Mr. T, the mohawk-rocking, gold-chain-wearing, fool-pitying maniac, is 60 years old today. In honor of the beloved television star, here are five facts you might not have known. Quit yer jibber jabber and read on, sucka.
What’s up with the gold chains?
Mr. T isn’t just about bling. The chains serve a purpose. Historically, Mr. T wore them in honor of African slaves who were forced to wear chains. In his biography, he explained, “The gold chains are a symbol that reminds me of my great African ancestors, who were brought over here as slaves with iron chains on their ankles, their wrists, their necks and sometimes around their waists. I turned my chains into gold…”
Does Mr. T still wear gold?
After 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, Mr. T thought it would be an insult to wear the jewelry while others were so clearly suffering. According to a 2005 interview with USA Today, Mr. T said, “Because of the situation we’re in now (after Katrina), I told myself, ‘No, T, you can never wear your gold again.’ It’s an insult to God.”
See Mr. T in action in this vintage episode of “The A-Team”:
What’s Mr. T’s real name?
Mr. T was born Laurence Tureaud, but he changed his name to Mr. T in 1982. “When I was old enough to change my name, I changed it to Mr. T so that the first word out of someone’s mouth was ‘Mister,’ a sign of respect,” he remarked.
Is there symbolism to Mr. T’s mohawk?
His signature hairstyle comes from the Mandinka tribe of Africa. He first came across the idea for it when he saw a Mandinka warrior in an issue of National Geographic back in 1977. “I saw the warrior standing there with his spear and his beads around his neck and whatnot and the stuff on his ankles. That was what gave me the idea. I said, ‘Wow, let me bring respect to them,'” Mr. T said.
Does Mr. T sing?
We’re glad you asked. Check out this video and bask in the glory that is Mr. T singing about respecting your mother. Happy birthday, Mr. Big Guy!