Mr.T was born Laurence Tureaud on 21 May 1952 in the rough southside ghetto area 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 of Chicago. His father left when he 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, and 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.