Saturday, May 29, 2010


As a child watching "Diff'rent Strokes," I loved the show and I was a huge fan of Gary Coleman. Especially when he played in the movie "Playing With Fire."
As I sit back and have "Reflections" about the show, I'm gonna write about things about Arnold's character. Things that many people may have overlooked and didn't observed.

Many remember Arnold as being a wild, crazy and fun kid, but he was also sassy, smart, outspoken, smart and had common sense.

In the first episode, his brother Willis didn't want to live his their new father who happened to be their late mother's boss who took them in at her request. He felt that Mr. Drummond was trying to buy their love and affection with money and fancy gifts. After Willis express how he felt, Mr. Drummond apologized and when he left, Arnold decided to let Willis have it. When Willis told Arnold not to speak to him, Arnold replied by saying is this a word and stuck out his tongue and spat at him.
He also reminded Willis that if their mother was alive, she would have his behind and he told him that he was wrong for being disrespectful to Mr. Drummond who she asked to care of them. He also told him that he wasn't being fair to Momma, Mr. Drummond and him. Willis later apologized.

Another episode comes to mind is when their cousin came to visit the boys and tried to fake an accident to gain money from them When Willis took Arnold upstairs to their bedroom, he tried to break it down what was happening, and Arnold told him about their cousin's plan to rip off their dad.

Arnold was known for snooping into his brother's and sister's business, and when Mr. Drummond told him not to be telling their business, he decided to sneak into their bedroom and hide under the bed with his tape recorder to tape their conversation. He wound up getting more than an ear-full when he learned that Kimberly's boyfriend at the time didn't want his sister to attend a dance with Willis because he was Black.
When Willis' date called to cancel, Arnold spilled the beans that had Phillip, Willis and Kimberly mad. They decided to get even; when the moron came to pick her up, Kimberly strolled the stairs of their penthouse wearing brown make-up that had her date upset to the point where he demanded she change her costume.
Kimberly asked him how did he feel if he was Black. He tried to denied he was prejudice and when Arnold told him he had the proof, he was shocked. Especially when Willis and Phillip told him about himself and when Kimberly showed him the door.

Arnold was also known for giving people a piece of his mind. Especially when his back was against the wall and when he was accused of something he didn't do

One episode was when this bully had asked him to look after his girlfriend while he was away. To save his life, he did everything he could, including paying males who found her attractive and being his outgoing self. She was so impressed that she fell for him and left a letter in his locker telling him that she wanted to be with him. When the thug found out he planned to attack Arnold physically and the next day in school he forced Arnold into a closet, and while Arnold was afraid, he decided that since his back was against the wall, he was going to fight him back anyway he could. Even if it meant coming out with some bruises. It didn't happen. Instead Arnold told him that in order for people to respect him that he had remove that chip from his shoulder and give people the opportunity to get to know him and to stop bullying people. He also told him that he had to love, trust and respect him girlfriend because if he didn't she was going to leave him for somebody else.

Another episode that comes to mind was when a white student who tried to pressure Arnold into drinking. Arnold decided to give in at first, but after a talk with his father, he changed his mind and confronted the kid. who left the bathroom. When Arnold tried to hide the bottle of booze, his teacher came in and assumed that Arnold was the one with the drinking problem so he called his father and ordered them to attend a meeting with the school's drug counselor. He took the heat, but when he saw the kid in the bathroom, he decided that he wasn't going to take the fall, so not only did he confront him, he grabbed the bottle from him, poured it down the drain and told him he had to get help. The kid wound up improving his grades.

