Action icon and all-around legendary guy Chuck Norris is celebrating his 80th birthday today… Or maybe his birthday is celebrating him.
Born Carlos Ray Norris in Ryan, Oklahoma, the famous martial artist and film producer had a surprisingly melancholy childhood. His father was a drunk who would often put his family in financial crisis, causing Norris to exhibit introverted tendencies throughout his younger years – obviously a stark contrast from his action-packed career as a no-nonsense ass-kicker later in life. He picked up the nickname “Chuck” while serving in the United States Air Force where he began studying martial arts and soon started teaching karate. He eventually became the first ever westerner to earn the rank of 8th-degree black belt in taekwondo.
In 1972, Norris earned himself a long-term spot in Hollywood when he starred as Bruce Lee’s nemesis in The Way of the Dragon, which went on to be Hong Kong’s highest-grossing film of the year. This helped him to score roles in major movies of the time, such as A Force of One, The Octagon, Sidekicks and Top Dog. By the mid-80s, he was a certified Hollywood action star alongside such names as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, leading him on the path to his highly-successful television series Walker, Texas Ranger in 1993.
Fans flocked to Twitter today to celebrate Norris’ birthday, with the below Tweets representing just a sample of what folks are saying:
You can't take a photo of @ChuckNorris because the only photo that'll come out is of his shoe just before he roundhouse kicks you in the face… but I'm Machete. Happy Birthday Chuck! pic.twitter.com/cqQZDpejgL
— Danny Trejo (@officialDannyT) March 10, 2020
Chuck Norris counted to infinity. Twice.
Chuck Norris makes onions cry.
Chuck Norris beat the sun in a staring contest.
And today, Chuck Norris turns 80 years old ? pic.twitter.com/dVINEnE7GC
— SportsNation (@SportsNation) March 10, 2020
Chuck Norris is 80! pic.twitter.com/06dHuWOId3
— KBTX News (@KBTXNews) March 10, 2020
Happy 80th birthday to the inventor of Action Jeans, CHUCK NORRIS. pic.twitter.com/bMgGBEmveH
— Darrell Epp (@DarrellEpp) March 10, 2020
— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) March 10, 2020
— Ryan Cody (@RyanThomasCody) March 10, 2020
If Chuck Norris wanted you to wish him a Happy 80th Birthday today, he would beat that greeting right out of you. ?? pic.twitter.com/iR6HAQlu3i
— Marshall Julius (@MarshallJulius) March 10, 2020
Happy 80th birthday to #ChuckNorris , who …
Can light a fire by rubbing two ice cubes together.
Can cut through a hot knife with butter.
Has a grizzly bear carpet. It's not dead, just afraid to move.
Is the reason Waldo is hiding.
Also … pic.twitter.com/EuFCyClpGX
— Jeff Cook (@jeffvcook) March 10, 2020
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Of course, in more recent times, the internet has immortalized Norris with exaggerated “facts” and jokes about his toughness and masculinity, further expanding on the already incredible legacy of the star. His appearances in films began to wane by the 2000s, though he did show up in The Expendables 2, a film he tried to demand be PG-13. He failed to get his way, though, which might help explain why he didn’t make an appearance in the third flick in the series.
More recently, Norris has starred in a handful of commercials for companies like QuikTrip and Toyota. At 80 years of age, it’s hard to blame him for settling down. He could probably still strangle you with a cordless phone, though.
Happy birthday, Chuck Norris!