Charles Bronson

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Charles Dennis Bronson (Buchinsky)

Lithuanian: Karolis Dionyzas Bučinskis
Also Known As: "Čarlzas Bronsonas Bučinskas"
Birthplace: Ehrenfeld, Cambria, PA, United States
Death: August 30, 2003 (81)
Los Angeles, CA, United States (pneumonia )
Place of Burial: West Windsor, VT, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Walter Buchinsky Sr and Mary Buchinsky
Husband of Jill Dorothy Ireland and Private
Ex-husband of Private
Ex-partner of Yvonne Joyce Craig; Private and Hilary Holden
Father of Private; Private; Private and Private
Brother of Anita Hurley; Frank Buchinski; Roy Walter Buchinsky; George Buchinsky; Joseph Buchinsky Buchinski and 9 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Charles Bronson

Charles Bronson (born Charles Dennis Buchinsky; November 3, 1921 – August 30, 2003) was an American film and television actor.

He starred in films such as Once Upon a Time in the West, The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape, Rider on the Rain, The Mechanic, and the Death Wish series. He was often cast in the role of a police officer, gunfighter, or vigilante in revenge-oriented plot lines. He had long collaborations with film directors Michael Winner and J. Lee Thompson. In 1965, he was featured as Major Wolenski in Battle of the Bulge. Early life and World War II service.

Bronson was born Charles Dennis Buchinsky in Ehrenfeld in Cambria County in the coal region of the Allegheny Mountains north of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

He was the 11th of 15 children born to a Lithuanian immigrant father of Lipka Tatar ancestry and a Lithuanian-American mother. His father, Walter Bunchinski (who later adjusted his surname to Buchinsky to sound more "American",hailed from the town of Druskininkai. Bronson's mother, Mary (née Valinsky), whose parents were from Lithuania, was born in the coal mining town of Tamaqua, Pennsylvania. He learned to speak English when he was a teenager; before that he spoke Lithuanian and Russian. Bronson was the first member of his family to graduate from high school. When Bronson was 10 years old, his father died. Young Charles went to work in the coal mines, first in the mining office and then in the mine. He earned one dollar for each ton of coal that he mined. He worked in the mine until he entered military service during World War II. His family was so poor that, at one time, he reportedly had to wear his sister's dress to school because of his lack of clothing.

In 1943, Bronson enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces and served as an aerial gunner in the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron, and in 1945 as a Boeing B-29 Superfortress crewman with the 39th Bombardment Group based on Guam. Bronson flew 25 missions and received a Purple Heart for wounds received in battle.

Acting career[edit] Early roles, 1951–1959 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. Bronson's first film role — an uncredited one — was as a sailor in You're in the Navy Now in 1951. Other early screen appearances were in Pat and Mike, Miss Sadie Thompson and House of Wax (as Vincent Price's mute henchman Igor).

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 also had a part credited as Charles Buchinsky in a western named "Riding Shotgun", starring Randolph Scott. In 1954, Bronson made a strong impact in Drum Beat as a murderous Modoc warrior, Captain Jack, who relishes wearing the tunics of soldiers he has killed. Eventually captured, Captain Jack is sent to the gallows.[citation needed] 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. He reportedly took his inspiration from the Bronson Gate at the studios of Paramount Pictures, situated on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Bronson Street. He made several appearances on television in the 1950s and 1960s, including a 1952 segment, with fellow guest star Lee Marvin, of Biff Baker, U.S.A., an espionage series on CBS starring Alan Hale, Jr.. 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 in Bromfield's 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 1959, he played Steve Ogrodowski, a naval intelligence officer, in two episodes of the CBS military sitcom/drama, Hennesey, starring Jackie Cooper. Bronson starred alongside Elizabeth Montgomery in The Twilight Zone episode "Two" (1961) and played a killer named Crego in Gunsmoke (1956). He appeared in five episodes of Richard Boone's Have Gun – Will Travel (1957–1963). In 1957, Bronson was cast in the Western series Colt .45 as an outlaw named Danny Arnold in the episode "Young Gun". In 1958, he was cast in his first lead role in Roger Corman's Machine-Gun Kelly. He scored the lead in his own ABC's detective series Man with a Camera (from 1958 to 1960), in which he portrayed Mike Kovac, a former combat photographer freelancing in New York City.

