Gary Wayne Coleman was born in Zion, Illinois on February 8, 1968. He was adopted by Edmonia Sue, a nurse practitioner, and W.G. Coleman, a fork-lift operator. He suffered from a congenital kidney disease caused by focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (an autoimmune destruction and alteration of the kidney), which halted his growth at an early age, leading to a small stature (4 ft 8 in; 1.42 m). He underwent two kidney transplants, one in 1973 and one in 1984, and required daily dialysis.
While best known for his role on Diff'rent Strokes, Coleman had appeared earlier on The Jeffersons and on Good Times as Penny's friend Gary. He also appeared in a 1978 pilot for a revival of The Little Rascals as Stymie — this show was produced by Norman Lear, who also produced The Jeffersons and Good Times.
Coleman was cast in the role of Arnold Jackson on Diff'rent Strokes, portraying a child adopted by a wealthy widower. The show was broadcast from 1978 to 1986, and was a huge success.
Coleman became the most popular fixture of the show, enhanced by his character's catchphrase "What'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" At the height of his fame on Diff'rent Strokes, he earned as much as $100,000 per episode. It is estimated he was left with a quarter of the original amount after paying his parents, advisers, lawyers, and taxes. He later successfully sued his parents and his ex-advisers for misappropriation of his finances and was awarded $1.3 million. Coleman became a popular figure, starring in a number of feature films and made-for-TV movies including On the Right Track and The Kid with the Broken Halo. The latter eventually served as the basis for the Hanna-Barbera-produced animated series The Gary Coleman Show.
Coleman is parodied in the hit 2003 Broadway musical Avenue Q, which won the 2004 Tony Award for best musical. A character presented as Coleman works as the superintendent of the apartment complex where the musical takes place. In the song, "It Sucks to be Me", he laments his fate. On Broadway, the role was originally played by Natalie Venetia Belcon. In 2005, Coleman announced his intention to sue the producers of Avenue Q for their depiction of him, although as of 2010 the lawsuit had not materialized. At the 2007 New York Comic Con, Coleman said, "I wish there was a lawyer on Earth that would sue them for me."
Coleman was a candidate for governor in the 2003 California recall election. This campaign was sponsored by the free newsweekly East Bay Express as a satirical comment on the recall. After Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy, Coleman stated that he would be voting for Schwarzenegger. Coleman placed 8th in a field of 135 candidates, receiving 14,242 votes.
Coleman secretly wed his girlfriend of five months, Shannon Price, 22, on August 28, 2007. They met on the set of the 2006 comedy film Church Ball.
On May 1 and 2, 2008, Coleman and his wife appeared on the show Divorce Court to air their differences in front of Judge Lynn Toler. Unlike regular Divorce Court participants, they appeared on the show with the intent to save their marriage rather than adjudicate a separation.
Death. On July 3, 2009, Coleman and his wife were involved in a domestic dispute in which Coleman's wife was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, and both parties were cited for disorderly conduct.
Coleman suffered a seizure on the set of The Insider on February 26, 2010. Dr. Drew Pinsky, who was with Coleman at the time, assisted him until paramedics arrived.
On May 26, 2010, Coleman was admitted to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, Utah, after falling and hitting his head and suffering an intracranial hemorrhage at his home outside of Salt Lake City, UT. He was announced to be in critical condition. By mid-morning on May 27, 2010, Coleman was conscious and lucid. By mid-afternoon on May 27, 2010, Coleman was unconscious and on life support.
Earlier today, it was announced that he was still unconscious and on life support. Coleman died later in the day after being taken off life support .
Good Night Gary