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Mr. T.'s Cancer Battle
By Joal Ryan May 5th 1998
Mr. T--once the stuff that breakfast cereals, action figures and Saturday morning cartoon shows were made of--is now a cancer patient with about $200 in the bank.
But true to his tough-guy style, The A-Team enforcer isn't looking for pity.
"I try to be upbeat," the 45-year-old Mohawk aficionado tells Entertainment Tonight. "When people watch this, I want them to be uplifted." The Mr. T interview airs on tonight's instalment of the infotainment show.
The former Lawrence Tureaud was diagnosed with lymphoma--cancer of the lymph system--in 1995. He says the toughest thing about battling the disease wasn't its effect on him, but its effect on his family.
"The hardest part was telling my mom," he tells ET.
Mr. T invites the TV crew to join him for a visit to the hospital. The man who once tried to talk sense into Arnold Drummond on Diff'rent Strokes says he's determined that love will see him through this latest challenge.
"Love, love, love--I can't but get better," he says. "This is what gives me the strength to go to the hospital."
Mr. T's bank account could use a boost, too.
"I'm probably broke," the Initialed One tells ET. "I've probably got $200 in the bank."
What of all that blinding gold poundage he used to wear around his neck?
"I gave it to my family for them to sell, make money, whatever they want to do," he says. "Material stuff...You can only take it to the grave, not past the grave."
Mr. T rose from the Chicago ghetto to become a bodyguard to the stars, providing muscle for the likes of Steve McQueen and Diana Ross. Sylvester Stallone "discovered" him in 1982 in a TV bit about "The World's Toughest Bouncer" contest on the Real People wannabe, Games People Play. Stallone cast T as bad-attitude boxer Clubber Lang in Rocky III.
The A-Team followed in 1983. (Well, D.C. Cab followed, too, but nobody saw that.) For five seasons, Mr. T played Sgt. B.A. ("Bad Attitude") Barracus, becoming a tubeland icon--or joke--along the way. He even coined a T-shirt-friendly catch-phrase: "I pity the fool!"
The jobs dried up by the late 1980s. His last primetime appearance came in a 1997 bit on Suddenly Susan.
Mel Gibson is said to have starring dibs in a long-planned A-Team big-screen movie. (He'd play the George Peppard role.)
While fans organise a write-in campaign to win film parts for the series' original (surviving) stars, Mr. T is busy with his own campaign. For health.
Source : eOnline
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