Chuck Norris

12th Annual Movieguide Faith & Values Awards - Arrivals

Norris in 2004, photo by Prphotos

Birth Name: Carlos Ray Norris

Place of Birth: Ryan, Oklahoma, U.S.

Date of Birth: March 10, 1940

Ethnicity: English, smaller amounts of Scottish, Welsh, and German, remote French, Swedish, and Dutch

Chuck Norris is an American martial artist, actor, film producer, and screenwriter.

Chuck is the son of Wilma (Scarberry) and Ray D. Norris. He is married to model Gena O’Kelley. He has five children, including actor Mike Norris and stock car racing driver and stuntman Eric Norris.

Chuck has stated that both of his parents were of half Irish and half Native American ancestry (“Genetically speaking, I am equal parts Irish and Native American”). Specifically, he has said that his paternal grandfather was an Irish immigrant, his paternal grandmother was of Native American descent (“a full-blooded Cherokee Indian”), his maternal grandfather was of Native American descent (“a Cherokee Indian from Kentucky”), and, finally, that his maternal grandmother was of Irish descent.

However, these statements do not appear to be accurate, at least not strictly speaking. Most of Chuck’s recent ancestors, including his paternal grandfather, were U.S.-born. His family tree contains mostly English surnames and English-born distant ancestors, along with a smaller amount of Scottish, Welsh, and German, roots, and remote French, Swedish, and Dutch. No Native American ancestry has been verified/documented in any publicly available family trees of Chuck Norris, and all of Chuck’s grandparents are described as “white” on U.S. censuses.

Chuck is the son of Wilma (Scarberry) and Ray D. Norris. Chuck’s patrilineal line traces to a John Norris, who was born, c. 1525, in Norfolk, England.

Chuck’s paternal grandfather was named James Henry Norris (the son of William/Simon Norris and Eliza Ann). James was born in Tennessee. William was the son of Samuel Norris and Melissa Curtis.

Chuck’s paternal grandmother was Ella May “Ellie” Tinker (the daughter of James Asbury Tinker and Clarisa Ann “Clara” Cofer). Ella was born in California. James was the son of Jesse Tinker and Margaret McArthur.

Chuck’s maternal grandfather was named John Porter Scarberry (the son of Martha Scarberry). John was born in Kentucky. Martha was the daughter of Richard E. Scarbrough and Eliza Jane Smith.

Chuck’s maternal grandmother was named Ada Agnes Hargrove (the daughter of John P. “Jack” Hargrove or Zachary Phelon Hardgrove/Hargrove, and of Alice/Jemimie Hill). Ada was born in Texas.

Sources: Genealogies of Chuck Norris –

Information about, and genealogy of, Chuck’s father –

Chuck’s father on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Chuck’s paternal grandmother, Ella May “Ellie” Tinker, on the 1880 U.S. Census –

Chuck’s maternal grandparents, John Porter Scarberry and Ada Agnes Hargrove, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Chuck’s maternal grandfather, John Porter Scarberry (focusing on his own father’s side) –

Chuck’s maternal great-grandparents, John P. “Jack” Hargrove and Alice, on the 1910 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

36 Responses

  1. follers says:

    You want all the Native Americans on this site to be better pictured, eh?

  2. follers says:

    I found a helpful family tree of Chuck Norris that someone has drawn up.

    I think that settles his ancestry.

  3. andrew says:

    No Irish/Cherokee mix..I am shocked :))

    • follers says:

      The character of Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) was described in the second Rambo movie as being half German and half Cherokee (“That’s quite a combination!”).

      • andrew says:

        Wikipedia: “According to the first film First Blood, Rambo’s full name is John James Rambo. He was born on July 6, 1946 in Bowie, Arizona, to a Navajo father (whose name according to the last film was probably R. Rambo) and an Italian American mother Marie Drago. However, in Rambo: First Blood Part II, Marshall Murdock states that Rambo is of American Indian and German descent.” You’re right

  4. Alice says:

    I’ve always though Chuck was Irish and Native American. Why would people make up a completely different heritage? Anyway it’s good to know his real ancestry.

    • Alice says:

      I have to say I’ve always been a bit surprised that so many Americans have Irish ancestry. I know there was a lot of immigration from Ireland but it does seem a bit overstated. This might be one of the reasons. They are actually Scot-Irish.

      • nnnnn says:

        Not many americans are irish, but many hollywood
        actors are irish. Surely, they help each other

        • Alice says:

          The Irish are the second most claimed ancestry in the US after Germans. About 40 million Americans claim Irish ancestry so that is a lot to come from a small island nation.

      • Labtec says:

        What’s with the dislikes. :( I’m a mix of English/Irish myself, but people DO overstate Irish — the simple fact is that English, Scottish, Welsh and Scotch-Irish are the most under-reported ancestries in the US.

        I’m sure that this will also be heavily disliked, as mentioning the English is like admitting to being the son of Satan..:)

        I don’t care. I’m a proud American of English descent. It’s about time they were shown more appreciation.

        • Nathan O'Connell says:

          Shown more appreciation?…the reason the English are not shown appreciation is because of their history. They oppressed the Irish for 800 years raping and oppressing us. They went over to america and killed off the majority of native americans, raped them and impregenated them, they then proceeded to enslave africans, rape and impregenate them and due to rape 1/3 of black men in america have a Y chromosome that can be traced to Britain, the English also went to india and forced them to grow food for britain and wouldnt let them have any, causing the deaths of a huge chunk of the country. Everywhere the english went they caused suffering and raped the people not just literally, but raped them of any freedom. Yet you wonder why people do not want to claim their link to england? lmao

  5. nnnnn says:

    Why all american celebrities tell, they are partly native?

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