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Friday, May 28, 2010

Gary Coleman 1968 - 2010

Gary Coleman, one of the most popular t.v. stars of the 1980's, has died at 42 of a brain hemorrhage. As the star of NBC's "Diff'rent Strokes", Coleman, by the age of 10, became one of the most famous and highest paid t.v. stars of his day, at one point making $100,000 per episode, a staggering figure for that time.
Unfortunately for Coleman, he and his castmates, Dano Plato and Todd Bridges, became the "poster children", literally and figuratively, for all the bad things that can happen to Hollywood child actors. Most of Coleman's financial fortune was siphoned off by his parents and managers, and Bridges and Plato turned to drugs. Bridges spent some years in prison, and Plato died of a drug overdose a decade ago.

(Coleman with fellow '80's t.v. star, David Hasselhoff)

But despite the woes suffered by Coleman in his "post-stardom" years, one can take some comfort in his legacy. In other words, when all the tabloid stories have faded away, all that's left is Coleman's legacy on video, and when watching his show, "Diff'rent Strokes", in reruns, it's almost impossible not to be amazed by his talent. Despite his young age at the time, Coleman's comic timing was nearly perfect, and his charisma and sheer "stage presence" was powerful. His famous line from the show, "What'cha talkin' 'bout, Willis?", became a national catch-phrase and one that endures in the popular culture to this day, almost twenty-five years later.
("Diff'-rent Strokes" stars Todd Bridges,
Conrad Bain and Gary Coleman)

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