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If you are a martial art lover or familiar with the 1973 movie Enter The Dragon, then you must be familiar with the name, John Saxon. He played the role of Roper in the movie and starred alongside the legendary Bruce Lee. John Saxon has worked on over 200 projects and has spent 60 years in the movie industry. There are so many interesting things to find out about him like his martial art skills which today keeps a lot of fans wondering if he is truly a black belt holder, and the women he has married and divorced. Let’s take a look at his professional and private life.
John Saxon’s Bio
John Saxon whose original name from birth is Carmine Orrico was born on August 5, 1935, in Brooklyn, New York in the United States. His father’s name was Antonio Orrico, and he was a dock worker while his mother’s name was Anna Orrico. By profession, John Saxon is an actor and has worked in western films and horror films. He schooled at New Utrecht High School, where he studied acting and graduated in 1953.
Married Life – Wives and Son
John has not had a stable married life. He has been married three times and his first marriage was to Mary Ann Saxon between 1967 and 1979. The marriage lasted for 12 years and was blessed with a son. About eight years after his divorce from his first wife, he got remarried to Elizabeth Saxon in 1987 and they also got divorced in 1992. He then married Gloria Martel on August 29, 2008. Gloria is an actress and is popular for the movie Bring Me The Head Of Lance Henriksen. She is also a licensed cosmetician/esthetician. Presently, the couple is still going strong but have no child together. So John Saxon’s only child is Antonio Saxon, who also is an actor and was born to him from his first marriage. Asides from being an actor, John is also a martial artist and is good in Judo and Shotokan karate.
John Saxon signed up with Universal in April 1954 and was there for 18 months before he was featured in his first movie. He starred in Running Wild (1955) where he played a role as a juvenile delinquent and in 1956, he starred in Unguarded Moment. He played a lot of teenage roles until he landed a lead role in the teen movie Rock, Pretty Baby which later became a hit and made John popular.
Saxon repeated his role in a show Summer Love which was produced in 1957. At the peak of his career, he was getting 3,000 letters a week from his fans. The positive response from the public and fans made Universal to reunite Saxon and Sandra Dee in the teen melodrama movie titled, The Restless Years (1958). He went to United Artist and played the lead role in a film about a juvenile delinquent titled Cry Tough which was produced in 1959.
Henry Wilson who was a talent agent was the one who discovered John and signed him up before taking him to California where he changed his name from Carmine Oricco to John Saxon. He worked continuously for five years including in supporting roles for films such as Unforgiven (1960) produced by John Huston, the James Stewart comedy Mr Hobbs Takes A Vacation (1962), among others.
John was a star of the television series The Bold Ones: The New Doctors from 1969 to 1972 season, he played the role of the brilliant surgeon, Theodore Stuart. When the series came to an end, he took up a role as Roper and starred alongside Bruce Lee and Jim Kelly in the movie Enter the Dragon which was produced in 1973. His more recent films include The Craving Heart (2006), Trapped Ashes (2006), War Wolves (2009), The Mercy Man (2009) and The Extra (2015).
6 Quick Facts About The Martial Artist
- John Saxon is good in Judo and Shotokan Karate. He also has a black belt in Karate.
- It was his martial arts skills that got him the role he played alongside Bruce Lee in the movie titled Enter the Dragon.
- John Saxon started acting as early as when he was 17 years old.
- He studied acting alongside famous acting coach, Stella Adler.
- His original name is Carmine Orrico before it was changed to John Saxon.
- His height is 5 ft 10 in (1.79 m).
- John Saxon’s net worth is $1.5 million.