Mr. T was born Laurence Tureaud on 21 May 1952, in the rough south side ghetto of Chicago. He is the second to youngest of twelve children (he has four sisters and seven brothers) and grew up in the housing projects. His father left when Laurence was 5, and his mother raised the family on $87 a month welfare in a three-room apartment.
Mr. T’s brothers encouraged him to build up his body in order to survive in the area; he has commented, “If you think I’m big, you should see my brothers!” His mother is a religious woman who has had a strong influence on him. He says, “Any man who don’t love his momma can’t be no friend of mine.” He was an average student in school. “Most of the time,” he says, “I stared out the windows, just daydreaming. I didn’t study much because I have a photographic memory.” Apart from one spell between 5th and 7th grades when he went a little astray — playing hooky, cursing, acting tough, being disrespectful — he was a well-behaved child. (He worried about… read more