Hollywood stars are often surrounded by glamor, giving the impression that every celebrity is a born star.
However, this is undoubtedly not always the case, and Charles Bronson, a great Hollywood actor, was not one of them.Charles Dennis Buchinsky, Bronson’s birth name, had a terrible life overall and a particularly difficult childhood growing up in a coal mining community in Croyle Township, about 60 miles from Pittsburgh.
He grew up with another 14 siblings, ranking ninth out of a total of 15. Even though the cost of raising a single child is well known, consider the strain on a family who is extremely low income. For Bronson, this was precisely the situation.
The modest, company-built cabin where Bronson and the large family resided was only a few yards from the coal car tracks. They had to alternate taking turns sleeping because the house was too small to accommodate such a large family.
“There was no love in my house,” he said. “The only physical contact I had with my mother was when she took me between her knees to pull the lice out of my hair.”
The town as a whole was a fairly dreary and forlorn place, serving solely business officials who sought to facilitate the coal mining and maximize profits. However, it wasn’t just the Bronson family who had it rough.
There wasn’t much natural beauty, the water quality wasn’t great, and the future looked bleak. The fact that Bronson has portrayed his childhood as being lonely and unpleasant is not surprising.
Around the time Bronson was a teenager and his father passed away, things became more and more challenging. He was accustomed to bartering for pennies, but he suddenly had to drop out of school to help his family. Getting a job as a coal miner is the only logical conclusion to be drawn from this.
Even as an adult, Bronson was plagued by the memories of this time in his life. He would never forget the arduous labor or the overpowering coal odor that filled his nostrils. Bronson had the impression that he was inhaling black dust while living on his hands and knees.
He frequently remembered the numerous headaches and how hard and filthy his hands were when working as a miner. According to Bronson, he was born with a shovel in his mouth rather than a spoon.
Above the bodily effects, however, was a psychological effect that was much more severe: his time spent working as a coal miner left him with a severe inferiority complex.
“During my years as a miner, I was just a kid, but I was convinced that I was the lowliest of all forms of man,” he said.
In reality, according to Bronson, all of the coal miners in his area shared the same complex; they believed that steelworkers and railroad workers were the ‘elite’ and that they were the lowest class of human beings.
“Very few people know what it is like to live down there underneath the surface of the world, in that total blackness.”