Birthday Boy! Mr. T–Born on May 21, 1952!

mr. t birthday mdm may 21

He was born today as Laurence Tureaud, but the world knows and loves him as Mr. T–who’s turning 61 years old as a self-willed creation. It took a lot of will power, too. Laurence had grown up very poor. Mr. T once even said, “As a kid, I got three meals a day. Oatmeal, miss-a-meal and no meal.” As a young man, Laurence had originally joined the Army, and was dreaming of being a professional football player. He was trying out for a football team called the Green Bay Packers when he had a bad knee injury that put an end to that idea.

That was when Laurence started a new job as a professional bodyguard. It was his job to work with celebrities and help guide them through crowds. Laurence began to call himself “Mr. T,” and wore lots of gold jewelry. He also put his hair into a mohawk. That interesting look meant that he was soon being photographed regularly with the celebrities that he was protecting.

The actor Sylvester Stallone saw Mr. T and was inspired to cast him as evil wrestler Clubber Lang for Rocky 3. (Hulk Hogan also showed up as a minor bad guy called Thunderlips.) Mr. T followed that role up with some other acting jobs, and then landed a role as B.A. Baracus on the 1980s television show The A-Team. (“B.A.” stood for “Bad Attitude.”) That role allowed Mr. T to show off some unexpected comedy talents, and he was soon a hero to kids everywhere.

Mr. T turned out to be great with kids, and was even honored with his own breakfast cereal. Now all those kids in the 1980s have grown up, and they still love seeing Mr. T. He’s often cast in commercials to play himself–whether as a really nice man or as the gruff guy who intones, “I pity the fool!” Now anew generation of kids have heard Mr. T’s distinctive voice in the animated cartoon Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

Here are a few moments from Mr. T’s very distinctive showbiz career. Some of them are funny, and some of them are strange, but they’re all fun because they all have Mr. T…

mr. t birthday may 21 cereal