Tagged: Norris

October 5th, 2009

Chuck Norris

I’m on stage with Chuck Norris doing an improvisation.  Estelle Harman, our acting coach, likes to throw different personalities together and watch the fireworks.  Chuck is accusing me of stealing his wallet and insists I show him the wallet in my pocket.  I hand him my wallet and he looks in it and says, “It isn’t mine – there’s no money in it.”  Great.  Now every actress/model in class knows I’m broke.  We continue with the improv and as the two of us reach a boiling point Estelle calls, “Cut.”  Saved from an ass whipping by Chuck Norris.  As we got to know each other I learned his story.  I knew he was a karate champion because I had seen his “Chuck Norris Karate Studios” around town.  He told me he was not very good at sports growing up but in the Air Force while in Korea he started taking karate classes.  It was through sheer will power he became a karate champion.

One night while riding up in a hotel elevator he encountered Bruce Lee.  They knew each other by reputation.  Getting out on the same floor they showed each other their respective techniques.  One thing led to another and as I remember Chuck told me the two of them spent the early hours of the morning in the hallway sparring.  When Bruce Lee became famous after “Enter the Dragon” he needed a worthy adversary for his next film, “Return of the Dragon,” and asked Chuck to play his nemesis.  This was Chuck’s introduction to acting.  When Bruce Lee died Chuck felt there was a vacuum he could fill hence he was in acting class.

One day he called and asked me to join him.  He was screening a movie he had made for some investors and would pick me up at my apartment in Hollywood.  I jumped into his Cadillac Seville and we sped off to the screening room he had rented.  The film was called “Breaker Breaker” and Chuck played a karate kicking truck driver.  Every time he would do a karate scene I would hear the investors go ooh and ahh.  In one scene Chuck jumps up and kicks in the windshield of a truck striking the bad guy.  The investors went nuts.  The film ended and the money men left with Chuck thanking each one for coming.  After they left he told me he made the film for $50,000 with the director doubling as the cameraman.  Investors didn’t believe him when he told them he made the film for $50,000 so he started telling potential investors the film was made for $500,000.  That seemed to put everyone at ease.

Chuck was the only person in Hollywood to ever make a phone call on my behalf and get me an audition.  Years later I called over to the house in Palos Verdes and asked him to read a Texas Ranger script I could recommend, written by a friend, Hal Harris.  He liked the script but because he had recently done a film about a Texas Ranger he would have to pass.  This was and is Chuck Norris – All American.