Success, 1960–1968 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, he garnered attention in John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven, in which he was cast as one of seven gunfighters taking up the cause of the defenseless. During filming, Bronson was a loner who kept to himself, according to Eli Wallach. He received $50,000 for this role. This role made him a favorite actor of many in the since disbanded Soviet Union, such as Vladimir Vysotsky.

Two years later, Sturges cast him for another Hollywood production, The Great Escape, as a claustrophobic Polish prisoner of war nicknamed "The Tunnel King" (coincidentally, Bronson was really claustrophobic because of his childhood work in a mine). In 1961, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for his supporting role in an episode entitled "Memory in White" of CBS's General Electric Theater, hosted by Ronald Reagan. In 1963, Bronson co-starred in the NBC Western series Empire. In the 1963–1964 television season he portrayed Linc, the stubborn wagonmaster in the ABC western series, The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. In the 1965–1966 season, he guest-starred in an episode of The Legend of Jesse James. In 1965, Bronson was cast as a demolitions expert in an episode of ABC's Combat!. Thereafter, in The Dirty Dozen (1967), he played an Army death row convict conscripted into a suicide mission. In 1967, he guest starred as Ralph Schuyler, an undercover government agent in the episode "The One That Got Away" on ABC's The Fugitive.[citation needed] European roles and rise with United Artists, 1968–1973

Bronson made a serious name for himself in European films. In 1968, he starred as Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West. The director, Sergio Leone, once called him "the greatest actor I ever worked with",[citation needed] and had wanted to cast Bronson for the lead in 1964's A Fistful of Dollars. Bronson turned him down and the role launched Clint Eastwood to film stardom. In 1970, Bronson starred in the French film Rider on the Rain, which won a Hollywood Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The following year, this overseas fame earned him a special Golden Globe Henrietta Award for "World Film Favorite - Male" together with Sean Connery. In 1972 he began a string of successful action films for United Artists, beginning with Chato's Land, although he had done several films for UA before this in the 1960s (The Magnificent Seven, etc.). One film UA brought into the domestic mainstream was Città violenta, an Italian-made film originally released overseas in 1970.

Death Wish series and departure from UA, 1974–1980 Bronson's most famous role came when he was age 52, in Death Wish (Paramount, 1974), the most popular film of his long association with director Michael Winner. He played Paul Kersey, a successful New York architect. When his wife is murdered and his daughter sexually assaulted, Kersey becomes a crime-fighting vigilante by night. This successful movie spawned various sequels over the next two decades, in all of which Bronson appeared.

In 1974, he had the title role in the Elmore Leonard film adaptation Mr. Majestyk, as an army veteran and farmer who battles local gangsters. For Walter Hill's Hard Times (1975), he starred as a Depression-era street fighter making his living in illegal bare-knuckled matches in Louisiana. He earned good reviews. Bronson reached his pinnacle in box-office drawing power in 1975, when he was ranked 4th, behind only Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, and Al Pacino. His stint at UA came to an end in 1977 with The White Buffalo.

Cannon Films era and final roles, 1981–1994 He was considered for the role of Snake Plissken in Escape from New York (1981), but director John Carpenter thought he was too tough looking and too old for the part, and decided to cast Kurt Russell instead. In the years between 1976 and 1994, Bronson commanded high salaries to star in numerous films made by smaller production companies, most notably Cannon Films, for whom some of his last films were made. Many of them were directed by J. Lee Thompson, a collaborative relationship that Bronson enjoyed and actively pursued, reportedly because Thompson worked quickly and efficiently. Thompson's ultra-violent films such as The Evil That Men Do (TriStar Pictures, 1984) and 10 to Midnight (1983) were blasted by critics, but provided Bronson with well-paid work throughout the 1980s. Bronson's last starring role in a theatrically released film was 1994's Death Wish V: The Face of Death.

His first marriage was to Harriet Tendler, whom he met when both were fledgling actors in Philadelphia. They had two children before divorcing in 1965. She wrote in her memoir that 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. On their first date, he had four cents in his pocket — and went on, now as Charles Bronson, to become one of the highest paid actors in the country."

Bronson was then married again to British actress Jill Ireland from October 5, 1968, until her death in 1990. He had met her in 1962, when she was married to Scottish actor David McCallum. At the time, Bronson (who shared the screen with McCallum in The Great Escape) reportedly told him, "I'm going to marry your wife". The Bronsons lived in a grand Bel Air mansion in Los Angeles 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). After they married, she often played his leading lady, and they starred in fourteen films together.

