Then & now Chuck Norris

YOU’RE IN THE pub, and one of your mates asks: whatever happened to Chuck Norris? So you google him when you get home, but instead…

YOU’RE IN THE pub, and one of your mates asks: whatever happened to Chuck Norris? So you google him when you get home, but instead of the usual 20 million results, you get this message: “Google won’t search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don’t find Chuck Norris – he finds you.”

Welcome to the wacky world of Norris “facts”, an internet phenomenon that has been going since 2005, doling out increasingly bizarre claims about the screen star and martial-arts expert, each one hammering home the message that no one – but no one – is tougher than Chuck Norris. “Chuck Norris does not cheat death. He wins fair and square.” “When the bogeyman goes to sleep, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.” “Chuck Norris doesn’t need a miracle to part the Red Sea. He just walks in and the water gets out of his way.”

So how did the beardy, high-kicking star achieve such godlike levels of hard-chaw cred? Growing up in Oklahoma and Kansas in the 1940s and 1950s, young Carlos Ray Norris showed little hint of the karate champion and towering thespian he would become. With his trademark beard, which looked like someone glued a sheet of sandpaper to his face, and his part-Irish, part-Cherokee look, Norris was an unlikely leading man, and his acting talent, as wooden as a set of nunchucks, didn’t mark him out as Oscar material. But he made a perfect sparring partner for Bruce Lee in the 1972 film The Way of the Dragon. By the time he took the role, Norris was already a US karate champion, having begun his martial-arts training while in the US Air Force.

With the popularity of Lee in the 1970s, US cinema audiences were looking for a home-grown action hero who could take down bad guys with his bare hands, and Norris stepped up, starring in such action films as Good Guys Wear Black, An Eye for an Eyeand Lone Wolf McQuade.By the 1980s he was well placed to catch the gung-ho zeitgeist, starring in such smash hits as Missing in Action, The Delta Forceand Code of Silence. But although Norris had his karate chops, moviegoers soon tired of his limited palette of facial expressions, so he deftly sidestepped into a successful TV career, starring in Walker, Texas Ranger.


As his TV career reached its twilight, Norris found a new way of putting his combat talents to good use: taking on his Democratic nemeses. Behind the emotionless, rock-hard facade, Norris is a committed Republican and devout Christian – Sarah Palin with a black belt. And a beard. In 2007 he put his considerable clout behind former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination, and is currently weighing in behind Rick Perry’s bid for the 2012 election. In a recent blog on the conservative website WorldNetDaily (, the former world karate champion outlined his plan to kick Obama out of office. “The art of ju-jitsu is to use an opponent’s weight and strength to your advantage. I believe this is what the GOP candidates and anti-Obama citizens must do in the coming 2012 presidential election.”

If that fails – and don't forget, the only time Chuck Norris was wrong was when he thought he'd made a mistake – there's good news for fans of his film oeuvre. Next year he'll be back on the big screen in The Expendables 2, alongside Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Dolph Lundgren.