'Diff'rent Strokes' actor Gary Coleman dies at 42

'Diff'rent Strokes' actor Gary Coleman dies at 42

Little star fades

'Diff'rent Strokes' actor Gary Coleman dies at 42

Coleman gained stardom as the sharp-talking Arnold Jackson, adopted son of a wealthy New Yorker, in the hit sitcom that aired on US television from 1978 to 1986 and in syndication around the world. His line “Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout Willis?”, addressed to his brother on the series, became a pop culture catchphrase.

But when the show was taken off the air, Coleman saw his Hollywood star fade, and he found himself suffering through financial, legal and domestic problems.
“We are very sad to have to report Gary Coleman has passed away as of 12:05 pm Mountain Time,” (6:05 GMT), his manager, John Alcantar, said. Alcantar said Coleman was removed from life support, and “he passed away quickly and peacefully” surrounded by his wife and other close family members.

The diminutive Coleman, who suffered from a congenital kidney disease that halted his growth, was hospitalised on Wednesday night after suffering an intracranial hemorrhage at his home in Santaquin, Utah.

On Thursday, he was conscious and lucid in the morning, but in the afternoon his condition worsened. He slipped into unconsciousness and was placed on life support at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.

Indeed, many Hollywood stars responded by taking to social networking site Twitter, with celebrities from Janet Jackson, who guest-starred on “Diff’rent Strokes”, to Ashton Kutcher and Kim Kardashian offering thoughts and prayers.

Born February 8, 1968, in Zion, Illinois, Coleman was an adopted son who suffered a condition known as focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, an autoimmune disease that alters the kidneys. As a result, Coleman stopped growing at a height of 4 ft 8 inches and underwent two kidney transplants in his life.

Coleman made millions of dollars from “Diff’rent Strokes” and from guest appearances on TV talk shows and other programmes.

But Coleman never recaptured his fame after the show ended. As an adult, much of his work went straight to video, and he became a symbol of faded Hollywood stardom.
In 1989, he sued his parents and former manager for mishandling his finances, and for a time he worked as a security guard. In 2003, he made a failed bid to become governor of California in a recall election. Coleman also suffered legal troubles. In 1998, he was charged with assault after hitting a woman who asked for his autograph in one of several instances of disorderly conduct.