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Chuck Norris Refused Bruce Lee’s Proposal After ‘Getting Beat Up’ During Their Iconic Fight in 1972

Published 02/09/2023, 11:51 PM EST

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Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee are two big names in the world of martial arts and acting. In addition to being great martial artists, both were great friends too. They trained together, appeared in movies together, fought together, and also against each other. One such fight with Bruce Lee especially left Chuck Norris a bit skeptical.

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Norris was still not over the fight they had in 1972 and hence, was reluctant to do a project with Bruce Lee.

Chuck Norris refused to play a part alongside Bruce Lee


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In the iconic movie, The Way of the DragonNorris, and Lee had an epic fight scene. But after being the one who lost in that fight, Norris was not too excited to be paired off against Lee one more time. In the biography of Bruce Lee called Bruce Lee: A Life, written by Matthew Polly, Polly describes the incident in the Chapter named Blood and Steel.

Apparently, during the making of the movie Blood and Steel, Lee offered the role of O’Hara to Chuck Norris. O’Hara was supposed to be Han’s evil bodyguard. However, after getting beaten up by Lee in The Way of the Dragon, Norris took a resolution that Lee was not aware of. Norris had made a vow to himself that he would not be a part of a movie where he was not the main hero.


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When Lee got to know this, he tried to appeal to Norris’ competitive side and told him, “If you don’t take this part, I’m going to give it to Bob Wall.” And Chuck Norris countered by saying, “Bob will do a great job.” It was clear to Lee that Norris wouldn’t relent, so Lee decided to cast other actors.

The making of Blood and Steel


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Lee had a lot of expectations from Blood and Steel and fought with Warner Brothers tooth and nail to retain his vision of the movie till the end. He signed a contract with the Warner Brothers in 1972, and the filming was to last for eighty days. It was decided that all the fight scenes would be directed by Lee himself.

While Norris might have refused to fight against Lee, he made many successful movies, and Norris and Lee remained friends for a long time.


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Written by:

Apoorva Behl


One take at a time

Apoorva Behl is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has a Master's degree in Law from the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi. Besides being a lawyer, she has a passion for reading and a penchant for writing.
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Edited by:

Simar Singh Wadhwa