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Chief Justice Michael Stailey • Location: Santa Monica, CA
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Gary Coleman (1968-2010)
May 30th, 2010 1:27PM

The troubled life of actor Gary Coleman ended abruptly on Friday. The 42 year old suffered a head injury earlier in the week, leading to a brain hemorrhage which left him in a coma. His wife and family then made the difficult to terminate life support. The Chicago area native's visibility skyrocketed with the Harris Bank "Hubert Doll" campaign, gaining the attention of producer Norman Lear. Celebrated guest roles on The Jeffersons and Good Times ultimately landed the precocious young actor his own series, Diff'rent Strokes, racking up 184 episodes over eight seasons, and creating a beloved character who crossed over onto other series such as Silver Spoons, The Facts of Life, and Amazing Stories. However, like many child stars of that era, Gary's post-pubescent life was filled with more problems than prosperity. Battles with his parents over money, anger management issues, domestic violence charges, and very little real acting work left him broken and bitter. Ten years after Diff'rent Strokes wrapped, Gary reprised his role as Arnold Jackson-Drummond on an episode of Will Smith's The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and it appeared as though a comeback may be in the making. Unfortunately, it didn't amount to anything more than Gary playing himself in cameo roles, comedy sketches, game shows, reality television series, and even being parodied in the Broadway show Avenue Q. Perhaps now he can find some much needed peace.


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