continues to work as an actor. His most recent feature film was the 2012 animation ‘The Expendables 2’, for which he provided the voice of Booker ‘The Lone Wolf’.
According to sources, Chuck Norris now has an estimated personal net worth of $70 million. This is predominantly as a result of his work as a martial artist and his acting career. However, he has also made some money from other ventures. Another way that Chuck Norris made his fortune was writing books. Norris wrote his first book ‘Winning Tournament Karate’ in 1975. His second book, ‘Toughen Up! The Chuck Norris Fitness System’ was published in 1983. In 1987, he published the book ‘The Secret of Inner Strength: My Story’. In total, Norris has had nine books released A further way that Norris has made money is by appearing in a long-running series of infomercials for ‘Total Gym’ fitness equipment. He has done these alongside Christine Brinkley since 1997. Furthermore, he has had a successful Internet series since 2005, and he has provided his voice for several video games.
In his personal life, Chuck Norris has been married twice and has five children. His first wife was Dianne Kay Holecheck, to whom he was married from 1958 to 1989. Their first son, Mike, was born in 1962. He is now an actor like his father. Their second son Eric, who is now a professional stock car racing driver, was born in 1964. In 1990, Norris met his estranged daughter, who had been born in 1963 following an extramarital affair.
Norris married second wife Gena O’Kelley in 1998. She already had two children when they met, and she went on to give birth to their twins. He now enjoys his fortune with his family at his luxurious home in Navasota, Texas.
Written by Liz Flynn
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