Charles Bronson (1921 - 2003)

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Charles Bronson
1921 - 2003
November 3, 1921
Ehrenfeld, Cambria County, Pennsylvania United States 15956
August 30, 2003
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California United States
Other Names
Charles Dennis Buchinsky
Charles Bronson was born on November 3, 1921 in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania. He died on August 30, 2003 in Los Angeles, California at 81 years of age.
Updated: April 22, 2020
Charles Bronson
Born Charles Dennis Buchinsky November 3, 1921 Died August 30, 2003 (aged 81) Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, Years active 1950–1999
Spouse(s) Harriett Tendler (m. 1949; div. 1965) Jill Ireland (m. 1968; died 1990) Kim Weeks (m. 1998)
Children 4
Charles Bronson (born Charles Dennis Buchinsky; Lithuanian: Karolis Dionyzas Bučinskis; November 3, 1921 – August 30, 2003) was an American actor. He was often cast in the role of a police officer, gunfighter, or vigilante in revenge-oriented plot lines, had long-term collaborations with film directors Michael Winner and J. Lee Thompson, and appeared in fifteen films with his second wife Jill Ireland.
At the height of his fame in the early 1970s, he was the world's No. 1 box office attraction, commanding $1 million per film.
Early life and war service
Bronson was born Charles Dennis Buchinsky, the eleventh of fifteen children, into a Roman Catholic family of Lithuanian descent in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, in the coal region of the Allegheny Mountains north of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
His father, Valteris P. Bučinskis, who later adjusted his name to Walter Buchinsky to sound more "American", was from Druskininkai in southern Lithuania. Bronson's mother, Mary (née Valinsky), whose parents were from Lithuania, was born in the coal mining town of Tamaqua, Pennsylvania.
Bronson learned to speak English when he was a teenager; before that, he spoke Lithuanian and Russian.
In a 1973 interview, Bronson said that he did not know his father very well and "I'm not even sure if I loved him or hated him." He said that all he could remember was that when his mother said that his father was coming home, the children would hide.
Bronson was the first member of his family to graduate from high school. When Bronson was 10 years old, his father died and he went to work in the coal mines, first in the mining office and then in the mine. He later said he earned one dollar for each ton of coal that he mined. In another interview, he said that he had to work double shifts to earn $1 a week. Bronson later recounted that he and his brother engaged in dangerous work removing "stumps" between the mines, and that cave-ins were common.
The family suffered extreme poverty during the Great Depression, and Bronson recalled going hungry many times. His mother could not afford milk for his younger sister, so she was fed warm tea instead. His family was so poor that he once had to wear his sister's dress to school for lack of clothing.
He worked in the mine until he entered military service during World War II.

