Mr. T (born Laurence Tureaud, May 21, 1952) is an actor mostly known for his roles in the 1980s television series The A-Team and as boxer Clubber Lang in the 1982 film Rocky III.

Biography Edit

Laurence Tureaud was born in Chicago, Illinois, the eleventh of twelve children; he and his four sisters and seven brothers grew up in the city's housing projects. He was a college football star, studied martial arts, and won a scholarship to Prairie View A&M University, Texas, but was thrown out after a year. After that he went to a couple of small Chicago colleges on athletic scholarships. After leaving college he was a Military Policeman in the U.S. Army before trying out for the Green Bay Packers. His professional football career was finished, however, by a knee injury. After this, his aspirations were set higher - the first in his family to become a Broadway dancer. He began on his journey by making connections to the celebrity community.

For about nine years Mr. T was a bodyguard to the stars, protecting such well-known personalities as Muhammad Ali, Michael Jackson, and Diana Ross. He charged around $3,000 a day and his business card famously read, "Next to God, there is no better protector than I." He always boasts that he never lost a client, saying, "I got hurt worse growing up in the ghetto than working as a bodyguard."

In 1970 he changed his name by deed poll from Laurence Tureaud to Laurence Tero and then in 1980 to "Mr. T" so that people would have to address him as "Mr." It was while reading National Geographic that Mr. T first saw the unusual hairstyle for which he is now famous, on an African Mandinka warrior. He decided that adopting the style was a powerful statement about his African origins.

During his stint as a doorman, he would take jewelry from disorderly people and wear them himself as a testament to how well he performed his job as a bouncer. At one point, his gold chains, rings, and bracelets were worth about $300,000. It took him about an hour to put it on, and most nights he cleaned it in an ultrasonic cleaner although some nights he slept in it "to see how my ancestors, who were slaves, felt."

In 1986 Mr. T removed many trees from his mansion in Lake Forest, Illinois explaining that he had allergies. This created a large controversy and led several North Shore communities to enact ordinances making the removal of old growth trees illegal.

In 2005, Mr T announced he would never wear his chains again saying, “No, T, you can never wear your gold again. It's an insult to God." He came to this decision after seeing the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Mr. T also donated a great deal of clothing and money to Katrina victims. He has been reported to be working on a new reality television show for TV Land, called I Pity the Fool [1], which will find the devout Christian assisting those in need.

Mr. T currently lives in Sherman Oaks, California, and is single. He is a born again Christian.

Acting roles and work Edit


Hulk Hogan and Mr. T at the first WrestleMania

In 1982 Mr. T was spotted by Sylvester Stallone while taking part in "The World's Toughest Bouncer" contest. His role in Rocky III was originally intended as just a few lines, but Stallone built up the part around the man. His catch phrase, "I pity the fool!" comes from the film, where he played a boxer facing Rocky Balboa in a match. When asked if he hated Rocky, he replied, "I don't hate Balboa, but I pity the fool."

Mr. T also appeared in another boxing film, Penitentiary 2, and in a cable television special, Bizarre, before accepting the role of B.A. in The A-Team.

In The A-Team, he played Sergeant Bosco "Bad Attitude" Baracus, an ex-army commando on the run with three other members from the U.S. government "for crimes they didn't commit". When asked at a press conference whether he was as stupid as B.A. Baracus, he observed quietly, "It takes a smart guy to play dumb."

A Ruby-Spears produced cartoon called Mr. T premiered in 1983 on NBC. The Mr. T cartoon starred Mr. T as himself, the owner of a gym where a group of gymnasts trained. He would help them with their training, but they would also help him solve mysteries and fight crime. Sixteen episodes were produced.

"Be somebody, or be somebody's fool"

In 1984, Mr. T made a motivational video called "Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool." He gives helpful advice to children throughout the video; for example, he teaches them how to understand and appreciate their origins, how to dress fashionably without buying designer labels, how to control their anger, and how to deal with peer pressure. The video is roughly one hour long, but contains 30 minutes of singing, either by the mob of children accompanying Mr. T, or by Mr. T himself. Mr. T sings "Treat Your Mother Right (Treat Her Right)," (video available here) in which he enumerates the reasons why it is important to treat your mother right, and also raps a song about growing up in the ghetto and praising God. The raps in this video were written by Ice T. That same year he released a related rap album titled Mr. T's Commandments.

