Mr. T  (born Laurence Tureaud; May 21, 1952) is the actor who plays Clubber Lang in Rocky III, the third film installment in the Rocky film series. Mr. T is also widely known by television viewers for his role as Sgt. B.A. Baracus in the NBC-TV action series The A-Team, which he appeared in for five seasons, from 1983-1987.
Mr. T is known for his trademark African Mandinka warrior hairstyle, his gold jewelry, and his tough-guy image. In 2006 he starred in the reality show I Pity the Fool, shown on TV Land, the title of which comes from the catchphrase of his Clubber Lang character in Rocky III.
Born in Chicago, Illinois as the youngest son in a family with twelve children, his father, Nathaniel Tureaud Sr., was a minister. Tureaud, with his four sisters and seven brothers, grew up in a three-room apartment in one of the city's housing projects, the Robert Taylor Homes, in a poorly constructed building, in an area with high levels of environmental pollutants and the largest concentration of poverty in America. While growing up, Tureaud regularly witnessed murder, rape, and other crimes, but attributes his survival and later success to his will to do well and his mother's love. Tureaud attended Dunbar Vocational High School,  where he played football, wrestled, and studied martial arts. While at Dunbar he became the city-wide wrestling champion two years in a row. He won a football scholarship to Prairie View A&M University, where he majored in mathematics, but was expelled after his first year. He then enlisted in the United States Army and served in the Military Police (MP) Corps. In November 1975, Tureaud was awarded a letter of recommendation by his drill sergeant, and in a cycle of six thousand troops Tureaud was elected "Top Trainee of the Cycle" and was also promoted to squad leader. In July 1976, Tureaud's platoon sergeant punished him by giving him the detail of chopping down trees during training camp at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, but did not tell him how many trees, so Tureaud single-handedly chopped down over seventy trees from 6:30 am to 10:00 am, until a shocked major superseded the sergeant's orders.
After his discharge, he tried out for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League, but failed to make the team due to a knee injury. Tureaud next worked as a bouncer. It was at this time that he created the persona of Mr. T.His wearing of gold neck chains and other jewelry was the result of customers losing the items or leaving them behind at the night club after a fight. A customer, who may have been banned from the club or trying to avoid another confrontation, would not have to re-enter the club if Mr. T wore their jewelry as he stood out front. When a customer returned to claim the item, it was readily visible and available with no further confrontation required. Along with controlling the violence as a doorman, Tureaud was mainly hired to keep out drug dealers and users. During his bouncing days, Mr.T was in over 200 fights and was sued a number of times,Template:Vague but won each case. "I have been in and out of the courts as a result of my beating up somebody. I have been sued by customers whom I threw out that claimed that I viciously attacked them without just cause and/or I caused them great bodily harm as a result of a beating I supposedly gave them," Mr. T once remarked.
He eventually parlayed his job as a bouncer into a career as a bodyguard that lasted almost ten years. During these years he protected, among others, sixteen prostitutes, nine welfare recipients, five preachers, eight bankers, ten school teachers, and four store owners. As his reputation improved, however, he was contracted to guard, among others, seven clothes designers, five models, seven judges, three politicians, six athletes and forty-two millionaires. He protected well-known personalities such as Muhammad Ali, Steve McQueen, Michael Jackson, Leon Spinks, Joe Frazier and Diana Ross, charging $3,000 per day,to a maximum of $10,000 per day, depending on the clientele's risk-rate and traveling locations.
Acting roles and work
While reading National Geographic, Mr. T first noticed the unusual hairstyle for which he is now famous, on a Mandinka warrior. He decided that adoption of the style would be a powerful statement about his African origin. It was a simpler, safer and more permanent visual signature than his gold chains, rings, and bracelets. The gold jewelry was worth about $300,000 at the time and took him about an hour to put on. Most nights, Mr. T spent even more time cleaning them using an ultrasonic cleaner. Occasionally, he slept with the heavy neck chains and bracelets on, "to see how my ancestors, who were slaves, felt."