Acting career
Acting training (1946–1951)
After the end of World War II, Bronson worked at many odd jobs until joining a theatrical group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He later shared an apartment in New York City with Jack Klugman while both were aspiring to play on the stage. In 1950, he married and moved to Hollywood, where he enrolled in acting classes and began to find small roles.[citation needed]
Early film roles (1951–1954)
Bronson's first film role — an uncredited one — was as a sailor in You're in the Navy Now in 1951, directed by Henry Hathaway. Other early screen appearances were in The Mob (1951); The People Against O'Hara (1951), directed by John Sturges; Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952); Battle Zone (1952); Pat and Mike (1952), as a boxer and mob enforcer; Diplomatic Courier (1952), another for Hathaway; My Six Convicts (1952); The Marrying Kind (1952); and Red Skies of Montana (1952).
In 1952, Bronson boxed in a ring with Roy Rogers in Rogers' show Knockout. He appeared on an episode of The Red Skelton Show as a boxer in a skit with Skelton playing "Cauliflower McPugg". He appeared with fellow guest star Lee Marvin in an episode of Biff Baker, U.S.A., an espionage series on CBS starring Alan Hale, Jr.
He had small roles in Miss Sadie Thompson (1953); House of Wax (1953), directed by Andre DeToth; The Clown (1953); Torpedo Alley (1953); and Riding Shotgun, starring Randolph Scott, directed by DeToth again.
Bronson had a notable support part as an Indian in Apache (1954) for director Robert Aldrich who then used him again in Vera Cruz (1954). Bronson then made a strong impact as the main villain in the Alan Ladd western Drum Beat as a murderous Modoc warrior, Captain Jack (based on a real person), who relishes wearing the tunics of soldiers he has killed.
He had roles in Tennessee Champ (1954) for MGM, and Crime Wave (1954) directed by de Toth.
In 1954, during the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) proceedings, he changed his surname from Buchinsky to Bronson at the suggestion of his agent, who feared that an Eastern European surname might damage his career.
As "Charles Bronson" (1955–1958)
As "Charles Bronson", he could be seen in Target Zero (1955), Big House, U.S.A. (1955), and Jubal (1956).
Bronson had the lead role of the episode "The Apache Kid" of the syndicated crime drama Sheriff of Cochise, starring John Bromfield; Bronson was subsequently cast twice in 1959 after the series was renamed U.S. Marshal.
He guest-starred in the short-lived CBS situation comedy, Hey, Jeannie! and in three episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "And So Died Riabouchinska" (1956), "There Was an Old Woman" (1956), and "The Woman Who Wanted to Live" (1962).
In 1957, Bronson was cast in the Western series Colt .45 as an outlaw named Danny Arnold in the episode "Young Gun". He had a support role in Sam Fuller's Run of the Arrow (1957).
In 1958 Bronson appeared as Butch Cassidy on the TV western Tales of Wells Fargo in the episode titled "Butch Cassidy."
Leading man (1958–1960)
Bronson scored the lead in his own ABC's detective series Man with a Camera (1958–1960), in which he portrayed Mike Kovac, a former combat photographer freelancing in New York City.[23]
He was cast in leading man roles in some low budget films, notably, Machine-Gun Kelly (1958), a biopic of a real life gangster directed by Roger Corman. He also starred in Gang War (1958), When Hell Broke Loose (1958), and Showdown at Boot Hill (1959).
On television, he played Steve Ogrodowski, a naval intelligence officer, in two episodes of the CBS military sitcom/drama, Hennesey, starring Jackie Cooper, and he played Rogue Donovan, an escaped murderer in Yancy Derringer (episode: "Hell and High Water"). Bronson starred alongside Elizabeth Montgomery in a Twilight Zone episode ("Two"; 1961). He appeared in five episodes of Richard Boone's Have Gun – Will Travel (1957–63).
Bronson had a support role in an expensive war film, Never So Few (1959), directed by John Sturges. Bronson was cast in the 1960 episode "Zigzag" of Riverboat, starring Darren McGavin. That same year, he was cast as "Dutch Malkin" in the 1960 episode "The Generous Politician" of The Islanders. In 1960 Bronson appeared as Frank Buckley in the TV western Laramie in the episode titled "Street of Hate."
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Charles Bronson
Most commonly known as
Charles Bronson
Full name
Charles Dennis Buchinsky
Other names or aliases
Charles Bronson was born on in Ehrenfeld, Cambria County, Pennsylvania United States 15956
Charles Bronson died on in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California United States
Charles Bronson was born on in Ehrenfeld, Cambria County, Pennsylvania United States 15956
Charles Bronson died on in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California United States


