‘Diff’rent Strokes’ star Gary Coleman dies

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PROVO, Utah (AP) — Gary Coleman, the adorable, pint-sized child star of the smash 1970s TV sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes” who spent the rest of his life struggling on Hollywood’s D-list, died Friday after suffering a brain hemorrhage. He was 42.


Coleman was taken off life support and died with family and friends at his side, Utah Valley Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Janet Frank said.

Best remembered for “Diff’rent Strokes” character Arnold Jackson and his “Whatchu talkin’ ’bout?” catchphrase,
Coleman suffered the brain hemorrhage Wednesday at his home in Utah.
“It’s unfortunate. It’s a sad day,” said Todd Bridges, who played Coleman’s older brother, Willis, on “Diff’rent Strokes.”

“Diff’rent Strokes” debuted on NBC in 1978 and drew most of its laughs from Coleman, then a tiny 10-year-old with sparkling eyes and perfect comic timing.

He played the younger of two African-American brothers adopted by a wealthy white man. Race and class relations became topics on the show as much as the typical trials of growing up.

Coleman’s short stature added to his child-star charm but stemmed from a serious health problem, kidney failure.

After “Diff’rent Strokes” was canceled, Coleman continued to get credits for TV guest shotss, but he never regained more than a shadow of his old popularity
Coleman was among 135 candidates who ran in California’s bizarre 2003 recall election. In a 1993 television interview, he said he had twice tried to kill himself by overdosing on pills.

He remained estranged from his parents, Sue and Willie Coleman, who said they learned about his hospitalization and death from media reports.

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