(Gray News) - Actor Chuck Norris is celebrating his 80th birthday Tuesday.
Born Carlos Ray Norris in 1940, he would get his nickname while serving in the Air Force as an 18-year-old.
While stationed at the Osan Air Base in South Korea, he began studying martial arts. He left the service in 1962 and started working as a karate instructor. Norris was the first westerner ever to hold the rank of 8th-degree black belt in taekwondo.
It was in 1972 when Norris got his big break in the martial arts film “The Way of the Dragon,” where he and Bruce Lee had their iconic fight scene in the Roman Colosseum.
Audiences enjoy seeing Norris fight justice against the bad guys. He has appeared in many films including “Good Guys Wear Black,” “Forced Vengeance,” “Code of Silence,” and “The Delta Force.”
Norris also starred in the hit 90s CBS television “Walker, Texas Ranger.” The show ran for eight seasons.
Norris has been a longtime supporter of numerous charities, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the United Way. Norris started his own charitable organization called Kickstart Kids. The purpose of Kickstart is to teach “...character through karate to empower youth with core values, such as discipline and respect, to achieve their greatest potential.”