In order to maintain a close family, they would load up everyone and take them to wherever filming was taking place, so that they could all be together. They spent time in a colonial farmhouse on 260 acres (1.1 km2) in West Windsor, Vermont.[ Jill Ireland raised horses and provided training for their daughter Zuleika so that she could perform at the higher levels of horse showing. The Vermont farm, "Zuleika Farm", was named for the only natural child between them. During the late 1980s through the mid-1990s Bronson regularly spent winter holidays vacationing with his family in Snowmass, Colorado.

On May 18, 1990, aged 54, after a long battle with cancer Jill Ireland died of breast cancer at their home in Malibu, California.On December 1998, Bronson was married a third time to Kim Weeks, a former employee of Dove Audio who had helped record Ireland in the production of her audio books. The couple were married for five years until Bronson's death in 2003.

Bronson's health deteriorated in later years, and he retired from acting after undergoing hip-replacement surgery in 1998. He suffered from Alzheimer's disease in his final years. Bronson died of pneumonia at age 81 on August 30, 2003 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was interred at Brownsville Cemetery in West Windsor, Vermont.

Year Title Role Director Genre 1951 The Mob Jack - Longshoreman (uncredited) Robert Parrish Crime thriller The People Against O'Hara Angelo Korvac (uncredited) John Sturges Crime drama You're in the Navy Now Wascylewski (uncredited) Henry Hathaway War comedy 1952 Bloodhound of Broadway Phil Green, a.k.a. "Pittsburgh Philo" (uncredited) Harmon Jones Musical Battle Zone Private (uncredited) Lesley Selander War Pat and Mike Henry 'Hank' Tasling (as Charles Buchinski) George Cukor Comedy Diplomatic Courier Russian Agent (uncredited) Henry Hathaway Mystery thriller My Six Convicts Jocko (as Charles Buchinsky) Hugo Fregonese Comedy drama The Marrying Kind Eddie - Co-Worker at Plant (uncredited) George Cukor Comedy drama Red Skies of Montana Neff (uncredited) Joseph M. Newman Adventure 1953 Miss Sadie Thompson Pvt. Edwards (as Charles Buchinsky) Curtis Bernhardt Musical House of Wax Igor (as Charles Buchinsky) André de Toth Horror Off Limits Russell (uncredited) George Marshall Comedy The Clown Eddie, Dice Player (uncredited) Robert Z. Leonard Drama Torpedo Alley Submariner (uncredited) Lew Landers Drama 1954 Vera Cruz Pittsburgh Robert Aldrich Western Drum Beat Kintpuash, aka Captain Jack Delmer Daves Western Apache Hondo (as Charles Buchinsky) Robert Aldrich Western Riding Shotgun Pinto (as Charles Buchinsky) André de Toth Western Tennessee Champ Sixty Jubel aka The Biloxi Blockbuster (as Charles Buchinsky) Fred M. Wilcox B-movie drama Crime Wave Ben Hastings (as Charles Buchinsky) André de Toth Crime drama 1955 Target Zero Sgt. Vince Gaspari Harmon Jones War drama Big House, U.S.A. Benny Kelly Howard W. Koch Crime thriller 1956 Jubal Reb Haislipp Delmer Daves Western Man with a Camera Mike Kovac William A. Seiter Crime Drama 1957 Run of the Arrow Blue Buffalo Samuel Fuller Western 1958 Gang War Alan Avery Gene Fowler Jr. Drama When Hell Broke Loose Steve Boland Kenneth G. Crane War Machine-Gun Kelly Machine Gun Kelly Roger Corman Crime biography Showdown at Boot Hill Luke Welsh Gene Fowler, Jr. Western 1959 Never So Few Sgt. John Danforth John Sturges War 1960 The Magnificent Seven Bernardo O'Reilly John Sturges Western 1961 Master of the World John Strock William Witney Sci-fi A Thunder of Drums Trooper Hanna Joseph M. Newman Western 