06/01/1950 Australia

A powerful screen presence, Richard Norton wins the applause of international audiences with his engaging talent to play either the hero or the heavy. Rare versatility and focused work ethic have enabled the actor to build an expanding library of almost one hundred cinematic and television titles. The disciplines that brought Norton success originated in his hometown of Croydon, Australia, and his early fascination with martial arts. By age seventeen, he was a Karate Black Belt working security for night clubs and serving as chief instructor to five hundred Karate schools nationwide. He landed a job as bodyguard to the Rolling Stones during the band's Australian tour and experienced his first brush with the demands of global celebrity. Norton trained with Mick Jagger in 4 a.m. work outs after concerts. His competency attracted a dazzling roster of other rock star clientele including James Taylor, ABBA, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, and Linda Ronstadt, who invited him to California as her bodyguard. Before Aussies invaded Hollywood in posses, Norton ventured there alone. A friendship with Chuck Norris brought him work in motion pictures. Norris cast Norton as the lethal Kyo, a masked ninja in "The Octagon" (1980), and their grueling final combat endures as a classic cinematic fight scene. Director Robert Clouse chose Norton to be one of the ensemble heroes in "Force: Five" (1981), an international hit, and the young martial artist's career in movies took off. His reputation for stellar performances emerged largely from high energy Hong Kong films directed by Sammo Hung and starring Jackie Chan in the mid-Eighties. Muscular charisma made Norton the perfect Anglo bad boy for "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars" (1985) and "Millionaires' Express" (1986). Taking the hits of his screen adversaries in those films earned Norton more Hong Kong work and, notably, Chan's abiding respect. Richard calls Jackie, "the maestro of martial arts movies." Jackie has returned the compliment by recruiting Norton, as one of just two western actors, to perform in several of his Hong Kong based productions including the comedic cult favorite "City Hunter" (1992) and the darker "Mr. Nice Guy" (1997), directed by Hung. Hung encouraged Norton to play the "Guy" nemesis, a well heeled gangster, with eccentric edginess. Norton embraced the direction and delivered one of the best co-starring performances in all of Chan's films. The success of Norton's Hong Kong work made him an established star in action films and a frequent cover subject for global martial arts and movie magazines. His collaborations with Cynthia Rothrock catapulted them to a level of fame that inspired a British magazine to deem them the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of martial arts movies. The recurring partners produced two "Rage and Honor" (1992) movies, besides co-starring in "China O'Brien" (1990) and "Lady Dragon" (1992), among other titles. They reunited for "Redemption" (2002) with Don "The Dragon" Wilson. Norton nurtured his leading man status in crime dramas, MIA pictures, and futuristic adventures that often featured his real life training partners in supporting roles such as Chuck Jeffreys in "Death Fight" (1994) and Benny Urquidez in "The Kick Fighter" (1987). With stand-out performances in "Sword of Bushido" (1989) and "Under the Gun" (1995), he displayed his attraction to heroes with dimensions, even flaws, that force them into action. His style of action incorporates the humor essential to humanizing a hero. "Gun" (1995) showcases the Norton style of protagonist. He plays a disgraced athlete, trying to re-invent his life in one night, with equal doses of comedy and desperation. It is the dark comedy in "Mind Games" (2002), directed by Adrian Carr, that enables Norton to triumph in another well textured role as a suspicious Texan, demonstrating he takes risks as an actor who ventures beyond action genres. Richard Norton's credits behind the camera have become as diverse as his screen roles. Apart from acting and producing, he is a sought-after stunt/fight coordinator, choreographing action in films such as "The Nomad" (2004), produced by Milos Forman, and "Devil's Pond" (2003) with Tara Reid and Kip Pardue. Despite a busy career, he continues to achieve black belts in the martial arts, always a motivating force for Norton's accomplishments. mini-biography by William Gantt

c1985 Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars
1985 American Ninja
c1986 Future Hunters
c1986 Shanghai Express
...aka "Millionaire's Express"
c1987 Kick Fighter
...aka "Fighter"
c1987 Magic Crystal
...aka "Jade Crystal"
c1988 China O’Brien
c1988 China O’Brien 2
c1990 Lady Dragon
c1991 Iron Heart
c1991 Rage & Honour
c1992 City Hunter
c1996 Mr. Nice Guy