Chuck Norris -- Actor, Director, Cult Icon

It's a frequent joke on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," and in the recent movie "Talladega Nights," Will Ferrell's character, Ricky Bobby, named his two sons Walker and Texas Ranger.

The show "Walker, Texas Ranger" ran eight seasons, but his character has achieved syndication immortality. The late-night reruns are regular dormitory fare in an era when Orlando Bloom is considered an "action hero."

A Campus Phenomenon

When an 18-year-old freshman at Brown University created the first Chuck Norris "fact generator," the response was overwhelming.

"Overall, we've gotten about 140, 150 million hits," Ian Spector, now a sophomore says. "There was students in universities, there are people in jobs where they are bored, and there are people in the military, and then there's just everyone else who I just can't figure out....In Poland, for instance, I think in around April or so of this year, as far as search queries go, on the Internet, number two was Chuck Norris, number one was Bird Flu."

One floor of a dorm at the University of Texas is devoted to all things Chuck. The students there seem to worship him.

"He's like this elevated superstar, badass, bucking, kicking dude, but he's also a good, nice, normal guy," Johnna Andiorio says.

"As a kid, I grew up thinking we won Vietnam because of his movies," Tiger Scheu says.

Though many indulge an ironic appreciation of Norris, there is a genuine respect here.

"He actually brings us together. We really enjoy watching his show," Sean Foster says. "We sit down and be quiet and watch his show."

At Camp Victory in Baghdad, trading Norris facts is called "upchucking." Odes to his prowess have been scrawled inside latrines there.

"If we brought Chuck Norris over here, the war would end a lot sooner," SFC Stephan Battiest, who is based at Camp Liberty, joked. "Send us home."

"Well, you know, I'm the spiritual leader of about eight platoons over there, and that's a real compliment," Norris says. "One particular group, I'm their icon ... I'm on their weapons.

From Roundhouse to Charity

He is also the icon of the World Combat League, which has teams in eight major American cities. Kicking and punching as a team sport was his idea, and all profits go toward his real passion: teaching martial arts to inner city kids across the country.

"I've graduated 40,000 over the last 13 years and many of these kids, going on to college and becoming successful in their own right," Norris says. "And if they were here right now, they would say to you it's because of this program that I'm not in prison or dead today."

Some might question Norris's efforts to teach violence to young people -- isn't that the worst possible thing you could teach them?

"You would think so, but actually it is just the opposite," Norris says. "It's the bullies who are afraid, are the ones that do all the fighting. It's not the secure kids that get out there and fight. It's the insecure kids. And when you develop that security in these youngsters and all of a sudden they have no reason to fight... This is to me the most gratifying thing I've ever been able to do."

Norris is now 66 years old -- or, as he says, "39 with 27 years experience."

According to the Chuck Norris fact generator, "Chuck Norris does not age. He roundhouse kicks time in the face."

"Yep, that's what I do," Norris says. "Actually, that's what I do."

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