Charles Bronson (born Charles Dennis Buchinsky; November 3, 1921 – August 30, 2003) was an American actor. Known for his "granite features and brawny physique," he gained international fame for his starring roles in action, western, and war films; initially as a supporting player and later a leading man. A quintessential cinematic "tough guy", Bronson was cast in various roles where the plot line hinged on the authenticity of the character's toughness and brawn. At the height of his fame in the early 1970s, he was the world's No. 1 box office attraction, commanding $1 million per film. Born to a Lithuanian-American coal mining family in rural Pennsylvania, Bronson served in the United States Army Air Forces as a bomber tail gunner during World War II. He worked several odd jobs before entering the film industry in the early 1950s, playing bit and supporting roles as henchmen, thugs, and other "heavies". After playing a villain in the Western film Drum Beat, he was cast in his first leading role by B-movie auteur Roger Corman, playing the title character in the gangster picture Machine-Gun Kelly (1958). The role brought him to the attention of mainstream critics, and led to sizable co-lead parts as an Irish-Mexican gunslinger in The Magnificent Seven (1960), a claustrophobic tunneling expert in The Great Escape (1963), a small-town Southern louche in This Property Is Condemned (1966), and a prisoner-turned-commando in The Dirty Dozen (1967). Description above from the Wikipedia article Charles Bronson, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia.