Charles Bronson Biography

Name at birth: Charles Buchinsky (Buchinski)

Movie star Charles Bronson is best known for starring in a run of urban crime dramas in the 1970s, including The Mechanic (1972), Mr. Majestyk (1974) and the original Death Wish (1974). Raised in the coal-mining region of Pennsylvania, he served in the United States Air Force during World War II, then ended up in California to study art and work as an actor. During the early 1950s he worked in television and movies, typecast as a tough-guy because of his craggy features and muscular build. By the 1960s his roles were bigger and so were the movies in which he appeared, including The Magnificent Seven (1960, with James Coburn), Kid Galahad (1962, starring Elvis), The Great Escape (1963, with Steve McQueen) and The Dirty Dozen (1967, starring Lee Marvin). Then Charles Bronson went to Europe to make movies and became an international star; the Italians called him "Il Brutto" and the French called him "le Monstre Sacré." During the 1970s and '80s he was a top box-office draw in the U.S. and Europe, appearing in two or three action movies a year. By the mid-1990s his appearances were few and far between as his health deteriorated. His films include the original House of Wax (1953), Machine-Gun Kelly (1958, a Roger Corman movie), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968, starring Henry Fonda), The Valachi Papers (1972) and Hard Times (1975).

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Charles Bronson was married to Jill Ireland, a co-star in many of his films, from 1968 until her death in 1990. Ireland had been previously married to David McCallum, Bronson's co-star from The Great Escape... Bronson was married two other times: to Harrier Tendler (from 1949 until their divorce in 1967) and to Kim Weeks (from 1998 until his death in 2003).

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