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Created by Webmaster on 17 Jun 2011 - 11:12. Pageviews : 2403

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Mr T Article

By BILL BRIOUX Toronto Sun

I pity the fool who disses Mr. T.

The T man was there in all his glory last month during the NBC portion of the network press tour. He was among several former NBC stars promoting the peacock network's 75th anniversary, which will be celebrated in May.

Among the many NBC luminaries attending the event were the entire cast of L.A. Law (which returns in a reunion movie in March), Michael Richards from Seinfeld, Betty White from The Golden Girls, Gary Owens and Ruth Buzzi from Laugh-In, and Barbara Eden from I Dream of Jeannie.

Yet it was Mr. T who drew the biggest crowd.

Still covered in gold chains (including a solid gold fork), he looks in fightin' trim in his 50th year. He was sporting a patriotic red, white and blue bandana over his trademark Mandinkas hair cut. Just don't call it a Mohawk.

"It's not punk rock, it's not a Mohawk," says Mr. T, who saw the hairstyle on an African tribe in a National Geographic magazine many years ago. "I saw them standing there with these spears and these swords. I thought, wow, powerful."

There was a time when The A-Team (1983-87) was the most powerful show on NBC. Next to junk such as Manimal and Misfits Of Science, the cartoonish adventure hour about a gang of misfit renegades seemed like The Sopranos.

For the uninitiated, Prime is offering a 10-hour A-Team marathon starting today at 1 p.m. Army boots optional.

Mr. T followed that show up with T And T, a Toronto series that lasted a couple of seasons.

"T stands for Tough, Tender and Toronto," says the man who always knows what to say.

Since that series ended, aside from a couple of noisy stints with the WWF, things are pretty quiet in T-ville. He's doing a series of 1-800 commercials and occasionally pops up as an ironic exclamation point in such recent laffers as Not Another Teen Movie.

"I've passed the test of time. I'm not a fly-by-nighter. I'm still here. It's a blessing from God," says Mr. T, working himself up to a pulpit pitch.

He explains that the three gold earrings on his right ear stand for the three wise men from the east. For the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. For faith, hope and love.

The four rings on the left ear stand for the four gospel writers. The four seasons. The four directions.

Three and four together? Seven. "Seven times Joshua marched around the walls of Jericho," he said. "Seven colours in the rainbow."

Now, trust me, on these tours you get this same shtick from Martin Sheen. T may dress funny, but nobody was laughing. There was something sweet about a guy who can cling to a character this long with such gusto.

Has he heard about the Web site posting him fighting with Osama bin Laden?

"Bring him on!" yells T. "I pity the fool!"

Is it true the producer Stephen J. Cannell plans to make a new A-Team movie without the original cast?

"Gather the kids, we're gonna march!" booms T. "I'll get them some sneakers and we're gonna fix this. I pity the fool who plays Mr. T!"

In 1995 he was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma. He's beating the disease and still putting on a show.

"My mother's house is paid for, I'm just groovy," he says.

And he is.

This extract was taken from !Jam.

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