Films featuring well-known Texans
Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris is a martial artist and actor born in Ryan, Oklahoma in 1940. Norris first began his martial arts training in South Korea while serving with the United States Air Force. Defeating the likes of Joe Lewis and Skipper Mullins, Norris held the Professional Middleweight Karate champion title for six consecutive years during the late 1960s. He would later found his own form of martial arts known as Chun Kuk Do and become the first man from the Western Hemisphere to be awarded an eighth degree Black Belt Grand Master ranking in the Tae Kwon Do tradition.
Chuck Norris launched his acting career with the 1972 Bruce Lee film, Way of the Dragon. He continued to star in action flicks throughout the 1980s before transitioning to television with his leading role in Walker, Texas Ranger in 1993. The CBS show was primarily shot in Texas, and had a successful run for eight years. Norris continues to make cameo appearances in films as well as television endorsements for products such as the Total Gym home fitness equipment.
Currently residing at his ranch in Navasota, Texas, Norris is an outspoken Christian Republican. He has penned two Christian novels and promotes spiritual Christian living through his website. Norris and his wife also founded the KICKSTART KIDS Foundation, which provides martial arts training to at-risk youth. Furthermore, he is a strong advocate for the National Rifle Association and The Veterans Association.
In 2010, Norris was named an honorary Texas Ranger by Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety and Chief of the Texas Rangers, 1938 - 1968
Colonel Homer Garrison Jr.'s lifelong Texas law enforcement career began at age 19 (shortly after graduating from Lufkin High School), when he was appointed deputy sheriff of Angelina County. In 1930, he joined the newly forming Texas Highway Patrol. When the Texas Highway Patrol became part of the Texas Department of Public Safety in 1935, Col. Garrison became the new agency's first assistant director. In 1938, his role changed to director of the DPS and chief of the Texas Rangers, a position he held until his death in 1968. The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum at Fort Fisher is named for him.
Crawford Martin served as a Texas State Senator and Texas Secretary of State until he was elected Texas Attorney General in 1966. Martin was the first state attorney general to successfully file litigation against commercial drug companies for fixing prices of antibiotics, and through this litigation, recovered over $4,000,000 for Texans. His office also set up litigation firmly establishing the Sabine River as the border between Louisiana and Texas, protecting Texas oil rights.
aka Hoss Cartwright
Born in De Kalb, Texas in 1928, Dan Blocker was raised in West Texas, near Lubbock.
He attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abline, and earned a master’s in dramatic arts from Sul Ross State Teacher’s College in Alpine. After graduating, he taught school in Sonora, Texas and Carlsbad, New Mexico. In 1956, he moved to California to pursue his Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he worked as a substitute teacher and began his acting career. In 1959 he was cast in his most famous role, Hoss Cartwright, on the long-running television program, ''Bonanza''.
Journalist, Anchor of the CBS Evening News, 1981 - 2005
Darrell K Royal was a collegiate football coach revered for leading the Texas Longhorns in 20 winning seasons from 1957 to 1976.
Orvon Grover Autry, better known as Gene Autry, was born in Tioga, Texas on September 29, 1907. He rose to fame as “The Singing Cowboy” in radio, television, and film. Autry started his recording career in 1929 when he signed with Columbia Records, ultimately releasing several hits including his signature song “Back in the Saddle Again,” as well as numerous Christmas songs, such as “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” In 1934, Autry was discovered by film producer Nat Levine, after which he made numerous B-movie Westerns through the 1950s. From 1940 to 1956, Autry also had his own CBS radio show called “Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch.” Beginning in 1950, Autry produced and starred in his own television show on CBS, “The Gene Autry Show,” which aired 91 episodes. Autry retired from show business in 1964, having made almost 100 films and over 600 records. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1969 and 1970, respectively. Autry is also the only person to have five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one in each of the five categories: motion pictures, radio, recording, television, and live theater. Autry died of lymphoma on October 2, 1988, aged 91, in Studio City, California.