1962 X-15 Lt. Col. Lee Brandon Richard Donner Aviation drama Kid Galahad Lew Nyack Phil Karlson Musical 1963 The Great Escape Danny Tunnel King John Sturges War 4 for Texas Matson Robert Aldrich Western comedy 1965 Guns of Diablo Linc Murdock Boris Sagal Western The Sandpiper Cos Erickson Vincente Minnelli Drama Battle of the Bulge Wolenski Ken Annakin War The Bull of the West Ben Justin Jerry Hopper/Paul Stanley Western 1966 This Property Is Condemned J.J. Nichols Sydney Pollack Drama The Meanest Men In The West Charles S. Dubin Harge Talbot Jr. Western 1967 The Dirty Dozen Joseph Wladislaw Robert Aldrich War 1968 Farewell, Friend Franz Propp Jean Herman Crime adventure Villa Rides Rodolfo Fierro Buzz Kulik War Once Upon a Time in the West Harmonica Sergio Leone Western 1968 Guns for San Sebastian Teclo Henri Verneuil Western 1969 Twinky (aka Lola) Scott Wardman Richard Donner Comedy romance You Can't Win 'Em All Josh Corey Peter Collinson War 1970 Rider on the Rain Col. Harry Dobbs René Clément Mystery thriller Violent City Jeff Heston Sergio Sollima Thriller 1971 Cold Sweat Joe Martin Terence Young Thriller Someone Behind the Door The Stranger Nicolas Gessner Crime drama Red Sun Link Stuart Terence Young Western 1972 The Valachi Papers Joe Valachi Terence Young Crime Chato's Land Pardon Chato Michael Winner Western The Mechanic Arthur Bishop Michael Winner Thriller 1973 The Stone Killer Lou Torrey Michael Winner Crime drama Chino Chino Valdez John Sturges, Duilio Coletti Western 1974 Mr. Majestyk Vince Majestyk Richard Fleischer Crime drama Death Wish Paul Kersey Michael Winner Crime thriller 1975 Breakheart Pass Deakin Tom Gries Western adventure Breakout Nick Colton Tom Gries Adventure drama Hard Times Chaney Walter Hill Drama 1976 From Noon Till Three Graham Frank D. Gilroy Western comedy St. Ives Raymond St Ives J. Lee Thompson Crime drama 1977 Raid on Entebbe Brig. Gen. Dan Shomron Irvin Kershner Drama The White Buffalo Wild Bill Hickok (James Otis) J. Lee Thompson Western 1978 Telefon Major Grigori Bortsov Don Siegel Spy 1979 Love and Bullets Charlie Congers Stuart Rosenberg Crime drama 1980 Borderline Jeb Maynard Jerrold Freedman Drama Caboblanco Gifford Hoyt J. Lee Thompson Drama 1981 Death Hunt Albert Johnson Peter R. Hunt Western adventure 1982 Death Wish II Paul Kersey Michael Winner Crime drama 1983 10 to Midnight Leo Kessler J. Lee Thompson Crime thriller The Evil That Men Do Holland / Bart Smith J. Lee Thompson Thriller 1985 Death Wish 3 Paul Kersey Michael Winner Crime drama 1986 Murphy's Law Jack Murphy J. Lee Thompson Thriller Act of Vengeance "Jock" Yablonski John Mackenzie Crime drama 1987 Assassination Jay Killion Peter R. Hunt Thriller Death Wish 4: The Crackdown Paul Kersey J. Lee Thompson Crime drama 1988 Messenger of Death Garret Smith J. Lee Thompson Crime thriller 1989 Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects Lieutenant Crowe J. Lee Thompson Drama 1991 The Indian Runner Mr. Roberts Sean Penn Drama Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus Francis Church Charles Jarrott Drama 1993 The Sea Wolf Capt. Wolf Larsen Michael Anderson Adventure Donato and Daughter Sgt. Mike Donato Rod Holcomb Drama 1994 Death Wish V: The Face of Death Paul Kersey Allan A. Goldstein Thriller 1995 A Family of Cops Paul Fein Ted Kotcheff Thriller 1997 Family of Cops 2 Paul Fein David Greene Crime drama 1999 Family of Cops 3 Paul Fein Sheldon Larry Drama See also[edit] • Biography portal • World War II portal • United States Army portal • Pennsylvania portal • Film portal • Television portal

