Celebrity Then And Now

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ed in 1999 after a decade as the highest rated sitcom in primetime, Thomas had already departed the show in the
Mr. T

Name: Mr. T Birthdate: 1952-05-21
Famous Years: 1982 – 1988 Currently Known For: Actor, Retired Professional Wrestler, Motivational Speaker, Television Personality
Networth: $1.5 Million
Famous For: The A-Team, Rocky III and WrestleMania

“I pity the fool!” MR T. an iconic figure of the 1980s known for his signature Mohawk, gold chains and tough guy act, Lawrence Tureaud was born in Chicago, Illinois as the youngest of 12 children in 1952. Growing up in a poverty-stricken community and often witnessing murder and a long list of other crimes, the young Tureaud was determined to rise above and proved to be a standout athlete in high school, which earned him a football scholarship to Prairie View A&M University. Expelled after his first year, he joined the army where he blossomed as “Top Trainee” and squad leader.

Rising the ranks of the army fairly quickly, Tureaud was eventually discharged and set out to join the NFL’s Green Bay Packers but didn’t make the cut due to a knee injury. He then put his massive tough-guy stature to use when he worked as a bouncer and reinvented himself as the jewelry-wearing Mr. T. As luck would have it, Mr. T was so successful at being a bouncer that the hotshots in Hollywood came calling and he transitioned from bouncer to bodyguard for high profile clients like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. Before he accepted any client, however, he made one promise. “I did everything except guarantee people’s lives, but I guarantee you that I will give my life protecting yours.”

Mr. T continued to build his reputation and eventually appeared in Tough-Man competitions where he adopted his now-famous Mohawk haircut that the world knows and loves. Because of his growing publicity, Sylvester Stallone discovered Mr. T and asked him to join him for Rocky III as Rocky’s opponent. Looking back, Mr. T says that Clubber Lang was his absolute favorite role because it was “basically my life story. He wanted a shot, and people said he wouldn’t make it. I was in awe when they asked me to be in Rocky III because a couple years before I had watched Rocky I and II.”

Thanks to Rocky III, Mr. T became an overnight sensation and was cast as Bosco “B.A.” Baracus on the popular television series, The A-Team, in 1983. Spending the next four years on the series while making appearances on specials like Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, Mr. T built his reputation as one of the biggest tough guys in all of Hollywood and made his way to the world of professional wrestling.With the timing perfect, Mr. T was part of the first two WrestleMania events ever hosted, which likely wouldn’t have become an annual event without Mr. T headlining early on. But, that’s not just us talking! Hulk Hogan even said that Mr. T saved the event, which is now in its 32nd year. For his contributions to the wrestling industry, Mr. T was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in March 2014.

Although the 1990s and 2000s saw Mr. T’s career as an actor dwindle with minor appearances on shows like Blossom, Saturday Night Live and Inspector Gadget, he remained a public figure. In 2005, the world watched in surprise as Mr. T relinquished his iconic gold chains citing religious reasons after Hurricane Katrina ignited deep emotions in the well-known tough guy. “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.”

In the years since, Mr. T has had his own cereal and cartoon series in addition to hosting the BBC’s World’s Craziest Fools from 2011 to 2013 that documented criminals failing to get the job done. There were even talks that he would have his own show called I Pity the Fool but none of the major networks expressed any interest.

Today, the 64-year-old tough guy is still as intimidating as ever although he’s enjoying a much quieter life out of the spotlight and with his children grown. Mr. T was thrilled to see his oldest son earn his bachelor’s degree and even bragged to his rival of 30 years, Rowdy Roddy Piper. Bonding over both their sons’ accomplishments, the two finally (and miraculously) buried the hatchet months before Piper’s death in 2015.But, Mr. T’s pride doesn’t stop with his son. With showbiz obviously running in the family, Mr. T’s daughter, Erica, walked away from her job as a special needs teacher to pursue her dreams as a stand-up comedian, a decision that upset her father who was proud of her decade-long tenure in the classroom. “He wants me to be a nice teacher and get married and have kids. He doesn’t want me to do entertainment at all, so he hasn’t come to any of my shows, but he’s aware that I do it.” As for his future in entertainment, Mr. T is certainly looking for any opportunities that come his way with reality television at the top of his list.

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