During the show, he always had a conflict with a Black girl named Lisa who always thought she was better than everybody. Lisa and Arnold used to but heads and though she was a female, he would give her a piece of her mind. One time he got so fed up with her that he decided to play a trick on her; he decided to tamper with her science project, until he, Dudley and Robbie learned that their substitute Science teacher was her mother. Fearing that Lisa would convince her to give him a low grade, he decided not to, but after hiding under the desk, Arnold learned that Darling Lisa wasn't as tough as she acted. When Lisa entered the class to snitch on the other student's playing in the hallway, her mother confronted her about tattling on other children and causing problems. She also reminded her about the talk she had with her after her father died, and that she needed to focus on school and to look after her younger siblings. Arnold decided to with his evil plan and he felt guilty after the expression on her face after the other students (who didn't like her shady attitude) laughed at her. Arnold later spoke to his father who told her that he was wrong and needed to apologize to her. Arnold tried to speak to Lisa's mother about not being too strict on her. He was rebuffed, so he decided to write a silly story about the love between a frog and it's toads.


Legendary actor/writer Gary Coleman died in a Utah hospital after suffering from a brain hemmorage. The legendary actor had fell in his Utah home and was taken to the hospital where he was at first listed in stable condition, but started to lose conscioness resulting with having to be place on life support. Sadly he never made it and he died leaving behind a legacy. Coleman was known for playing on the hit television show "Different Strokes" as Arnold Jackson, the son of a house keeper, who had asked her boss Mr. Phillip Drummond (Conrad Bain) to adopt him and his older brother Willis ((Todd Bridges) after she dies. The show had dealt with issues of race, class, and issues of childhood and acceptance, which became a hit along with Coleman's famous line 'Whatchoo talkin' bout Willis?"
While from 1978-1986. Coleman had won the hearts of millions with his comic timing, his acting skills and charm, but while he was bringing people joy, he was dealing with his own pain and heartache,
Coleman was born on February 8, 1968 in Zion Illinois and was adopted by by Edmonia Sue, a nurse and W.G. Coleman rep for a Pharmacy. Coleman was also diagnosed with 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 and resulted in him having two kidney transplants and receiving daily dialysis. Shortly before his tenth birthday, Coleman began to start in many commercials, but his big break came when he landed the role of Arnold Jackson on the hit award winning series "Different Strokes" as Arnold Jackson, the fun loving, outrageous and outspoken kid who along with his cool, outspoken and suave brother Willis is adopted by Phillip Drummond a wealth White Businessman and his teenage daughter Kimberly, after their late mother, Drummond's housekeep asked him to look after her sons if anything were to happen to her.
One the show Coleman's character was known for his urban swagger and catch phrase "Whatchoo Talking About Willis?" (He would also say that with other cast and in different situations) and while his character was lively, fun, and full of energy, he did have moments where he would speak his mind about issues that showed "Don't let my looks and age fool you. I do have common sense."
For his role, Coleman became a hit with young kids and received numerous awards and nominations for his role.
In his autobiography "Killing Willis" Gary's co-star Todd Bridges writes about how he and Coleman used to have fun on the set and the close bond they had during the first few seasons. He also writes about how Coleman was the little brother he never had.
While each of the cast had their own amount of fans, Coleman became very popular and began making guest appearances in on many television shows including "The Jeffersons" and "Good Times" as well as many hit television movies including "The Kid With The Broken Halo" with Robert_Guillaume and Thelma Hopkins. He played Andy Lebeau an Angel who was sent on Earth to help kids solve conflicts which later became the basis for the cartoon "The Gary Coleman Show" which became a hit. He also starred in the hit NBC television movie "Playing With Fire" where he played a African-American teenager in the suburbs, who had issues accepting his parents divorce would start fires in his home as a way to gain attention and to express his pain. Many fans and critics praised Coleman's performance in this classic saying that it was a great stretch for to showcase his acting skills by playing a serious and dramatic role.
Coleman had also wrote an episode for Different Strokes where his character was mugged, which resulted in him carrying a knife for protection.
