What was it like to be the son of the martial artist who inspired jokes like, “Chuck Norris can cut through a hot knife… with butter”?
According to Mike Norris, it was awesome. "There were a lot of perks to being Chuck Norris' son," he says. "I had front-row seats to see what I believe is our modern-day John Wayne coming to fruition.
"My father started as a karate instructor. Every weekend we would pile into the station wagon. He and I would go to demonstrations at malls, schools; everywhere.
"And then to see him transform into Chuck Norris, the movie star – right there before my eyes – to reflect back on it, it's such an amazing blessing. It was great!"
An actor himself, Mike has acted in more than two-dozen films. He stared in the 1986 drama film Born American and the 1991 action film Delta Force 3: The Killing Game. He is also a screenwriter and director.
Mike learned a lot from his father. One of the main lessons Chuck Norris instilled into his son, however, was to do with God and Christianity.
"I became a believer as a child and was very aware of my faith early on," Mike told CBN.
"Now, did I stray? Absolutely. My late teens, my early twenties, I was a Christian but I was out there in the world not living as I should have."
Mike says the turning point in his life was when he met his wife Valerie at 21. He says he had seen a lot of dysfunction in marriages and did not want his to turn out like so many others in the movie business.
"We were standing in that church and I meant it when I said in front of everybody – also in front of God – that I was marrying my wife for life," he says.
"I realized I had been a party boy, and that wasn't going to work with being married.
"So at that point, right there in the church, I said to myself, 'Mike, get your act together. Be a man. Be a Godly man, be a Godly husband'.
"So that's really when everything started to change for me in a drastic way.
"Nobody's perfect," he continues. "I'm not perfect but I'm very aware – more so now than I've ever been – of how my faith plays a part in my daily life."
Mike says it is very important for him now to bring his faith into the stories he tells whether through acting, writing, or directing – or all three.
He both directed and starred in the 2009 Christian film Birdie & Bogey. And in 2012 he wrote, directed, and starred in the fantasy film I Am... Gabriel.
"After I was done working on Walker, Texas Ranger with my dad, it was the only thing I wanted to do – to do faith-based films," Mike says.
"So that's all I've done. You know, I think everybody has a voice and I think everybody wants their voice to be heard in some way. No matter what it is. And this is my voice, telling these stories. Every one of these stories, there's a little piece of me in it."
Mike says, while he loved and continues to love acting, he found directing a great way to express his creativity.
"[Directing] is like a spiritual thing to me. I'm really not in control when I'm directing. I'm just praying that everything goes right," he says.
"I go in every morning prayerfully and I just say, 'God, this is your day. Let me be a vessel for you and let everything go good today'."
Mike acknowledges the difficulty of creating Christian movies in Hollywood where you no longer find many series or movies that clearly depict traditional concepts of good and evil. But he says there is a way to make those films work.
Be a man.”"I think [the Hollywood system] is doing everything they can to push the Christian community down. I try to surround myself with as many Christians as I can. On a movie, not everybody is going to be a Christian but they know the movie we're making and we go in every morning before breakfast and have a prayer session.
"I invite anybody who wants to come. If they don't, no harm at all. We do our day. Maybe somebody can see something that piques their interest."
Mike's more recent roles have been in 2016 as director and actor in AmeriGeddon and acting in Saving the Tin Man (2017).
He hopes to continue to share his message and his faith through the stories he tells, and do so successfully. But even if things don't turn out like he wants, Mike knows he will be okay. "By the grace of God I have three children I know I will be with for eternity, as well as my lovely wife," he says.
"So, I've won no matter what else happens."•