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Dick Quickwood

Charles Bronson dies at 81

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Tough-guy actor Charles Bronson dies


September 1, 2003


BY BOB THOMAS Advertisement








LOS ANGELES--Charles Bronson, the Pennsylvania coal miner who drifted into films as a villain and became a hard-faced action star, notably in the popular ''Death Wish'' vengeance movies, has died. He was 81.


Mr. Bronson died Saturday of pneumonia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with his wife at his bedside, publicist Lori Jonas said. He had been in the hospital for weeks, Jonas said.


At the height of his career, Mr. Bronson was hugely popular in Europe; the French knew him as ''le sacre monstre'' (the sacred monster), the Italians as ''Il Brutto'' (the brute). In 1971, he was presented a Golden Globe as ''the most popular actor in the world.''








Some of actor Charles Bronson's films:

''Death Wish V: The Face of Death,'' 1994

''Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects,'' 1989

''Death Wish 4: The Crackdown,'' 1987

''Murphy's Law,'' 1986

''Death Wish 3,'' 1985

''Death Wish II,'' 1982

''The White Buffalo,'' 1977

''Death Wish,'' 1974

''Red Sun,'' 1972

''Once Upon a Time in the West,'' 1969

''Honor Among Thieves,'' 1968

''The Dirty Dozen,'' 1967

''Guns of Diablo,'' 1964

''The Great Escape,'' 1963

''The Magnificent Seven,'' 1960

''Machine-Gun Kelly,'' 1958

''Vera Cruz,'' 1954 (as Charles Buchinsky)

''Apache,'' 1954 (as Charles Buchinsky)

''House of Wax,'' 1953 (as Charles Buchinsky)

''You're in the Navy Now,'' 1951 (as Charles Buchinski)






Like Clint Eastwood, whose spaghetti westerns won him stardom, Mr. Bronson had to make European films to prove his worth as a star. He left a featured-role career in Hollywood to play leads in films made in France, Italy and Spain.


At age 50, he returned to Hollywood a star.


In a 1971 interview, he theorized on why the journey took him so long:


''Maybe I'm too masculine. Casting directors cast in their own, or an idealized image. Maybe I don't look like anybody's ideal.''


He was born Charles Buchinsky on Nov. 3, 1921, in Ehrenfeld, Pa. He was the 11th of 15 children of a coal miner and his wife, both Lithuanian immigrants.


Young Charles learned the art of survival in the tough district of Scooptown, ''where you had nothing to lose because you lost it already.'' The Buchinskys lived crowded in a shack, the children wearing hand-me-downs from older siblings. At the age of 6, Charles was embarrassed to attend school in his sister's dress.


Charles at 16 followed his brothers into the mines. He was paid $1 a ton of coal and volunteered for perilous jobs because the pay was better. Like other toughs in Scooptown, he raised some hell and landed in jail for assault and robbery.


Drafted in 1943, he served with the Army Air Forces in the Pacific. Having seen the outside world, he vowed not to return to the squalor of Scooptown.


He was attracted to acting not, he claimed, because of any artistic urge; he was impressed by the money movie stars could earn. He joined the Philadelphia Play and Players Troupe, painting scenery and acting in a few minor roles.


As Charles Buchinsky (or Buchinski), he played supporting roles in ''Red Skies of Montana,'' ''The Marrying Kind,'' ''Pat and Mike'' (in which he fell victim to Katharine Hepburn's judo), ''The House of Wax,'' ''Jubal'' and other films. In 1954, he changed his last name, fearing reaction in the McCarthy era to Russian-sounding names.


Mr. Bronson's first starring role came in 1958 with an exploitation film made in eight days, ''Machine-Gun Kelly.'' He also appeared in two brief TV series, ''Man with a Camera'' (1958) and ''The Travels of Jamie McPheeters'' (1963).


His status grew with impressive performances in ''The Magnificent Seven,'' ''The Great Escape,'' ''The Battle of the Bulge,'' ''The Sandpiper'' and ''The Dirty Dozen.''


His most controversial film came in 1974 with ''Death Wish.'' As an affluent, liberal architect, Mr. Bronson's life is shattered when young thugs kill his wife and rape his daughter. He vows to rid the city of such vermin, and his executions brought cheers from crime-weary audiences. Mr. Bronson made four more ''Death Wish'' films, and in 1987, he defended them:


''I think they provide satisfaction for people who are victimized by crime and look in vain for authorities to protect them. But I don't think people try to imitate that kind of thing.''


He is survived by his wife, Kim, six children and two grandchildren. Funeral services will be private.











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damn, I guess I'll never get to kill him execution style just after reciting some witty line from his movies...


Rest In Pecans

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I read one time in a magazine article


That the reason Charles Bronson did all those Death Wish movies was that his son had become a hopeless drug addict after being introduced to heroin at an L.A. party of celebrities. Suppose there's any truth to it?

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Guest WebsterUno



Charles Bronson was hard at age 60-something...:eek:


Reminds me of my grandpa.



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noooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he's not dead! charles bronson never dies!!! lies! all lies!

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