Charles Bronson Felt like ‘Lowliest of All Forms of Man’ When He Worked at Coal Mines as a Kid

Charles Bronson endured a challenging upbringing in a coal mining town near Pittsburgh, which left a lasting impact on him despite his later Hollywood success.

Born on November 3, 1921, in a coal camp in Croyle Township, Bronson was one of 15 children raised in a cramped company-built shack near the coal car tracks. His hometown lacked basic amenities like trees and sidewalks, existing solely to support coal mining operations.

Growing up, Bronson experienced poverty and isolation, often wearing hand-me-downs from his older sister. Tragedy struck when his father passed away during his teenage years, leading Bronson to leave school and work as a coal miner to support his family.

The grueling work left him with physical and emotional scars, fueling his determination to escape his circumstances.

Joining the army during World War II provided Bronson with an opportunity to break free from his past and pursue a new path. After the war, he pursued acting, eventually landing roles in Hollywood films.

Despite initial struggles and concerns about his name’s reception during the anti-Communist era, Bronson persevered, eventually achieving stardom with films like “Death Wish” and “Hard Times.”

Despite his professional success, Bronson struggled with the trauma of his upbringing, often avoiding intrusive or threatening situations. He was married three times, with his second wife, Jill Ireland, appearing alongside him in several films until her death from cancer in 1990.

In his later years, Bronson battled Alzheimer’s disease, a stark contrast to his vibrant past. He passed away on August 20, 2003, leaving behind a legacy as both a Hollywood icon and a survivor of a difficult upbringing.