Whenever you think about Mr. T, the mind conjures images of his distinctive mohawk, his penchant for pitying fools, and his impressive array of gold chains.

Yet, beyond the star’s striking appearance lies a deeper significance to Mr. T’s iconic jewelry, coupled with a poignant reason why he stopped donning his gold chains for years.

Born Laurence Tureaud, Mr. T’s journey to stardom began after his military discharge.

After his aspirations of joining the NFL were thwarted by a knee injury, he found employment as a nightclub doorman, where he first started to hone his persona. After his appearance on a TV show called America’s Toughest Bouncer caught Sylvester Stallone’s eye, he was given the memorable portrayal of Clubber Lang in Rocky III in 1982.


Mr T is known for his iconic gold chains. Credit: Bob Riha Jr / Getty


As recounted in his 1984 autobiography – Mr. T: The Man with the Gold – his collection of gold chains burgeoned alongside his fame. During his time as a doorman, Mr. T acquired the chains from patrons who either lost them at the bar or left them behind after a fight.

The A-Team star purportedly offered to return the chains but apparently received few takers, given his imposing stature and tough demeanor. At the height of his fame, he reportedly wore over $300,000 of gold around his neck, which took him over an hour to put on, according to Sky News.

For Mr. T, these chains held profound symbolism. He wrote: “The reason why I wear gold – I wear gold for three reasons. One, when Jesus was born, three wise men came from the east: one brought frankincense, one brought myrrh, the other one brought gold.

“The second reason I wear gold is I can afford it. The third reason I wear it, it’s symbolic of my African heritage.

“When my ancestors came from Africa, they were shackled by our neck, our wrists, and our ankles in steel chains. I’ve turned those steel chains into gold to symbolize the fact that I’m still a slave, only my price tag is higher.”


Mr. T (pictured here in 2006) revealed why he stopped wearing his gold chains. Credit: Jeff Kravitz / Getty


However, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina prompted a momentous decision. Moved by the tragedy and guided by his Christian faith, Mr. T chose to retire his gold chains as a gesture of solidarity with the hurricane’s victims. “It would be a sin against God for me to wear my gold when so many people lost everything,” he explained to the New York Daily News. “The gold don’t make me, I make the gold.”

“Sure, it’s my trademark, but I am the same person whether I’m wearing the gold or not. My moral values are the same. The gold don’t make me, I make the gold,” he added.


Mr. T is once again wearing his gold chains. Credit: Tommaso Boddi / Stringer / Getty


In recent years, Mr. T has once again donned his iconic gold chains – but this doesn’t take away from the fact that although many associate the actor with his tough guy persona, the star really does have a heart of gold.

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