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Richard Norton Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (10) | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 6 January 1950Australia
Nickname King Richard; Richard the Lionhearted
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (2)

A powerful screen presence, Richard Norton wins the applause of international audiences with his engaging ability to play either the hero or the heavy. Rare versatility and focused work ethic have enabled him to build an expanding library of almost 100 film and television titles. The disciplines that brought Norton success originated in his hometown of Croydon, Australia, and his early fascination with martial arts. By age 17 he was a karate black belt working security for nightclubs and serving as chief instructor to 500 karate schools nationwide. He landed a job as bodyguard to The Rolling Stones during the band's Australian tour and experienced his first brush with the demands of global celebrity. Norton trained with Mick Jagger in 4:00 a.m. workouts after concerts. His competency attracted a dazzling roster of other rock star clientèle including James Taylor, ABBA, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie and Linda Ronstadt, who invited him to California as her bodyguard. Before Aussies invaded Hollywood in posses, Norton ventured there alone. A friendship with Chuck Norris brought him work in motion pictures. Norris cast Norton as the lethal Kyo, a masked ninja, in The Octagon (1980), and their grueling final combat endures as a classic cinematic fight scene. Director Robert Clouse chose Norton to be one of the ensemble heroes in Force: Five (1981), an international hit, and the young martial artist's career in movies took off. His reputation for stellar performances emerged largely from high-energy Hong Kong films directed by Sammo Kam-Bo Hung and starring Jackie Chan in the mid-'80s. Muscular charisma made Norton the perfect Anglo bad boy for My Lucky Stars 2: Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars (1985) and Shanghai Express (1986). Taking the hits of his screen adversaries in those films earned Norton more Hong Kong work and, notably, Chan's abiding respect. Richard calls Jackie "the maestro of martial arts movies." Jackie has returned the compliment by recruiting Norton as one of just two Western actors to perform in several of his Hong Kong-based productions, including the comedic cult favorite Cheng shi nu lie ren (1993) and the darker Mr. Nice Guy (1997), directed by Hung. Hung encouraged Norton to play the "Guy" nemesis, a well-heeled gangster, with eccentric edginess. Norton embraced the direction and delivered one of the best co-starring performances in all of Chan's films. The success of Norton's Hong Kong work made him an established star in action films and a frequent cover subject for global martial arts and movie magazines. His collaborations with Cynthia Rothrock catapulted them to a level of fame that inspired a British magazine to deem them the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of martial arts movies. The recurring partners produced two Rage and Honor (1992) movies, besides co-starring in China O'Brien (1990) and Lady Dragon (1992), among other titles. They reunited for Redemption (2002) with 'Don 'The Dragon' Wilson'. Norton nurtured his leading man status in crime dramas, MIA pictures and futuristic adventures that often featured his real-life training partners in supporting roles, such as Chuck Jeffreys in Rage (1994) and Benny Urquidez in The Fighter (1989). With standout performances in Sword of the Bushido (1990) and Under the Gun (1995), Norton displayed his attraction to heroes with dimensions, even flaws, that force them into action. His style of action incorporates the humor essential to humanizing a hero. It is the dark comedy in Mind Games (2003), directed by Adrian Carr, that enables Norton to triumph in another well-textured role as a suspicious Texan, demonstrating that he takes risks as an actor who ventures beyond action genres. Norton's credits behind the camera have become as diverse as his screen roles. Apart from acting and producing, he is a sought-after stunt/fight coordinator, choreographing action in films such as Nomad: The Warrior (2005), produced by Milos Forman, and Devil's Pond (2003), with Tara Reid and Kip Pardue. Despite a busy career, he continues to achieve black belts in the martial arts, always a motivating force for Norton's accomplishments

- IMDb Mini Biography By: William Gantt

Richard Norton's big screen appeal was undeniable when he debuted as the menacing assassin Kyo in "The Octagon" (1980), even though the character remained cloaked by a ninja mask. In the recent "Under a Red Moon" (2008), the Melbourne native plays a hardline judge who unravels when his son succumbs to drug addiction. The formidable Kyo of "Octagon" and the emotional father of "Red Moon" provide contrasts in the portrait of an actor who defies any notion of categories or limitations on his talents. With a vast resume of international films and television series as an actor, a producer and a stunt choreographer, Richard does not rest in the comfort of past achievements. He looks for the next challenge.

Richard took an unconventional path to stardom. He began a lifelong study of the martial arts at age 14. By 17, the accomplished martial artist worked security at night clubs and taught karate in 500 schools throughout Australia. He became a bodyguard for touring rock stars such as Mick Jagger, James Taylor, and ABBA. With encouragement from Linda Ronstadt, Richard went to Hollywood where Chuck Norris offered him work in the movies, beginning with "The Octagon" (1980). His next starring role in "Force Five" (1981) caught the attention of Jackie Chan.

