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.
In this 2006 interview, Mr. T gives an in-depth look at his past and how he became a fixture in 80s and 90s pop culture.
Need help? Look no further than Mr. T in this TV Land series; Mr. T takes on the role of a one-man A-Team, helping fans "<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0494722/" target "_hplink">in need of change</a>" with a brand of love that's more motivational than pitying.
Leaving his job as a nightclub bouncer in his native Chicago, Mr. T became a celebrity body guard, charging more than $3,000 to protect stars like Diana Ross, Steve McQueen and Muhammad Ali.
After "Rocky III," Mr. T entered the wrestling world as popular wrestler Hulk Hogan's tag-team partner.
Mr. T and his band of crime-fighting gymnasts saved the day from 1983 to 1985.
In 1985, Mr. T joined the cast of a new show called <em>The A-Team</em>, which followed the do-good deeds of four Vietnam vets framed for a crime they didn't commit on the run from the military.
Due to a bout with cancer, Mr. T kept his appearances to commercials before returning to the small and big screens in the later 2000s.