FIFTY

Mr. T Turns 60!

05/21/2012 04:35 pm ET | Updated May 21, 2012

With an unforgettable look and a decades-spanning catchphrase, we have to tip our hats to actor, wrestler and all-around good guy Mr. T, who is celebrating his 60th birthday today.

When you're the youngest boy of a family with 12 children, you have to find a way to stand out. And Laurence Tero Tureaud did just that. After getting expelled after his freshman year at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, where he had won a football scholarship, Mr. T tried to channel his charisma and athleticism into other avenues. He worked as a military policeman briefly before trying out for the Green Bay Packers, but a "debilitating knee injury" kept Mr. T from wowing Cheeseheads on the field, according to Biography.com.

Mr. T returned to his native Chicago and found work as a bouncer at a hot nightclub in the 70s. His tough guy persona and signature look -- inspired by a National Geographic issue on the African Mandikan tribe who bear the same mohawk, and piles of gold jewelry he claimed he snagged off rude clubbers -- made him a local celebrity and helped him transition to a new role as bodyguard to stars who visited Chicago, such as Steve McQueen and Diana Ross.

Sylvester Stallone saw the star on the rise in a bouncer competition on television, and offered him the role of Clubber Lang in Rocky III (1982), which went on to gross $125 million and set Mr. T on the path to stardom. His varied career -- from star of "The A-Team" to a values-spouting rapper* to a cereal to an animated television show with gymnast crime fighters -- may have slowed down, but we pity the fool that thinks he's down for the count. (Sorry, but can you blame us?)

Take a look at the slideshow down below to see some of Mr. T's career highlights.

* Respect must be paid to commenter Toby Yeager who pointed out we neglected to mention Mr. T's music career.

Mr. T's Career Highlights
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