Professional Wresling Era

He entered the world of professional wrestling in 1985. He was Hulk Hogan's tag-team partner at the first WrestleMania. Hulk Hogan wrote in his autobiography that Mr. T almost ruined the main event of WrestleMania I between them and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff, because when he arrived, security would not let his entourage into the building. Mr. T was ready to skip the show until Hogan personally talked him out of leaving. Roddy Piper mentioned that he and other fellow wrestlers legitimately disliked Mr. T, because he was an actor coming into wrestling, and had not paid his dues as a professional wrestler. He returned to the World Wrestling Federation as a special guest referee in 1987, before disappearing from the wrestling world. He reappeared as a special referee for a Hogan-Ric Flair match, seven years later, in October 1994.

Mr. T was once reported to be earning around $80,000 a week for his role in The A-Team and getting $15,000 for personal appearances, but by the end of the 1990s, he was appearing only in the occasional commercial, largely because of health problems (in 1995, he was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma). He still seeks acting jobs and has had small roles in several films. He frequently appears on the TBN Christian television series. He has appeared in commercials for MCI's 1-800-COLLECT collect-call service, and on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

Album Edit


Album cover to Mr. T's Commandments.

Mr. T in 1984 released a rap album titled Mr. T's Commandments much in the same tone as his '84 educational video which instructs children to stay in school and to stay away from drugs.

Track Listing

  1. Mr. T's Commandments
  2. Come on Over Here Boy
  3. The Toughest Man in the World
  4. Mr. T, Mr. T (He Was Made for Loving)
  5. The One and Only Mr. T
  6. No Dope No Drugs
  7. Lookin' Mighty Cute in Them Jeans
  8. Stay Away From My Buns

Album length: 5:31:14

References in pop culture Edit

  • He was the subject of a sketch on British comedy show Little Britain and cult show Bo' Selecta!.
  • He was the subject of recurring "The All New Adventures Of Mr. T" sketch on Saturday Night Live by Robert Smigel, in which Mr. T and a group of teenagers drive around in a van, à la Scooby-Doo, and have adventures while Mr. T tries to find work.
  • On the Internet, Mr. T. vs...are web pages depicting Mr. T fighting other celebrities, political figures, fictional characters, and other famous people in multi-page online comic books. Mr. T traditionally wins the contest, later to relax with a glass of milk. [2]
  • In 2002 He appeared fittingly in the "Pass the Courvoisier" music video for Busta Rhymes, P. Diddy and Pharrell Williams.
  • The 2004 Veggie Tales DVD Sumo of the Opera is a parody of the Rocky franchise and features a character, Po Ta To, based on Mr. T's role in Rocky III as Clubber Lang. Po Ta To sports a mohawk similar to Mr. T's, utters the catchphrase, "I pity the fool!" and is amused by his opponent's "jibber-jabber."
  • In the UK, Mr T appeared as a pixellated character on Digitiser, a cult video games magazine shown on Channel 4 Teletext from 1993 to 2003. He would appear on the service's letters page, dispensing advice to children which would usually end in him warning viewers to "Stay away from my bins". Viewers could also write in comments about Mr T.
  • There was a campaign to have Mr. T on LBC, a London-based radio station, all carried out by Iain Lee, a British comedian. Eventually, Iain Lee read out a letter which had been sent by Mr. T's Agent which stated "Mr. T would not like to take part in a local radio station." As a result Iain Lee's LBC producer is no longer using sound bites of Mr T. [3]
  • In the video game Crash Tag Team Racing, the Crunch Bandicoot character seems to style himself after Mr. T, complete with an unlockable costume that makes him look like Mr. T. Also, he often says "Quit with yo jibber-jabber!".
  • Several "Mr. T Facts" have appeared around the Internet, similar to the popular Chuck Norris Facts.
  • Mr. T jokes have been made often in issues of Nintendo Power magazine.
  • Mr. T has also been referred to in the animated comedy, Family Guy, numerous times. In "Fore Father" from season 2, Mr. T. birds hallucinogenically appear to Stewie. News anchor Tom Tucker quotes Mr. T. in "The Kiss Seen Around the World" saying, "Remember kids, Mr. T says, 'I pity the fool who does drugs.'". The episode "Brian Goes Back To College" from season 4 is dedicated to the A-Team, as Peter and his neighbours are inspired to form their own version of an "A-Team" and set to "help out the community", after winning a fancy dress competition dressed as them. African-American slow-speaking neighbour, Cleveland Brown, sports B.A. Baracus' hairdo, attire, and jewelry.
  • In the SNES game EarthBound, known for its quirky portrayal of the West, there is an NPC sprite which clearly resembles Mr. T.

Filmography Edit


External linksEdit

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