In 1980, Mr. T was spotted by future Rocky III castmate Sylvester Stallone while taking part in NBC's "America's Toughest Bouncer" competition, a segment of NBC's Games People Play. Although his role in Rocky III was originally intended as just a few lines, Mr. T was eventually cast as Clubber Lang, the primary antagonist. His catchphrase "I pity the fool!" comes from the film; when asked if he hates Rocky, Lang replies, "No, I don't hate Balboa, but I pity the fool." Subsequently, after losing out on the role of the title character's mentor in The Beastmaster, Mr. T appeared in another boxing film, Penitentiary 2, and on an episode of the Canadian sketch comedy series Bizarre, where he fights and eats Super Dave Osborne, before accepting a television series role on The A-Team
Mr. T entered the world of pro wrestling in 1985. He was Hulk Hogan's tag-team partner at the World Wrestling Federation's (WWF) first WrestleMania which he won. Hulk Hogan wrote in his autobiography that Mr. T saved 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. Piper has said that he and other fellow wrestlers disliked Mr. T because he was an actor and had never paid his dues as a professional wrestler.
Remaining with the WWF (now known as the WWE), Mr. T became a special "WWF boxer" in light of his character in Rocky III. He took on "Cowboy" Bob Orton on the March 1, 1986 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, on NBC. This boxing stunt ultimately culminated in another boxing match against Roddy Piper at WrestleMania 2. Mr. T returned to the World Wrestling Federation as a special guest referee in 1987 as well as a special referee enforcer confronting such stars as the Honky Tonk Man.
On July 21, 1989, Mr. T. made an appearance in World Class Championship Wrestling, seconding the late wrestler Kerry Von Erich.
Five years later, Mr. T reappeared as a special referee for a Hogan-Ric Flair match, in October 1994, at WCW's Halloween Havoc, and then went on to wrestle again, defeating Kevin Sullivan at that year's Starrcade 1994.
Another seven years later Mr. T appeared in the front row of the November 19, 2001, episode of WWF Raw.
Now a born-again Christian.Mr.T gave up virtually all his gold, one of his identifying marks, after helping with the cleanup after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He said, "As a Christian, when I saw other people lose their lives and lose their land and property...I felt that it would be a sin before God for me to continue wearing my gold. I felt it would be insensitive and disrespectful to the people who lost everything, so I stopped wearing my gold."
- ↑ Dunn, Brad (2006). When They Were 22: 100 Famous People at the Turning Point in Their Lives. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 150. ISBN 0-7407-5810-1.
- ↑ Kleban, Barbara. "article on Mr. T's family ties". People.com. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20088784,00.html. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
- ↑ Mr. T, Mr. T: The Man with the Gold (St. Martin's Press, New York City), p. 41. ISBN 0-312-55089-8
- ↑ Mr. T, p. 40
- ↑ "Dunbar at a glance." Chicago Sun-Times. December 29, 1993. 76.
- ↑ "Biography.com". Biography.com. http://www.biography.com/articles/Mr.-T-413140. Retrieved 2010-08-18.
- ↑ Mr. T, p. 117
- ↑ Mr. T, p. 76
- ↑ Walters, Barbara. "Mr. T: Tough and Tender in Barbara Walters Interview". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 65 (26): 56. ISSN 0021-5996. "Mr. T: I changed my name for respect because I watched my father being called "boy""
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Mr. T, p. 136
- ↑ "Mr. T view the Music Artists Biography Online". Vh1.com. http://www.vh1.com/artists/az/mister_t_1_/bio.jhtml. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
- ↑ Mentioned in a number of interviews, including Mr. T: Pity The Fool, allhiphop.com, Published Thursday, November 09, 2006. Mr. T gives a 1977 date, for an article with photos on the Mandinka in Mali. National Geographic Magazine's index has no record of such an article. Nationalgeographic.com
- ↑ "TVacres.com". TVacres.com. http://www.tvacres.com/jewelry_mr_t.htm. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
- ↑ "Biography of Mr. T". Starpulse.com. 1939-11-16. http://www.starpulse.com/Actors/Mr._T/Biography/. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
- ↑ "Kerry Von Erich & Mr. T interview". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKT13vl-Ejs&feature=player_embedded. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- ↑ "Slashwrestling.com". Slashwrestling.com. 2001-11-19. http://slashwrestling.com/raw/011119.html. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
- ↑ "Words of Wisdom from Mr. T". Beliefnet. http://www.beliefnet.com/story/201/story_20189_1.html. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
- ↑ . February 25, 2009. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Showbiz-News/A-Team-Star-Mr-T-Decides-To-Stop-Wearing-Gold-Jewellery-Out-Of-Respect-For-Hurricane-Katrina-Victims/Article/200902415229268. Retrieved June 15, 2011.