After a 8 year run, the show was canceled, after taking time off to relax, Coleman began to write screenplays as well as making guest appearances on talk shows. He also made a guest appearance on the hit series "227" as a gangster once again winning rave reviews by the pubic, but he had a hard time making the smooth transition from child actor to adult star due to his height, and Hollywood casting directors and the fans refusal to accept and see him as a adult.
"I liked "Diff'rent Strokes" up until about the last three or four years. I was bored," he told CNN's Larry King in 1999. "I was disinterested, and I was jealous because I was missing my childhood and I was missing normalcy. I knew what normalcy was, and I wasn't having it."
In the television documentary movie "Behind The Camera: The authorized story of Different Strokes," the movie detailed the struggles the cast went through behind and off the scene with Coleman's parents being more focused on his career than his physical health as well as Coleman fighting with executives to make Arnold's character mature and deal with issues surrounding teenagers.
Bridges has admitted how his own issues with family and drugs was one damper that hindered their friendship, but in his autobiography, he writes how Coleman's parents (especially his father) was becoming egotistic, making demands and and they didn't like associating with too many Blacks when his fame began to rise.
Todd is on the money; Coleman's mother had tried to petition to court to be in charge of his finances.in 1989, Gary had begun to check his business affairs and despite receiving close to $100,000 an episode, he saw that he had less than a quarter of what he had earned, so in 1989, he sued his parents and business associate for misusing his funds and in 1993, he was awarded $1, 280.000.00, but had to file for bankruptcy a few years later due to legal fees. To supplement income for the guest appearances he began to make, he briefly took a job as a security guard and while shopping for an bullet-proof vest, he was he was arrested for attacking a autograph seeker, who claimed that he attacked her.
In several interviews and court footage shown on the E True Hollywood Story, Coleman stated that when the female asked for his autograph, he obliged and signed his mane and instead of being grateful, she was perturbed that he didn't write a special message and began to verbally abuse him and when he tried to ignore her, she started to get in his face and block his presence and with his height he rightfully became fearful that she was gonna attack him so he punched her.
He pleaded no contest and in addition to receiving a reduced sentence, was ordered to pay her $1,665 dollars. He also had settled a civil suit with a man who he had an altercation with at a bowling alley who took a photo of Coleman despite his objections. The case didn't get too serious due to both parties refusing to speak about the incident that took place in the bowling alley leading the altercation that happen in the parking lot that lead to his arrest.
He also had ran to be the Governor of California in 2003 and while he lost, he loved the challenge and opportunity to focus on the concerns of overs and being able to become an intelligent man.
"This is really interesting and cool, and I've been enjoying the heck out of it because I get to be intelligent, which is something I don't get to do very often," he said in the Associated Press.
Coleman had reunited with co-stars Dana and Todd in a parade in the late 1990's bringing smiles to everybody faces, and when Dana died from an accidental overdose of pain killers in 1999, both he and Todd provided comfort to her son, who died a few weeks ago. Gary and Todd had briefly reunited in the NBC movie documentary about "Different Strokes" where they narrated certain aspects of the show and appeared together in front of Dano's grave.
Gary had also made an appearance on "Divorce Court" where the judge had spoke encourage him and his wife actress Shannon Price to work on their marriage and despite issues they remained married until his recent death.
Many are sadden by the loss of this Icon including Icon Janet Jackson, who played his brother's girlfriend on the hit show. "He left an lasting legacy" the Icon Tweeted. "I know he's finally at peace."
"We are very grateful for all the wonderful support everyone has been extending to Gary's family. Coleman's wife Shannon said in a statement read by her brother. "Thousands of e-mails have poured in to the hospital. This has been so comforting to the family to know how beloved he still is. Thank you so much for all that you guys have done and for the support and prayers that you guys have given us.
In addition to his wife, Gary is survived by his parents, brother in law, cast members Conrad Bain, Todd Bridges, Janet Jackson, Shavor Ross, and Charlotte Rae.
When asked how did he fell about his career and about what people felt about him playing himself this is what he had to say.
"I parody myself every chance I get," he said. "I try to make fun of myself and let people know that I'm a human being, and these things that have happened to me are real. I'm not just some cartoon who exists and suddenly doesn't exist."

Funeral plans are still pending at the time of this writing