Mr. T and Nancy Reagan, although an unlikely duo, were the best of friends. It’s not surprising that the former The A-Team star was among the mourners at her funeral on Friday, which created a frenzy of support for the actor on social media.
New York Daily News reports that Mr. T, whose real name is Laurence Tureaud, attended the former First Lady’s funeral, held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Friday. He arrived wearing a U.S. flag bandana on his head, a full camouflage outfit, and black boots. Prior to entering the library, the actor went through a full pat down by the Secret Service.
Nancy Reagan and Mr. T’s friendship dates back to the 1980s when he was invited to participate in the Reagan-created Just Say No (to drugs) campaign. After learning of her death, the 63-year-old Rocky III actor tweeted that working with the First Lady was the highlight of his career.
“That was the highlight of my career to be asked to work with the First Lady on such a great cause.”
The actor stated that working with the Reagans had nothing to do with political affiliation. Instead, he did it to help children and teens who were being pressured into using drugs.
“It wasn’t political because I am not a Republican nor am I a Democrat. But I am just a Christian brother from the hood trying to do some good. I will truly miss First Lady Nancy Reagan.”
Mr. T starred in a public service announcement (PSA) for the Just Say No campaign. The PSA quickly garnered worldwide attention due to Mr. T’s natural ability to seem scary and humorous at the same time. Prior to the Just Say No campaign, the actor also participated as Santa Claus in a 1983 White House Christmas special. Nancy Reagan playfully sat on his lap and kissed him on the forehead, captured in a touching picture that recently went viral online. Reflecting on the event in a recent interview, Mr. T said, “I was one of the wildest Santa Clauses they ever had. I had my cut-off sleeves. I had my combat boots on.”
Both Mr. T and Nancy Reagan were extremely passionate about the anti-drug campaign, and although many people mocked it and thought of it as too simplistic, the former First Lady helped drive cocaine abuse to its lowest levels in 10 years, in 1988. During the same year, Nancy Reagan shared her views on drugs and how she felt it was affecting the children of the 1980s.
“Drugs take away the dream from every child’s heart and replace it with a nightmare, and it’s time we in America stand up and replace those dreams.”
In 1989, Mr. T attended the Nancy Reagan Center drug treatment charity dinner in San Fernando Valley, California. When former President Ronald Reagan left the White House the same year, Mr. T continued to work on the anti-drug campaign.
Along with Mr. T, numerous other celebrities and political figures attended the former First Lady’s funeral, including Diane Sawyer, Tom Selleck, Arnold Schwarzenegger, First Lady Michelle Obama, former President George Bush and his family, Larry King, Lynda Byrd Johnson, and many more. Her children, Patti Davis and Ronald Prescott Reagan, also attended, and gave touching eulogies about their mother. President Obama did not attend. He was giving a speech in Texas.
Mr. T currently hosts his own improvement show, I Pity the Tool, which debuted on the DIY Network last year. He recently said he’ll continue his anti-drug work to help keep today’s children off of drugs.
[Photo via Michael Buckner/Getty Images]