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Gary Coleman (1968-2010)

Highest-paid child-star of his era turned quintessential former child star of all-time.

Died May 28, 2010, of a brain hemorrhage. He was 42.


  • Last five months of his life saw him suffer two seizures and get booked on domestic-violence charges, prior to suffering what proved a fatal brain hemorrhage at his Utah home on May 26, 2010.
  • Married "fabulous eBayer" Shannon Price, 2007. Costarred with her on Divorce Court, 2008.
  • Independent candidate for California governor, 2003. Got 13,105 votes, good for eighth place.
  • Independent candidate for U.S. Senate, 2000. Run aborted, never on ballot.
  • Advice columnist for men's Website
  • Filed for bankruptcy, 1999.
  • Convicted in 1999 of punching a fan who insulted him in uniform shop in 1998.
  • Arrested in 1999 on outstanding warrant related to fan-bashing case.
  • Revealed he was a virgin in 1999 Us magazine interview.
  • Worked as security guard in late 1990s.
  • Won, in 1993, a $1.3 million judgment against his parents and former business manager. A 1989 lawsuit alleged the trio squandered his $7 million TV fortune.
  • Is taller than Emmanuel Lewis.
  • Once upon a time, was the biggest, most powerful child-star in Hollywood. As inner-city orphan Arnold Jackson on Diff'rent Strokes (1978-1986), his comic timing and cherubic cheeks helped prop up then-ailing NBC, even as he ailed himself from chronic kidney trouble.

    Sightings (submitted by you, the fans):

  • I Saw Gary Coleman...
    "I was in Los Angeles at Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles and Gary Coleman walked in. I was scared to say something, but I did. I said, 'Hi.' He said, 'What's your name?' I said, 'Vaughn.' He asked if i would like his autograph. I said yes. We took pictures and he bought my family chicken and waffles and my grandma asked him could he say it. He said no, and the whole family said please real loud, and he said, 'Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis!' And we all laughed. He was real cool." (Posted: January 2005)
  • And I Saw Gary Coleman...
    "My friend and I were heading back home from [the Electronic Entertainment Expo] in Los Angeles last year, and were in the security line at the LAX airport, when he tapped me on the shoulder, whispered really loud, something about "Gary Coleman!" [My friend] motioned across the hall, and I saw a really short person, the height of a kid, walking briskly towards the end of the same line! He packed light, and was wearing a jean jacket. He was with a tall woman. I'm not sure if it was his bodyguard, his mom or his girlfriend, it could've been any of them. Soon enough, the whole line was beginning to whisper about Gary Coleman's presence, it was a surreal moment. (Posted: August 2003)
  • And I Saw Gary Coleman...
    "Some friends of mine were in a Pasadena [California] toy train hobby store and [Gary Coleman] was there haggling over prices, trying to get a discount and doing it in a loud, loud voice..." (Posted: August 2001)
  • And I Saw Gary Coleman...
    "I live in Tucson, Arizona, and I guess so does Gary Coleman now. [Actually, he's still in Los Angeles. -- Ed.] He is a DJ for a radio station in town. [True. -- Ed.] I met him at a club called The Keys where he was greeting people at the door. My husband asked for his autograph and got it, but he also made some inappropriate comment about trading the autograph for me. My husband just said thanks and than tossed the autograph in the trash later." (Posted: We forget)
  • And I Saw Gary Coleman...
    "After the Los Angeles Car Show, my friends and I ate at Versailles [restaurant] on Venice Bouelvard. After a late lunch, we went next door to the surplus store. I was looking in the knife case when this man (yup, Gary Coleman) asked me what kind of knife would be legal to carry and be able to sever a human spine." (Posted: 1999)
  • And I Saw Gary Coleman...
    "A couple of years ago, I was at this coffeeshop in Glendale, California -- Foxy's. Gary Coleman and his bodyguard, I think, walked in and sat front-and-center at the counter. When it came time to order, Gary turned on his booming voice. 'How's the pork sausage links?' he bellowed. The waitress' answer apparently wasn't to his liking, because he then announced to the world that 'I'D LIKE EIGHT STRIPS OF BACON, PLEASE!'" (Posted: February 1997)
  • And I Saw Gary Coleman...
    "Back when I using a Commodore 64, I went to buy a 1571 disc drive advertised in the Recycler. It was Gary Coleman. He was upgrading to the Amiga." (Posted: March 1997)
  • And I Saw Gary Coleman...
    "When I worked at The Good Guys two years ago, I heard that Gary Coleman would go to the 24-hour Good Guys at the Beverly Connection [in Los Angeles] in the middle of the night quite often and buy Nintendo games. Apparently one day, he bought a big-screen TV and the guys (presumably the good ones) who took it to his house said it was completely vacant except for one room with a giant Nintendo set-up." (Posted: March 1997)
  • And I Saw Gary Coleman...
    "This was at Georgia restaurant on Melrose. And basically I was just with a group of friends going to have dinner there. ... And when we arrived, there was Gary Coleman holding court with six or eight other people. It was at this huge round table and ... and he was laughing maniacally and talking very, very loudly." (Posted: April 1997)
  • And I Saw Gary Coleman...
    "I am from Australia ... Gary Coleman was [here] last year as a contestant in a celebrity Sale of the Century." (Posted: May-June 1997)


  • Gary Coleman for Governor (East Bay Express)
  • Sitcoms Online: Diff'rent Strokes
  • credits

    Articles by FORMER CHILD STAR CENTRAL editor Joal Ryan:

  • "Gary Coleman: The Child Star Who Had It All" (E! Online, 2010)
  • "Gary Coleman Dead at 42" (E! Online, 2010)
  • "Saving Gary Coleman" (E! Online, 1999)
  • "What Gary Coleman Believes" (, 2000)

    Copyright 1997-2010 Former Child Star Central