Hollywood legend Chuck Norris praised his 100-year-old mother ahead of Mother’s Day for the profound, faith-filled influence she has on his life.
“My mother has prayed for me all my life, through thick and thin. When I was born, I almost died from complications. When nearly losing my soul to Hollywood a few decades ago, she was back home praying for my success and salvation. She even prayed for me to find a woman to change my life, and it worked,” Norris said.
Norris shared some of his mother’s biographical information to highlight the seemingly insurmountable challenges she overcame:
My mom, Wilma Norris Knight, was born in 1921 in rural Wilson, Oklahoma, where I grew up, too. I think its population peaked back then with a whopping 1,800 people.
My mom had a very difficult first half of her life. She was raised in abject poverty, and she was given away as a ward of the state when she was only 8 years old. She was treated for two years for a rare disease, living away from the family in a children’s hospital.
When she returned healthy a few years later, she lived through the Great Depression. Her entire family – including the young kids – used to pick cotton in fields just to survive. When done picking one field, they’d often move to another town to pick another field. There was nothing easy about life in the Dust Bowl, especially during the decade of the Great Depression.
Mom married my father at 16 years of age but was abandoned to raise her three boys all alone. I was the eldest, and often had to assume the roles of my absent father. We were as poor as church mice, but that’s what also prepared me to overcome the obstacles of this life.
Mom has been an example of perseverance and faith her whole life. She is the last survivor of her 11-member biological family. 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 gone through roughly 30 different surgeries for a host of issues – and yet she’s still here to tell about it. (Her inspirational and only official autobiography, “Acts of Kindness: My Story,” is available through Amazon.)
Norris’ mother celebrated her centennial birthday just ahead of Mother’s Day this year.
Norris has been a friend of Movieguide® for years and attended the Movieguide® Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry. In 2000, Chuck Norris took the Grace Prize® for Television, for his role in the “A Matter of Faith” episode of WALKER, TEXAS RANGER.
“Being Christians, we do everything we can to support the Christian community and the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards,” Norris said.
“You have to go with your faith,” Norris said of being a Christian in Hollywood. “You have to go with your beliefs and your convictions. I’ve been a conservative all this time, but I respect other people’s point of view. Most of my boss’s points of view were different, but we respected each other. We agreed to disagree.”
MOVIEGUIDE® interviews with top filmmakers and actors to hear about different faith themes in major Hollywood projects too. Some popular names include: Robert Duvall, Laura Dern, Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie, Bruce Willis, Jerry Bruckheimer, Johnny Depp, Steven Spielberg and others.