Charles Bronson who was born on 3rd November, 1921, was an American actor. His real name was Charles Dennis Buchinsky and was born in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania. Both his parents were of Lithuanian origin. Bronson came from a very poor but large family, and hence, he started working at the tender age of 16, in the mines. Before pursuing acting as his career he also served in the Second World War. After venturing into films, he became one of the top-most actors in the world, and also allegedly the highest paid of them all. One of the most popular films done by Bronson is “Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)”, where he essayed the role of Harmonica. This film has often been declared as one of the 100 greatest films of the 20th century.
Bronson was a student of art, which was his passion since childhood. He made his debut in a film called “You’re in the Navy Now (1951)”, directed by Henry Hathaway. For him, acting seemed like an easy way to make money. Gradually, he started receiving more film offers and managed to establish his foothold in Hollywood. In spite of a flourishing career in Hollywood, Bronson did not limit himself to movies only. He successfully starred in various TV series like “Gunsmoke”, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, “Man with a Camera”, and many more. His role as the claustrophobic flight Lieutenant, Danny Velinski (“Tunnel King”), who was a prisoner of war, in the 1963 film “
The Great Escape”, earned him worldwide recognition. But his role in the “
Death Wish” series is touted as his most famous role where Bronson delivered his best performance. His roles in most of the films are of a “tough guy” who is usually a chaperone or a vigilante.
In real life, Bronson was more of a recluse who kept to himself. He regarded himself as a good listener who is “entertained by his own thoughts”, but not a good converser. He was popularly known as “a man of few words, but much action”. He has many awards to his credit. He won the Henrietta Award for World Film Favorite (Male) in 1972, and was also nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for An Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role in the TV series “General Electric Theatre”. Bronson married thrice and has 4 children. He lost his second wife, Jill Ireland, due to breast cancer. Bronson suffered for quite a few years with Alzheimer’s disease, and on 30th August, 2003, he died of pneumonia in Los Angeles.