Charles Bronson: The Man Behind Two Different Names

An image of Charles Bronson
How did Charles Bronson become a legend in cinema and crime? Explore the fascinating lives and careers of the actor and the prisoner who shared the same name/PHOTO COURTESY : Facebook

Charles Bronson: The Man Behind Two Different Names

Charles Bronson was a name shared by two very different men: one was a Hollywood star who played tough guys and action heroes.

He was a violent criminal who spent most of his life in prison.

In this article, we will explore the lives and careers of both Charles Bronsons, and how they became known for their respective roles.

Charles Bronson the Actor

Charles Bronson, the actor, was born as Charles Dennis Buchinsky on November 3, 1921, in Pennsylvania, USA.

He was the 11th of 15 children of Lithuanian immigrants, and grew up in poverty.

He worked in a coal mine before joining the army during World War II, where he earned a Purple Heart.

After the war, he pursued a career in acting, and changed his name to Charles Bronson in 1954.

He avoided being blacklisted as a communist sympathizer.

He appeared in many films and TV shows, mostly in supporting roles, until he gained fame and recognition for his roles.

Charles played his role in The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Great Escape (1963), and The Dirty Dozen (1967).

He became a leading man in the 1970s, starring in a series of action and crime films, such as :

Death Wish (1974)

The Mechanic (1972)

Mr. Majestyk (1974)

He was known for his rugged looks, stoic demeanor, and minimal dialogue, which made him a popular icon of masculinity and toughness.

He continued to act until the late 1990s, and died of pneumonia on August 30, 2003, at the age of 81.

Charles Bronson the Prisoner

Charles Bronson, the prisoner, was born as Michael Gordon Peterson on December 6, 1952, in Luton, England.

He was a troubled child who was expelled from school and involved in petty crimes.

He was first sent to prison in 1974, for robbing a post office of £26.18.

While in prison, he became notorious for his violent behavior, attacking inmates and guards, taking hostages, and causing riots.

He changed his name to Charles Bronson in 1987, after being inspired by the actor’s film Death Wish.

He also became interested in art and fitness, and wrote several books and poems.

Charles has spent most of his life in solitary confinement, and has been moved to different prisons and psychiatric hospitals.

He is currently serving a life sentence for kidnapping and threatening to kill a prison teacher in 1999.

He is considered to be Britain’s most dangerous prisoner, and has been the subject of several documentaries.


Charles Bronson was a name that represented two very different worlds: one of glamour and fame, and one of violence and isolation.

Both men had remarkable stories that captured the public’s attention, and left a lasting impression on history of cinema and crime.

They were both Charles Bronson, but they were also very different from each other.

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