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Joe Lewis (Martial Artist)
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Martial Artist
    (March 7, 1944-August 31, 2012)
    Born in Knightdale, North Carolina
    World Heavyweight Karate Champion and United States Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion
    Appeared in the films 'Jaguar Lives!' (1979), 'Force: Five' (1981) and 'Mr. X' (1995)
    Asked about different styles of martial arts, he said that to him there was only one style, 'punching and kicking.'
    As winner of the first World Professional Karate Championship (1968), he received a purse of $1.
    He was married to actress Barbara Leigh for less than a year.
    He was originally cast as the villain in 'Way of the Dragon' but he had a falling out with star Bruce Lee and was replaced by Chuck Norris.
    His explanation for why his film career never took off was 'Hollywood is full of con-artists, liars, cheaters and manipulators. It was hard for me to function in that world of deceit.'
    He served with the Marines in Vietnam.
    He was the first kickboxer featured in 'Sports Illustrated' and the boxing magazine 'The Ring.'
    He wrote an article about self-defense for older Americans in 'Parade' magazine (1995).
    Even as a senior citizen, he had some impressive guns.
    In a 1983 poll of competitors and promoters, he was named the greatest karate fighter of all time. (Bill 'Superfoot' Wallace and Chuck Norris tied for second.)

Credit: C. Fishel

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