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30 Unknown Facts About Charles Bronson – One Of The World’s Most Popular Stars

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Bronson is an American and a television actor, who often portrayed the role of police officer, gunfighter or in revenge oriented plot lines.

  1. He was born on November 3, 1921 in Ehrenfeld, in the coal region of the Allegheny Mountains, Pennsylvania, United States. He was named Charles Dennis Buchinsky. He was the 11th of 15 children to Walter Buchinsky an immigrant and Mary, whose parents were from Lithuanian.
  2. He was the first graduate from his family. He spoke Lithuanian and Russian language before he learnt to speak English as a teenager. His family was in abject poverty throughout his early years. He once went to school wearing his sister’s dress as his family could not afford one for him.
  3. He was forced to work as his father died when he was 10 years. Between the age of sixteen and twenty he worked as coal miner and earned one dollar for every ton of coal he mined. He did odd jobs as mailman, baker and onion picker at various times.
  4. It was “The Red Sun” that made Bronson a huge star in Japan and he even did an ad for Japanese cologne for which he received $ 100,000 for just four days work.
  5. At school he was good at art and will draw on butcher paper or grocery bag or on window with soap. He had an art show on the Beverly Hills and it sold out in two weeks not because he was Bronson, as he signed as Buchinsky.
  6. In 1943, he was enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces and served in the 760th Gunnery Training Squadron. He was awarded Purple Heart for his part in the battle.
  7. Bronson joined a theatrical company in Philadelphia and he later moved to New York and shared a room with Jack Klugman, while aspiring to play on the stage.
  8. In 1949, he went to California and took lessons at the Pasadena Playhouse. In 1951 he made his film debut when he got minor role in the film ‘You are in the Navy Now,’ which starred Gary Cooper. He got the role as he was the only one, who could belch on cue among the auditioning actors.
  9. In 1954, he changed his name from Buchinsky to Bronson, in the midst of McCarthy ‘Red Scare’ at the suggestion of his agent who feared east European surname may damage his career. He made a strong impact in the “Drum Beat,” as murderous ‘Modoc’ warrior, who enjoys wearing the tunic of soldier he kills. He used his new name Bronson in this film for the first time.
  10. Between 1951 and 1958 he appeared in bit roles in various films such as “My Six Convicts,” “Pat and Mike,” “House of Wax,” “Miss Sade Thompson” and “Crime Wave.” He also had a part as Pinto in the film “Riding Shotgun,” a western movie.
  11. He was cast as Luke Welsh in the 1958 movie “Showdown at Boot.” This is the first film in which he received top billing.
  12. He was the lead cast in his own ABC production’s detective series “Man with a Camera” in which he portrayed a combat photographer, Mike Kovac.
  13. His role in the 1960 “Magnificent Seven,” as one of the seven gun fighters, garnered more attention and he became favorite actor of many including Russian singer, Vladimir Vysotsky.
  14. John Sturges the director cast him in the 1963 movie “The Great Escape.” He was cast as a Polish prisoner of war Danny Velinski , nicknamed ‘The Tunnel King’ as in real life he worked in mine in his childhood.
  15. Bronson met and fell in love with David McCallum’s wife, Jill Ireland during the making of the movie “The Great Escape,” and he jokingly told McCallum he was going to steal her from him. In 1967, Ireland and McCallum divorced, and she married Bronson.
  16. In the 1967 film “The Dirty Dozen” he played the Army death row convict sent into suicide mission. He felt the film to be violent and walked out in the middle once.
  17. The 1968 movie “Villa Rides” Bronson and Jill Ireland were cast. It is the first movie to feature real husband and wife. This is also the movie where his trade mark mustache appears.
  18. For the film “Adieu L’Ami” or “Farewell, Friend,” the main cast Alain Delon was impressed with Bronson in the 1958 “Machine-Gun Kelly” and wanted him as a co-star.
  19. Bronson made a name for himself in the European films. The audiences have taken a liking to his minimalist acting style and he starred in several action-oriented films.
  20. The director of 1968 film “Once Upon a Time in the West,” Sergio Leone, had called him “the greatest actor I ever worked with.” Bronson was cast as Harmonica in this film.
  21. He won the Hollywood’s ‘Golden Globe Award’ for best foreign language film category for the 1970 French film “Rider on the Rain.” In 1971, his overseas fame earned him a special Golden Globe Henrietta Award for the ‘World Film Favorite Male actor’ with Sean Connery.
  22. The 1970 Italian film “Citta violent” or the “Violent City” later titled “The Family” is one of the films which brought Bronson his stardom as a leading man from a character actor.
  23. In the 1971 film “Red Sun” Bronson has unique co-stars in the cast. He is an American, with Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune, French actor Alain Delon, Swiss actress Ursula Andress and directed by a British Terence Young. The film was shot in Spain.
  24. He received fame for his role in the 1974 film “Death Wish.” He was 52 years old when this film was made. This movie produced four more sequels.
  25. The 1975 film “Hard Times” with Bronson in lead was made in 38 days, of which the final fight took more than a week to complete. He did most of his own stunts on this picture and was paid US $ 1 million.
  26. Bronson was sixty-one years old when he appeared in the movie “10 to Midnight.” He had plastic surgery to appear young enough to play Leo Kessler.
  27. He was married first to Harriet Tendler, both were budding actors in Philadelphia. They had two children before divorcing in 1965.
  28. On October 5, 1968 he married Jill Ireland, until her death in 1990. They lived in a grand Bel Air mansion, Los Angeles with seven children. They had starred in fourteen films together.
  29. In December 1998, he was married a third time to Kim Weeks, after the death of Jill Ireland due to breast cancer on May 18, 1990.
  30. Bronson retired from acting because of his health. He under-went hip replacement surgery in 1998. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in his final years. He died of pneumonia at the age of 81 on August 30, 2003.

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