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That tough as nails guy, Charles Bronson

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“A young Kurt Russell worked together with Charles Bronson. During shooting, Russell found out it was Charles Bronson’s birthday. So he got his older co-star a gift. Bronson looked at it, took it… then walked out of the room, without saying a word. Russell was terrified, worried he had insulted the man.


A little while later, Russell was called to the dressing room of Bronson. Bronson was silent, looked down and said to the child actor: “No one has ever given me a birthday gift before…” Charles Bronson was the son of dirt poor immigrants. He had fourteen siblings, and worked in the mines as a child. Never finished schooling, never had a kind word, he was worked like a mule since the day he learned to walk.


Charles Bronson hadn’t known a lot of kindness in his life. It caught him off guard to receive some from his young co-star. He later gave Russell a skateboard on his own birthday to play with between takes. The two men remained lifelong friends.”

Edit: The name of the movie was Guns of Diablo 1965

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As well as a superb actor, he lead a very interesting and varied life. Dirt poor to extremely wealthy (for the era).


Early life and war service

Bronson was born November 3, 1921, in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, a coal mining region in Pennsylvania's Allegheny Mountains, north of Johnstown. He was the 11th of 15 children born into a Roman Catholic family of Lithuanian heritage.[2][3] His father, Walter Buchinsky (born: Valteris P. Bučinskis),[2][4][5] was a Lipka Tatar from Druskininkai in southern Lithuania. Bronson's mother, Mary (née Valinsky), whose parents were from Lithuania, was born in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, in Pennsylvania's Coal Region.[6][7][8][9]

Bronson did not speak any English at home during his childhood in Pennsylvania, like many children he grew up with. He once recounted that even as a soldier, his accent was strong enough to make his comrades think he was a foreigner.[10] Besides English, he could speak Lithuanian, Russian and Greek.[11][12]

In a 1973 interview, Bronson remarked that he did not know his father very well, and was not sure if he loved or hated him, adding that all he could remember about him was that whenever his mother announced that his father was coming home, the children would hide.[13] In 1933, Bronson's father died and he went to work in the coal mines, first in the mining office and then in the mine.[2] He later said he earned one dollar for each ton of coal that he mined.[10] In another interview, he said that he had to work double shifts to earn $1 (equivalent to $24 in 2023) a week.[13] Bronson later recounted that he and his brother engaged in dangerous work removing "stumps" between the mines, and that cave-ins were common.[13]

The family suffered extreme poverty during the Great Depression, and Bronson recalled going hungry many times. His mother could not afford milk for his younger sister, so she was fed warm tea instead.[13] His family was so poor that he once had to wear his sister's dress to school for lack of clothing.[14][15] Bronson was the first member of his family to graduate from high school.[citation needed]

Bronson worked in the mines until enlisting in the United States Army Air Forces in 1943 during World War II.[2] He served in the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron, and in 1945 as a Boeing B-29 Superfortress aerial gunner with the Guam-based 61st Bombardment Squadron[16] within the 39th Bombardment Group, which conducted combat missions against the Japanese home islands.[17] He flew 25 missions and received a Purple Heart for wounds received in battle.[18]

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I ‘83 my wife worked at an answering service in Santa Monica, Ca. Charles Bronson was a client of that answering service. She said that he was always polite and he would occasionally drop by the service to bring the ladies pastries and sweets. She said he was always a gentleman. 

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