"I am not a Casper Milquetoast," he told "The Washington Post" in 1985, recalling the time he was visiting Rome and felt someone stick a gun in his side. "A guy in broken English asked me for money. I said, 'You give ME money.' He turned around and walked away.".
John Huston once summed him up as "a grenade with the pin pulled".
Was by all accounts a very quiet and introspective collaborator, often sitting in a corner for much of a shoot and listening to a director's instructions and not saying a word until cameras were rolling. Don Siegel, who directed him in Telefon (1977), and Tom Gries, who directed him in Breakheart Pass (1975), both commented on how surprised they were to discover how thoroughly and completely prepared Bronson was when he came to work, as it didn't seem to fit his "laid-back", taciturn image.
He grew privately frustrated by the declining quality and range of roles over his career, being pigeonholed as a violent vigilante after the commercial success of Death Wish (1974). His own favorite of his "vigilante" movies was Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).
He was considered for Jeff Bridges' role in Blown Away (1994).
His father died when he was 10, and at 16 he followed his brothers into the mines to support the family. He was paid $1 per ton of coal and volunteered for perilous jobs because the pay was better.
Called West Windsor, VT, his home for more than three decades (Bronson Farm), and was buried in nearby Brownsville Cemetery, near the foot of Mt. Ascutney.
Appeared with Steve McQueen and James Coburn in two films, both of which were directed by John Sturges: The Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Great Escape (1963).
With Bronson's death on August 30, 2003, Robert Vaughn became the last surviving actor to have played one of the title characters in The Magnificent Seven (1960). Vaughn died on November 11, 2016 at the age of 83.
Was introduced to his second wife, Jill Ireland, by her then-husband David McCallum during the filming of The Great Escape (1963).

Sergio Leone once called him "the greatest actor I ever worked with". Leone had wanted Bronson for all three of what became known as the "Man with No Name" trilogy, but Bronson turned him down each time. He turned down the lead role in A Fistful of Dollars (1964) after describing it as the "worst script I have ever seen"; he turned down the role of Col. Douglas Mortimer in For a Few Dollars More (1965) as he wasn't interested; and he turned the role of Angel Eyes in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) because he was in England filming The Dirty Dozen (1967). Leone eventually cast him as Harmonicac in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).
The term "Charles Bronson" is frequently uttered in Reservoir Dogs (1992) in reference to a "tough guy".

In the latter part of his career, he worked predominantly with The Guns of Navarone (1961) director J. Lee Thompson. They made nine films together in just over a decade between 1977 and 1989: 10 to Midnight (1983), Cabo Blanco (1980), Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (1987), The Evil That Men Do (1984), Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects (1989), Messenger of Death (1988), Murphy's Law (1986), St. Ives (1976) and The White Buffalo (1977).

Personal Life

He was very active in raising funds for the John Wayne Cancer Institute.
Capable of essaying a variety of types, from Russian to American Indian, from homicidal villain to tight-lipped hero, Bronson suddenly became a star at the age of 53. Following the success of Death Wish (1974) he repeated, with little variation, his role as a vengeful urban vigilante.
Was introduced to his second wife, Jill Ireland, by her then-husband David McCallum during the filming of The Great Escape (1963).
Spoke fluent Russian, Lithuanian and Greek.
Owned homes in Europe, including Lithuania and Greece.

Military Service

In 1943, Bronson enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces and served in the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron, and in 1945 as a Boeing B-29 Superfortress aerial gunner with the Guam-based 61st Bombardment Squadron within the 39th Bombardment Group, which conducted combat missions against the Japanese home islands. He flew 25 missions and received a Purple Heart for wounds received in battle.

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Charles Bronson, born Charles Dennis Buchinsky,

- Nationality

- Ranking
WW II U.S, Air Force, Tail gunner and actor.

- Born
03-11-1921, Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania.

- Died
30-08-2003, pneumonia, age 81, Los Angeles, California.

- Buried
West Windser, Vermont USA. Brownsville Cemetery.

- Medals (many)

