Charles Bronson had been sought after by Sergio Leone to play the lead in his movies since A Fistful of Dollars, but Bronson turned him down. Leone had Bronson in mind for the part of "Angel Eyes" in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but Bronson was already committed to The Dirty Dozen. Finally, for 1968's Once Upon a Time in the West, Leone got Bronson, for the part of Harmonica.
Leone called him "the greatest actor I ever worked with."
Bronson was born Charles Dennis Buchinsky on October 18, 1926, in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, one of 15 children of a Lithuanian immigrant coal miner. Bronson started work at age 10, mining coal. An oft-told story is that the family was so poor, he had to wear his sister's dress to school because he had no other clothes. In 1943, he joined the fight in the Second World War, serving in the U.S. Army Air Forces in the Pacific as a tail-gunner on B-29 bombers. After the war, he got into acting, and changed his name because he thought his birth name was too Slavic sounding and might get him branded a communist. He acted on some American television shows, but got into movies in Europe, where in Italy he was known as "Il Brutto" ("The Ugly One") and in France as "le sacré monstre" ("holy monster"). In addition to his role in Once Upon a Time in the West, Bronson is well known for digging tunnels in The Great Escape, as well as The Magnificent Seven, and the Death Wish series.
Bronson was married three times. His second wife was actress Jill Ireland, whom he married in 1968 and was with until she died in 1990. He had three children. Bronson died of pneumonia on August 30, 2003 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 81, and had been suffering Alzheimer's. He is buried in Brownsville, Vermont.
Films with Charles Bronson
The following 8 pages are in this category, out of 8 total.