NEW YORK - After disappearing from public view about a decade ago, the mohawked, tough guy who calls himself Mr. T is back - and looking for trouble.

But he has made a major change in his life - he's given up wearing the gold chains that helped make a male fashion statement.

Mr. T, who is known for his roles in television's "The A-Team" and a boxer in the movie "Rocky III," is the star of a new reality TV show starting this week in the US called "I Pity the Fool".

In the show he storms into struggling businesses and families to give guidance on everything from business to love.

"It is my job to motivate them," Mr. T said in an interview. It is all about doing positive things."

It was the chance to do good that lured Mr. T, a devout Christian, into the show and back into the public spotlight.

The former wrestler and actor, who changed his name to Mr. T from Laurence Tureaud, dropped off the public radar in 1995 when he discovered he had cancer - T-cell lymphoma.

As his illness became known, the calls offering him work stopped which Mr. T put down to the stigma surrounding cancer.

But with the disease now in remission after chemotherapy and radiation, Mr. T says he is back - and has a mental list of the people and companies who shunned him.

"People have started to call again now that I am back but I remember who they are and tell them to forget getting a call back as I won't do business with them. You don't disrespect anyone like that," he said.

Now aged 54, Mr. T is a bit slimmer than during his days playing Sergeant Bosco "BA" Baracus on "The A-Team" in the 1980s and Clubber Lang in the 1982 movie "Rocky III." He weighs in at about 230 pounds versus 250 pounds.

He has also stopped wearing his gold chains.

Mr. T said he took off his jewelry after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast and New Orleans as it felt wrong to be covered in wealth when others had lost everything.

Other than that, he says he's just older and wiser - and ready to give guidance based on his experience of being raised by a single mother with 11 siblings in a rough area of Chicago, working with sick children, and surviving cancer.

"I an a tough guy. All I ever wanted out of my life was to buy my mother a house. By 1995 I have achieved all I wanted materially in life," he said.

"Before this show I was offered some other reality TV shows but I won't do anything with nudity, obscenities, eating worms or things like that. This gives me the chance to go to different cities and help people. I like that and people look up to me as I am a righteous guy who has never quit."

- REUTERS