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Ice-T from 'Law and Order: SVU' Was Born Tracy Marrow - Here's the Story behind His Famous Moniker

Bettina Dizon
Dec 26, 2019
09:00 A.M.

Every name starts with a story and one that is as interesting as Ice-T came from a series of childhood events, including growing up an orphan.

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Ice-T has been on the show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” for nearly two decades as a confidante of Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). Yet, only a few actually know his real name.

Born Tracy Marrow, Ice-T used to go by Trey years ago because “if you give a boy a name that could be considered a girl’s name, he’s going to grow up tough.”

Ice-T attends the 2017 Broadcasting & Cable Hall Of Fame 27th Anniversary Gala. | Source: Getty Images

Ice-T attends the 2017 Broadcasting & Cable Hall Of Fame 27th Anniversary Gala. | Source: Getty Images

Years later, he discovered books by Iceberg Slim and began imitating his life, and some people who called him “T” would request that he talked more about Iceberg.

The combination went great and turned out to be the name that everyone knows now. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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 Ice-T attends VH1's 2005 Hip Hop Honors Pre-party at Splashlight Studios. | Source: Getty Images

Ice-T attends VH1's 2005 Hip Hop Honors Pre-party at Splashlight Studios. | Source: Getty Images

GETTING COLD LIKE ICE

The actor faced many challenges at an early age that left him with trauma, including the death of his mother in third grade.

When Ice-T entered seventh grade, his father also died after suffering from heart problems, leaving him on his own.

Ice-T performs at the Uncle Jamm's Army Reunion. | Source: Getty Images

Ice-T performs at the Uncle Jamm's Army Reunion. | Source: Getty Images

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He said:

“So I’m an orphan and I have been on my own since I was 17, so you become, I would call it cold. And that’s how you get named Ice.”

The moniker stuck, and more people knew the entertainer as Ice-T, except for some who still refer to him as Tracy.

 Ice-T attends the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards. | Source: Getty Images

Ice-T attends the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards. | Source: Getty Images

SURVIVING THE STREETS ALONE

Ice-T was out on the streets of South Central Los Angeles on his own at a young, given that he didn’t have any relatives still alive.

Aware of the many things happening in the streets, he had to figure life on his own and connect with the right people.

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Ice-T attends the "Coco Licious" Collection Launch. | Source: Getty Images

Ice-T attends the "Coco Licious" Collection Launch. | Source: Getty Images

He shared:

“I was always reaching to be a little bit smarter, a little bit more intelligent. You don’t have to be in the gang. You just gotta get the gang on your side.”

He realized that being someone easily liked by others was a step towards being free and safe and that “love was more important than fear.”

Coco Austin and Ice-T at the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden. | Source: Getty Images

Coco Austin and Ice-T at the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden. | Source: Getty Images

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FINDING LOVE FOR ICE-T

Somewhere along the road of growing up alone, Ice-T met his wife, Coco Austin, whom he wed on December 31, 2001.

The two clicked instantly after meeting and has been inseparable since, hence, their quick decision to get married in Vegas.

In 2015, the couple welcomed their daughter, Chanel Nicole Marrow, who has brought nothing but joy into their lives. Frequent family photos of the three are seen on social media, which fans of the rapper-actor acknowledge.

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