References "A classic immigrant success story - Charles Bronson". The Lithuania Tribune. Retrieved 2014-07-11. Jump up to: a b c d e Michael R.Pitts (1999). Charles Bronson: the 95 films and the 156 television appearances. McFarland & Co. p. 1. ISBN 0-7864-0601-1. 3. Jump up ^ Aaker, Everet (2006). Encyclopedia of early television crime fighters: all regular cast members in American crime and mystery series, 1948-1959. McFarland. p. 80. ISBN 0-7864-2476-1. 4. Jump up ^ Bratkowski, Stefan, "Najkrotsza Historia Polski" (The Shortest History of Poland), KAW, Warsaw, 1999, p. 9. 5. Jump up ^ "Charles Bronson, Actor". Retrieved 2009-04-25. 6. Jump up ^ "Hollywood star Bronson dies". BBC News. September 1, 2003. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 7. Jump up ^ "Action film star Charles Bronson dead at 81". USA Today. 2003-08-31. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 8. Jump up ^ "US movie legend Bronson is dead". The Scotsman (Edinburgh). 2003-09-01. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 9. Jump up ^ "Charles Bronson". Retrieved 17 August 2013. 10. Jump up ^ Michael R. Pitts (1999). Charles Bronson: the 95 films and the 156 television appearances. McFarland & Co. p. 1. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 11. Jump up ^ Ebert, Roger. "Charles Bronson: "It's just that I don't like to talk very much."". Roger Ebert Interviews. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 12. Jump up ^ "Biography for Charles Bronson". IMDb. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 13. Jump up ^ Richard Severo (September 1, 2003). "Charles Bronson, 81, Dies; Muscular Movie Tough Guy". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 14. Jump up ^ The dress story has been repeated in Celebrity Setbacks: 800 Stars who Overcame the Odds by Ed Lucaire (ISBN 0-671-85031-8) and in an edition of Ripley's Believe It or Not!. 15. Jump up ^ "Corrections". September 18, 2003. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 16. Jump up ^ "famous veterans Charles Bronson". Dec 12, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 17. Jump up ^ Charles Bronson (I) - Biography IMDb 18. Jump up ^ Young Gun,, retrieved December 22, 2012 19. Jump up ^ ""Zigzag", next-to-the last episode, December 26, 1960". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 20. Jump up ^ Exclusive interview with Eli Wallach 21. Jump up ^ "Stagecoach to tombstone: the filmgoers' guide to the great westerns". I.B. Tauris, 2008; ISBN 1-84511-571-6/ISBN 978-1-84511-571-5 22. Jump up ^ Владимир Иванович Новиков/V.I. Novikov "Высоцкий/Vysotskiĭ". Moscow: Molodaia gvardiia, 2002; ISBN 5-235-02541-5/ISBN 978-5-235-02541-7 23. Jump up ^ "Живая жизнь/Živaja žizn: štrichi k biografii Vladimira Vysockogo". Moscow: "Московский рабочий/Moskovskij rabočij", т. 1, 1988; ISBN 5-239-00483-8/ISBN 978-5-239-00483-8 (Russian) 24. Jump up ^ Hughes, Howard (2006). Filmgoers' guide to the great crime movies. I.B. Tauris. p. xx. ISBN 1-84511-219-9. 25. Jump up ^ Charles Bronson Documentary, Biography Channel. 26. Jump up ^ "Action film star Charles Bronson dead at 81". USA Today. 2003-09-01. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 27. Jump up ^ Yarrow, Andrew L. (1990-05-19). "Jill Ireland, Actress, 54, Is Dead; Wrote of Her Fight With Cancer". Retrieved 2008-10-12. External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Charles Bronson.

• Charles Bronson at the Internet Movie Database • Charles Bronson at AllMovie • Charles Bronson at Find a Grave • The Best Battles of Charles Bronson photo-gallery at • New publication with private photos of the shooting & documents of 2nd unit cameraman Walter Riml • Photos of the filming The Great Escape Authority control • WorldCat • VIAF: 7573305 • LCCN: n80024575 • ISNI: 0000 0001 1037 1444 • GND: 122937090 • BNF: cb138918724 (data) • NDL: 00620426

Categories: • 1921 births • 2003 deaths • 20th-century American male actors • Male actors from Pennsylvania • American male film actors • American male television actors • American military personnel of World War II • American people of Lithuanian descent • American people of Polish descent • Deaths from Alzheimer's disease • Deaths from pneumonia • Infectious disease deaths in California • People from Cambria County, Pennsylvania • People from Malibu, California • Recipients of the Purple Heart medal • Male Spaghetti Western actors • United States Army Air Forces soldiers • Male Western (genre) film actors • People of Lipka Tatar descent • California Democrats • Pennsylvania Democrats

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Charles Bronson's Timeline

November 3, 1921
Ehrenfeld, Cambria, PA, United States
August 30, 2003
Age 81
Los Angeles, CA, United States