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Gary Coleman dead at 42

Juice_garycoleman Former child actor Gary Coleman, the dimunitive star of the crazy popular late '70s/early '80s TV hit Diff'rent Strokes, has died. He was 42.

Coleman had fallen in his Utah home earlier this week and suffered an intercranial hemorrhage. He had been awake and talking at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center but his condition took a turn for the worse.  His family decided to remove life support on Friday and he died at 12:05 p.m. with his wife,  family and friends by his bedside.

Coleman had suffered from medical (he had two kidney transplants) and legal woes throughout much of his later life. It sounds crazy to say later life since he was only 42. But he was just 10 years old when he was cast as Arnold Jackson, one of two African-American brothers who were adopted by a wealthy white man in Diff'rent Strokes. The show ran for eight years on NBC and ABC and it was Coleman's character who coined the phrase, "What'choo talkin' bout, Willis."

Willis was his older brother, played by Todd Bridges. The show's cast of three youngsters -- rounded out by Dana Plato, who played the boys' adopted sister -- all had problems through the years. Bridges and Plato both admitted to drug problems. In May 1999, Plato committed suicide. Earlier this month Plato's son, Tyler Lambert, committed suicide nearly 11 years to the day of his mother's death.

Conrad Bain, who played the father to the three child stars, had told TMZ that although he hadn't spoken to Coleman for many years, he was still praying for his recovery.

As is the case, myriad tweets went out about Coleman's death, including those from current child actors like Keke Palmer and former child star Alyssa Milano.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 6, 2010 10:45am]

    

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