George Peppard was undoubtedly the most well-known actor that was part of the team, but Mr. T’s B.A. Bacarus proved to be the breakout star. Everybody wanted more of the demolitions and gun experts, and Mr. T’s salary began to reflect that, as he became the highest-paid actor on the show.
As you might have guessed, Peppard hated this fact, but he couldn’t really do much about it – it’s likely this is what led to the animosity between the two actors. Mr. T’s incredible life was all about getting the respect he thought he deserved, and the show was just one way of doing it.
A Change of Fortune
Long before "The A-Team," George Peppard was famous for something else. You've likely seen him acting alongside Audrey Hepburn in her most famous film, "Breakfast at Tiffany's." But things had not gone well for the actor since then.
Broke and facing the trials of life, Peppard had to stay squeaky clean, or he might have even landed in the slammer. More than one publication asked if he was worried the bombastic and action-filled show would hurt his career. But he replied, saying that acting as Hannibal changed everything for him and allowed him to recreate his career.
The Death of Hannibal
One of Hannibal's on-screen habits, chomping on long, noticeable cigars, was something inspired by George Peppard. It's likely that this habit led to Peppard's death at the age of sixty-five, not all too old, all things considered.
In 1992 doctors diagnosed him with lung cancer, and two years after that, he passed away after contracting pneumonia. He was slated to star in another TV show, a "Matlock" spin-off called "The P.I." He left behind one wife, Laura Taylor, and four ex-wives. Due to excessive smoking, he had to have a part of one lung removed and then quit smoking, but it was too little, too late.
Don't Pity This Fool
Few lives are more fascinating than that of Mr. T. He was born Laurence Tureaud, and the moment he turned eighteen, he changed it to the now-famous moniker we all know him by.
Growing up in the fifties and sixties, Mr. T experienced plenty of intolerance, and so he was determined to get respect, even if it meant changing his name, so people had to call him “Mr.” Before he broke into acting, Mr. T worked as a bouncer at one club or another, building his image and cultivating his noteworthy mannerisms – as well as honing his body into an enviable one.
Throwing the First Punch
Mr. T's big break in Hollywood came from being cast as violent antagonist Clubber Lang in "Rocky III." In the film, he not only defeats Rocky to win the title, but he shoves Rocky's trainer Mickey Goldmill, which prompts a fatal heart attack for Mickey. In the rematch, as movie fans will know, Rocky comes back to reclaim his title.
Lang's catchphrase “I pity the fool!” is still spat by fans of "The A-Team" and Mr. T in general, despite the fact that Bacarus never utters the line. While Mr. T broke out with "Rocky III," it was "The A-Team" that made him a household name.