Saturday, May 29, 2010
Gary Wayne Coleman (February 8, 1968 – May 28, 2010)
Gary Wayne Coleman (February 8, 1968 – May 28, 2010) was an American actor, known for his childhood role as Arnold Jackson in the American sitcom Diff'rent Strokes (1978–1986) and for his small stature as an adult. He was described in the 1980s as "one of television's most promising stars." After a successful childhood acting career, Coleman struggled financially later in life. In 1993, he successfully sued his parents and business adviser over misappropriation of his assets.
While best known for his role on Diff'rent Strokes, Coleman had appeared earlier on The Jeffersons and on Good Times as Penny's friend Gary. He also appeared in a 1978 pilot for a revival of The Little Rascals as Stymie. VH1 rated Coleman first on a list of "100 Greatest Child Stars" on television.
Coleman was cast in the role of Arnold Jackson in the television sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, portraying one of two young African-American brothers adopted by a wealthy Caucasian widower in Manhattan. The successful show was broadcast from 1978 to 1986.
Coleman became the most popular fixture of the show, enhanced by his character's catchphrase "What'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" At the height of his fame on Diff'rent Strokes, he earned as much as $100,000 per episode. A Biography Channel documentary estimated he was left with a quarter of the original amount after paying his parents, advisers, lawyers, and taxes. He later successfully sued his parents and his former advisers for misappropriation of his finances and was awarded $1.3 million.