Jackie Chan has cast Richard as the star heavy in three of his highly charged Hong Kong action epics, still a record for a western actor. In "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars" (1985) and "City Hunter" (1993), Richard displayed his talent for physical comedy and proved his ability to fill the shoes of Chan's screen adversaries. Director Sammo Hung unleashed Richard to depict the villain of "Mr. Nice Guy" (1997) with eccentric edginess, adding more intensity than usual to one of Chan's comedies. "USA Today" took notice and declared Richard as one of the best evildoers in all the Chan films.

During the production of Hung's "Millionaires' Express" (1986) in Asia, Richard bonded with cast member and fellow martial arts star Cynthia Rothrock. Afterwards Norton and Rothrock became a renowned marquee partnership for action films around the world, prompting a British magazine to acclaim them as the "Fred and Ginger of martial arts movies." Together Richard and Cynthia produced the entertaining "Rage and Honor" (1992) series while Richard developed his individual screen persona as both a lead actor and valued ensemble player.

Richard's unique style of magnetic screen villainy attracts cult support for "Gymkata" (1985) today. He introduced audiences for martial arts films to another unique concept: the multi-dimensional hero. His lead performances in overseas action productions of the Eighties with limited budgets, notably "Not Another Mistake" (1988) and "Sword of Bushido" (1989) enabled these movies to rise above their financial constraints and excel dramatically. Richard's heroes are consistently burdened with consciences that make them vulnerable. He also uses vulnerability as a trait to reduce his screen villains to their comeuppances, as exemplified by the reckless narcissism of the drug tycoon in "Road House 2: Last Call" (2006).

"Under The Gun" (1995) may be considered a defining movie for Richard Norton as both actor and craftsman. Again under the stress of a low budget, Richard guided the film to dramatic success as its star, producer, and fight choreographer. "Under The Gun" depicts one harrowing night in the life of its flawed hero with the humor and intelligence rarely accomplished even in big budget action films with expansive sets. The movie also reflects another effective collaboration of the star with an able supporting cast.

Collaboration has been a cornerstone theme of Richard's ever-expanding career. As he continues to create memorable characters on screen, Richard contributes his diverse skills behind the camera to worldwide productions. He was the fight coordinator for "The Condemned" (2007) and "Nomad" (2005). His talents and work ethic won the applause of a capacity crowd of fans and friends who assembled at the Hotel Bel-Air in 2005 to celebrate his twenty-fifth year in the movies. The milestone is only a first chapter for the martial artist from Melbourne who once told a reporter, "When I look back on my own evolution and journey, I can only get excited at what the future holds."

- IMDb Mini Biography By: William Gantt

Spouse (1)

Judy Green (1993 - present)

Trivia (10)

Accomplished martial artist
Trained gold medalist Kurt Thomas in martial arts for their film together, Gymkata (1985), and worked as one of the movie's fight choreographers.
Linda Ronstadt is one of the rock music stars who encouraged him to pursue work as an actor in the movies.
Did extensive television work in the 1990s as guest star, second unit director and stunt coordinator on the syndicated series The New Adventures of Robin Hood (1997).
Recently received his Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under instructor Jean Jacques Machado.
He directs his signature line, "Painful?", in his early films to fight opponents downed by his punch including Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, his co-star and director in several Hong Kong-based productions.
He lost 18 pounds while shooting a fight scene with Sammo Kam-Bo Hung that took three weeks to complete in My Lucky Stars 2: Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars (1985), aka "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars".
Norton was a former bodyguard for Rod Stewart, James Taylor, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and other famous personalities.
Fighting Stars Magazine ranked Norton's climactic fight with Chuck Norris in The Octagon (1980) as #13 on its list of the 25 greatest fight scenes of all time.
Has a twin sister named Pamela, and an older brother named Adrian.

Personal Quotes (5)

In 1979 I was offered a job doing security on a U.S. tour with Linda Ronstadt as her personal bodyguard and trainer. So I went out to Southern California. I told everybody in Australia I'd be back in a month and 20 years later I'm still here.
I realized long ago that life is all about the journey and not about the destination. The moment you think you know it all you stagnate and die. Life and the arts are all about bodies in motion.
I will always strive to be a student of the arts and of life in general and just keep searching.
Many of the friends I've made through my training have turned out to be some of the most influential people in my life and are just like family to me. Because when you get right down to it, when you really think about it, the only thing that really matters in life is your honor and integrity and the relationship and love of your wife, family and friends.
Everything great that has happened in my life, like traveling the world as a rock and roll bodyguard and doing martial arts movies, has come as a result of just wanting to be the best martial artist possible.

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