Hollywood Actor Chuck Norris Recalls His Earlier Days as His Mom Turns 102 and How She Worked at Night to Provide Her Sons Good Lives


When his mother celebrated her 102nd birthday on May 4, 2023, action star Chuck Norris wrote a heartwarming message in honor of his mom, who he claims is “so full of life that she might make it another 100 years!” Chuck turned 83 in March, and before her birthday in May, he wrote his mom, Wilma, a touching letter that said, “Mom, I don’t know what’s more difficult to believe: that you are 102 years old or that you have a son who is 83 years old! Regardless, I’m so grateful you are my mom. I always have been. We’ve been through thick and thin in this life, and we are still going strong.”

Wilma’s birthday fell 2 weeks short of Mother’s Day. However, Chuck included 3 women he was very grateful to in his letter. He said, “I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God for three women’s influence in my life. I wouldn’t be the man I am without them.” The 3 women are his grandmother Scarberry (Wilma’s mom), who died at 90, his mother Wilma, and Gina, his wife whom he married in 1998. Chuck and Gina have female twins named Dakota and Danilee, who were born in 2001.

Martial artist and action star Chuck Norris was born Carlos Ray. He is grateful for being the person he is today and credits his mom’s influence, prayers, and steadfast faith. Wilma Norris Knight was born in 1921.

As a child, Chuck Norris’ mother, Wilma, did not live an easy life. She lived through the Great Depression. As a mother living in poverty, she raised her 3 boys as a single mother. Chuck is the eldest son.

When Wilma lived to become a centenarian, Chuck has all praises and gratitude for her. He said, “Mom has been an example of perseverance and faith her whole life. She’s also endured the deaths of her two husbands, a stepson, two grandchildren, and my younger brother Wieland in the Vietnam War. She’s had cancer repeatedly and has undergone roughly 30 different surgeries for various issues – yet she’s still here to tell about it.”

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Wilma appeared on The Mike Huckabee Show in May 2012 and freely told her life story. Describing her 3 sons on the show, Chuck, who she still calls Carlos, was her “defender.” Aaron, Chuck’s younger brother, was her “sunshine,” and Wieland, the youngest, was her “hero.” He died in Vietnam.

Chuck was only 14 years old when his alcoholic father abandoned the family. Chuck then became the “man of the house” and would babysit his brothers while Wilma would work night shifts and run errands to pay the bills.

Despite living a life of difficulties, Wilma instilled values in her sons and taught them to be fighters. “Making us believe that we can achieve things in life, that there will be obstacles, but if you’re determined enough, you can overcome any obstacle in life if you have the belief in yourself,” Chuck Norris said.

Chuck was born in 1940 in a small town in Oklahoma. Growing up, he watched action legends such as John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Hopalong Cassidy. Trying his luck onscreen, Chuck became one of Hollywood’s all-time greatest action stars.

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After graduating high school in 1958, Chuck Norris enlisted with the United States Air Force and joined as an air policeman stationed at Osan Air Base in South Korea. He also planned to train as a security police. However, his time in the Air Force turned his life around for good.

During his time in the Air Force, he learned martial arts skills and earned a black belt in Tang Soo Do, a form of Korean karate. This is where he was given the nickname “Chuck” by his companions.

Chuck was transferred to an air force base in Riverside County, California, after serving in South Korea. He continued to serve as an air policeman until he was discharged in 1962. Then, his rank was airman first class.

He lived in Torrance, California, where he opened a martial arts studio while still on the waiting list to become a police officer. He became successful as a martial artist, and his studios were expanding. In 1968, he won his first title of Karate World Champion and held on to the title for 6 years. He retired in 1974.

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Chuck is fortunate to have met Bruce Lee, an American martial artist and actor, while training some celebrities in his studio. Lee’s impressed by Chuck, and this led to his breakthrough role as Lee’s nemesis in the movie The Way of the Dragon (1972). Chuck’s success in the industry soared due to his incredible agility and strength and garnered thousands of fans after his appearances in lead roles in Breaker! Breaker! (1977) and Good Guys Wear Black (1978).

Wilma visited Chuck on the set of his TV series Walker, Texas Ranger (1993 to 2001). She proudly said of her son, “The greatest that there is… He really is. He was always my sweet one when he was small.”

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In 1990, Chuck discovered that he had a daughter from an affair while he was still married to Dianne Kay Holechek. They divorced in 1989. The woman, named Dina, was born in 1963, and he only learned of her when she mailed a letter to his home. She said, “Mother said you were married, and we shouldn’t interfere with your family.” Initially, Chuck was reluctant to meet the woman. However, he arranged to see her for the first time. When they finally met, he said, “..I look at her, and it’s so amazing because I’m looking at her, and she’s staring at me, and we just sort of gravitate toward each other, and we just went into each other’s arms and started crying.”

Now, Chuck has become a grandfather to 13 and a father of 5. He credits his success as an actor and a good family man to his mother, who he admires and praises.

Here is Wilma’s advice to all parents on raising children, “Give them lots of love. Take them to church and Sunday school. But you see, God didn’t give us our children. He only loaned them to us for a while.”

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Family, friends, and fans hope that Wilma would still have many more years to celebrate!

Images credits: © Chuck Norris @officialchucknorrispage/Facebook, © Michael Norris @iammikenorris/Instagram, and © g r e t a n o r r i s @gretanorris/Instagram


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