Gary Coleman dies

Star of Diff'rent Strokes was 42

Diff’rent Strokes star Gary Coleman has died at the age of 42.

The 42-year-old actor died after of a brain haemorrhage after a fall at his Utah home.

He was placed on life support but his wife, Shannon Price, decided to pull the plug on Friday morning. He died hours later.

Coleman, who had the growth-restricting kidney condition nephritis, shot to fame as Arnold Jackson on the sitcom, which ran for eight years from 1978. He played one of two black kids from poor Harlem neighborhood who were being brought up by a rich white widower, and became known for the catchphrase, addressed to his on-screen brother: ‘What'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?’

Charlotte Rae, who played Mrs Garrett on the show, said after hearing news of his death: ‘Gary was so loving, so charming. He was the big star of the show... He was the reason the show was a hit.’

Janet Jackson, who played Arnold’s girlfriend in the third series told E! Online: ‘I’m at a loss for words upon learning of Gary Coleman’s passing. I want to remember him as the fun, playful, adorable and affectionate man he was. He has left a lasting legacy. I know he is finally at peace.’

Coleman’s life since the show had been colourful. In 1989, he sued his parents and former business adviser over misappropriation of his $3.8 million trust fund. Although he won a $1.3million ruling, he went bankrupt ten years later.

As his financial troubles took hold, the 4ft 8in star started woking as a security guard in a California shopping centre, but assaulted a woman who asked for his autograph, leading to a suspended jail sentence.

He was cited for disorderly conduct after two flaming rows with his wife in 2007 and 2009, and earlier this year was arrested on suspicion of a domestic violence assault.

Here he is on Diff’rent Strokes:

Published: 29 May 2010

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