Mr. T

From Academic Kids

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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 movie, Rocky III.

In The A-Team, he played Bosco "Bad Attitude" (or "B.A.") Baracus, an ex-army commando on the run with three others members from the US government "for crimes they didn't commit". Tureaud is famous for his trademark Mohawk-style haircut and for the many gold chains he wears around his neck. His catch phrase, "I pity the fool!", comes from Rocky III, where he played a boxer facing Rocky Balboa in a match. When asked if he hated Rocky, he replied, "I don't hate Balboa, I pity the fool." His comment on the match, "There's gonna be a lot of pain," became another catch phrase.

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. "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. 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."

At 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) tall, Mr. T weighs somewhere between 216 and 237 lb (98 and 108 kg). His gold jewelry is genuine and worth around $300,000. He acquired the jewelry during his stint as a bouncer, where he would take jewelry from disorderly people and wear them himself. His jewelry is mostly a testament to how well he performed his job as a bouncer. It takes him about an hour to put it on, and most nights he cleans it in an ultrasonic cleaner although some nights he sleeps in it "to see how my ancestors, who were slaves, felt." Mr. T sold most of his jewelry during his bout with cancer, but has appeared on television wearing his signature gold chains since then. He 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. Tureaud was diagnosed in 1995 with T-cell lymphoma.



Laurence Tureaud was born in Chicago, the second to youngest 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.

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. Another theory is that Mr. T wanted his hair cut in the shape of a "T," so that when people asked him his name, he would show them the "T" on his head. However, the haircut went awry, so, to save face, he decided to say that he cut his hair in the same fashion as the Mandinka warriors.

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.

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.

"Mr. T" entered the world of professional wrestling in 1985 and returned to it in 1994. He was Hulk Hogan's tag-team partner at the first WrestleMania. 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.

Recent events

Mr. T is famous on the Internet for two phenomena that were created to honor him. The first, "Mr. T Ate My Balls" quickly became applied to other celebrities. The other, "Mr. T. vs..." is a phenomenon of web pages depicting Mr. T fighting other celebrities, political figures, fictional characters, and other famous people in multi-page online comic books, made with rather substandard photo editing and doctoring techniques. Mr. T traditionally wins the contest, later to relax with a glass of milk.

Mr. T also has a cameo role in the Nintendo video game EarthBound. A picture can be found here (

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 clown!" and is amused by his opponent's "jibber-jabber."

Mr. T is a born-again Christian, and he frequently appears on the TBN Christian television series. He recently was the subject of a sketch on British comedy show Little Britain. He is also the subject of recurring Robert Smigel sketch on Saturday Night Live, in which Mr. T and a group of teenagers drive around in a van, la Scooby-Doo, and have adventures while Mr. T tries to find work. He has also appeared in commercials for MCI's 1-800-COLLECT collect-call service.

He lives in Sherman Oaks, California, and is single. Mr. T still seeks acting jobs and has had small roles in several films. There is currently a campaign to have Mr T on LBC, a London-based radio station, all carried out by Iain Lee, a famous non-Scottish comedian. Iain is one of T's most avid supporters and has bestowed upon him the acclaimed title of "bruwyant". He is also best friends with Roger Sapp.




  • "I pity the fool, thug, or soul who tries to take over the world and then goes home cryin' to his momma."
  • "Shut up, fool!"
  • "As a kid, I got three meals a day. Oatmeal, miss-a-meal and no meal."
  • "When I was growing up, my family was so poor we couldn't afford to pay attention."
  • "I believe in the Golden Rule - The Man with the Gold... Rules."
  • "I got no time for the jibba-jabba." (or "Quit yo' jibba-jabba.")
  • "Hey, sucka!"
  • "I ain't getting on no plane, Hannibal!" --as B.A. Baracus
  • "It takes a smart guy to play dumb."
  • "First name Mr, middle name period, last name T"
  • "Don't give me no back talk, sucka!"
  • "Don't make me mad, grrrrrrrr!"
  • "Dead Meat."
  • "Everybody's got to wear clothes. If you don't, you'll get arrested." -- from his 1984 video, "Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool"
  • "With her mustard socks and her ketchup sash, she is a real hot dog." -- from his 1984 video, "Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool"

External links

sv:Mr. T


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