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Published:May 29th, 2010 16:18 EST
Gary Coleman: Another Lost Former Child Star

Gary Coleman: Another Lost Former Child Star

By Garrett Godwin


PROVO, UTAH: The world has lost another television icon Friday with the sudden death of former child star Gary Coleman. At his home Wednesday, he suffered a terrible fall in his home, which led to internal bleeding, and he reportedly went into a coma at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. Recent news stated that he was currently on life support, where family and friends were there keeping vigil. Sadly, at 12:05pm, he was taken off life support and passed away.

Coleman is forever known as Arnold Jackson on the popular 80s sitcom Diff`rent Strokes. The premise of the show was African-American brothers Arnold (Coleman) and Willis Jackson (Todd Bridges) adopted by wealthy Philip Drummond (Conrad Bain).

Arnold`s catchphrase, "What`choo talkin` about, Willis?", made Coleman a breakout star. Diff`rent Strokes lasted eight successful seasons (1978-85, NBC; 1985-86, ABC), and spun the equally popular The Facts of Life (1979-88) with Charlotte Rae as Mrs. Garrett.

However, Coleman and his co-stars Bridges and Dana Plato suffered Diff`rent Strokes of their own both professionally and personally such as drug abuse, troubles with the law, financial and health problems, and marital woes. For instance, Plato, who played their older adopted sister Kimberly, was written off the show in 1984 when she became pregnant with her son Tyler, but returned to the show on a recurring basis when Diff`rent Strokes went to ABC for its final season. In 1999, she died from an overdose of prescription drugs at the age of 34, and her son Tyler recently committed suicide several weeks ago this year at the age of 25. In February of this year, Coleman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor criminal mischief in league with a domestic violence charge filed by his wife Shannon Price.

The pair, married since 2007, appeared on Divorce Court that same year, but reconciled and remained together until he died.

Gary Coleman was 42 years old.


Judyth Piazza chats with Todd Bridges on The American Perspective Radio Program