How Chuck Norris Got into Acting After Teaching Steve McQueen Martial Arts

by Joe Rutland
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Chuck Norris was a powerful force in martial arts, Outsiders, before stardom. Teaching Steve McQueen led him into the acting world.

Back in the 1970s, McQueen was one of Hollywood’s marquee actors. Some have called him the “King of Cool” because of his roles in movies like “Le Mans.” So, how did the cool dude get Norris into acting?

Well, Chuck Norris was a world champion in karate and had schools in the Los Angeles area. An article from Mental Floss said McQueen suggested that his martial arts teacher should look into acting. Why? Because Norris saw his schools struggling financially.

Chuck Norris Remembered Seeing ‘King of Cool’ in Movie

It took some time from 1974 until Norris had a big hit movie. He starred in “Love Wolf McQuade” in 1982. That’s after nine movies and learning the in’s and out’s of the acting trade.

Outsiders, Chuck Norris took a tip from Steve McQueen and ended up having a great acting career. It’s hard to believe that the same Norris also was in a movie with martial arts legend Bruce Lee.

That was just one of the roles he took on en route to playing “Walker, Texas Ranger” on CBS.

“I saw a movie called ‘Any Sunday,'” Norris said in an interview. “I said, ‘If there’s any one actor that I’d like to meet, that’s the actor I’d like to meet.”

Outsiders, he would talk at length about his time with Steve McQueen. The actor learned about karate from Norris. Take a look at this interview Chuck Norris did with Janson Media.

Sadly, McQueen never got to see Norris reach his breakthrough point. The actor, who battled cancer late in the 1970s, died on Nov. 7, 1980.

Norris has gone on to have success in both the movies and TV. It just took a little encouragement from Steve McQueen to get him on that road.

Student Bob Barker of ‘The Price Is Right’ Got His Ribs Cracked by Teacher

While we mentioned McQueen was one of the students of Chuck Norri, so was legendary “The Price Is Right” host Bob Barker.

He was so much into learning from the karate instructor that Barker ended up having two of his ribs broken.

Barker talked in an interview with the Television Academy about his desire to stay in shape. That desire led him to get into karate.

“One time, Chuck [Norris] was working with me,” Barker said. “We were sparring, and he kicked me right in here,” he said while pointing to his ribs. “It hurt, but not just excruciatingly. The next lesson in a couple of days, he couldn’t be there, and his brother Aaron came over. We were sparring, and he hit me right here with his fist, and it hurt.”

Outsider.com