United States Airforce Actor

Bronson, born Charles Dennis Buchinsky, Charles, born 03-11-1921 in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, was an American actor but also participated in World War II as an aerial gunner. Bronson was born Charles Dennis Buchinsky and was one of 15 children born to a Lithuanian immigrant. He worked in as coal mine until he entered military service during World War II. Bronson earned $1 per ton in the coal mine and his family, father died when he was 10, was so poor that, at one time, he reportedly had to wear his sister’s dress to school because he had nothing else to wear. In 1943, Bronson enlisted in the and served as an aerial gunner in the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron, and in 1945 as a B-29 Super fortress crewman with the 39th Bombardment Group 200px-819th_Bombardment_Squadron_emblem based on Guam. Its final bombing mission was at Iwo Jima on 19-02-1945, the same day three Marine divisions invaded the island. Bronson was awarded a Purple Heart Purple_heart for wounds received during his service. After the end of World War II Bronson, nicknamed Leatherface, worked at many odd jobs until joining a theatrical group in Philadelphia. Bronson’s first film role was as a sailor in You’re in the Navy Now, in 1951. He married Harriett Tendler, she was an 18-year-old virgin when she met the 26-year-old Charlie Buchinsky at a Philadelphia acting school in 1947. Two years later, with the grudging consent of her father, a successful, Jewish dairy farmer, she wed the Catholic Lithuanian and former coal miner; supporting them both while Charlie pursued their acting dream. They had two children before divorcing in 1965. Harriett Bronson tells the story of her marriage and a high-profile divorce with much raw emotion but it’s not an angry, gossipy, or bitter account. Harriett was wise enough to recognize that it wasn’t just Jill Ireland that led to the unraveling of their marriage, but the way her husband dealt with his fame. It was Harriett who had ironed his shirts, raised their children, and offered moral support to the actor as he slowly worked his way through the Hollywood ranks. But it was Jill who ended up co-starring with Charles Bronson in 15 hit films, not because of any great acting ability, but because it was she who was married to the world’s biggest movie star, a man who got what he wanted, and he wanted her there. Thus Bronson then married to British actress Jill Ireland from 05-10-1968 until her death from breast cancer at age 54 in 1990. He had met her in 1962, when she was married to Scottish actor Davd McCallum.
File:DavidMcCallumHWOFOct2012.jpg Bronson lived in a grand Bel Air mansion in Los Angeless with seven children: two by his previous marriage, three by hers, one of whom was adopted and two of their own, another one of whom was adopted. In December 1998, Bronson was married a third time to Kim Weeks,
a former employee of Dove Audio who helped record Ireland in the production of her audiobooks. They were married for five years until Bronson’s death. After they married, she often played his leading lady, and they starred in 14 movies together. He became one of the great actors and in The Dirty Dozen, Bronson played an Army death row convict conscripted into a suicide mission.
Death and burial ground of Bronson, born Charles Dennis Buchinsky, Charles.
Bronson’s health deteriorated in his later years, and he retired from acting after undergoing hip-replacement surgery in August 1998. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in his final years. Bronson died of pneumonia at the age of 81, on 30-08-2003, in Los Angeles.

He is buried on the Brownsville cemetery near his Vermont farm,in West Windser, Vermont.

Refresh this page to see various historical events that occurred during Charles' lifetime.

In 1921, in the year that Charles Bronson was born, the silent film The Sheik, directed by George Melford and starring Rudolph Valentino and Agnes Ayres (also featuring Adolphe Menjou) debuted on October 21st. Critics weren't enthusiastic but the public loved it - in the first few weeks 125,000 people had seen the movie - and it eventually exceeded $1 million in ticket sales. And Rudolph Valentino, an Italian American, became the heartthrob of a female generation.

In 1939, he was 18 years old when in May, Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated film, reached a total international gross of $6.5 million which made it (to then) the most successful sound film of all time. First released in December 1937, it was originally dubbed "Disney's Folly" but the premiere received a standing ovation from the audience. At the 11th Academy Awards in February 1939, Walt Disney won an Academy Honorary Award - a full-size Oscar statuette and seven miniature ones - for Snow White.

In 1946, he was 25 years old when pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock's book "The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care" was published. It sold half a million copies in the first six months. Aside from the Bible, it became the best selling book of the 20th century. A generation of Baby Boomers were raised by the advice of Dr. Spock.

In 1961, Charles was 40 years old when on August 13th, East Germany began erection of what would become the Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin. In one day, they installed barbed wire entanglements and fences (called Barbed Wire Sunday in Germany). On August 17th, the first concrete elements and large blocks were put in place.

In 1985, he was 64 years old when in May, a paper published in Nature by three British scientists reported that a huge hole was discovered in the ozone layer over the Antarctic. It was much larger than expected and is due to the use of manmade chemicals.

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