Old-School Ass Kicker: Mr. T Still Pities Fools

The 80s icon spoke about his training, hair and why Clubber Lang lost to Rocky.


Pity the fool who doesn’t give Mr. T his due. The Chicago native, born Lawrence Tureaud, parlayed his street-tough image into success in "The A-Team" and Rocky III, becoming a children’s role model and one of the most recognizable faces of the 1980s. In our January 2016 issue of Muscle & Fitness, we caught up with the icon to talk to him about everthing from his training, to his hair and signature chains.

M&F: Where did the Mandinka hairdo come from?

Mr. T: I was going back to my tribal roots. I did it back in ’78 or ’79 when I found out that the [African] Mandinka warriors were bold and proud. When I first started wearing it, people gave me a hard time. I couldn’t get a date! But I was a trendsetter. Now everyone wants to rock my style. 

M&F: Why all the gold chains?

I wear the gold for three reasons. When Jesus was born and the Three Wise Men visited him, one brought gold from the East. If it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me. No. 2, I wear the gold because I can afford it. The third reason is when my ancestors were brought over from Africa it was in steel chains. I wear chains of gold to symbolize that I’m still a slave only my price tag is higher.

M&F: You’re quite vocal about how everyone should respect mothers. Did you ever fight for yours?

I got a lot of detention in grammar school because somebody said something bad about my mama and wouldn’t apologize. That’s where my toughness came in.

You’re playing the role of “Mr. Guaran-T” in a new series of commercials for Fairfield Inn & Suites. Who is he? 

Basically me. If a guy stays at our hotel and he doesn’t like it, we tell him call this number and we’re going to make it right. I’m gonna be on tour for Fairfield Inn & Suites, going around to each one to make sure it’s up to snuff. I was born to play this character. If my name were Mr. M, it wouldn’t work, but since it’s Mr. T, I was waiting on them to call me! 

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