Gary Coleman was born February 8, 1968 in Zion, Illinois. Adopted as an infant, his father worked for a pharmaceutical firm and his mother was a nurse.Â Before reaching the age of 5, Coleman had undergone three operations for a congenital kidney defect known as nephritis. As a result of his medical condition, he would never grow any taller than 4’8″. His smallness proved to be a professional advantage when he began appearing in Chicago-area TV commercials; even at the age of 9, he could still pass as a precocious five-year-old. In 1978, Coleman auditioned for a proposed television revival of the old Little Rascals comedy series. Though the project fell through, ABC chief executive Fred Silverman was enchanted by the talented tyke. Silverman cast Coleman as Arnold Jackson on the upcoming sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, which moved to NBC along with Silverman in the fall of 1978. It was this extraordinarily popular series, coupled with the precocious Coleman’s spirited TV talk show appearances, that catapulted the 10-year-old to stardom. Within a year of Diff’rent Strokes’ debut, Gary Coleman Productions was formed, for the purpose of starring the youngster in theatrical features like On the Right Track (1981) and made-for-TV movies like Scout’s Honor (1980) and The Kid With the Broken Halo (1982). This last project was spun off into the Saturday-morning cartoon series The Gary Coleman Show (1983), with Coleman providing his own voice. An instinctive comic performer and extremely quick study, Coleman rapidly grew weary with the rigors of show business. As he grew older, Coleman’s spontaneous cuteness faded. After the cancellation of Diff’rent Strokes in 1986, Coleman found the going decidedly rough. Occasionally he’d play a “stunt” part like a villainous gang leader on the TV series 227, but his short stature and ever-diminishing acting range made him difficult to cast. He still remained in the public eye, albeit as the central character in a bitter legal squabble between himself and his parents.
Gary retired to Colorado in 1986 after Diff’rent Strokes was canceled to a 6 bedroom – 3,500 square feet home. After leaving Colorado he lived briefly in Tucson, Arizona and worked at Tucson Hobby Shop because he is/was an active model railroader. More recently, he has reappeared in Hollywood.Â He has appeared in a few movies recently, Party (1994) and S.F.W. (1994). He appeared in Norm MacDonald’s movie Dirty Work. He was the voice of Kenny Falmouth in a cd-rom video game from Lucas Arts called “The Curse of Monkey Island”.Â He sued his adoptive parents and his former manager for mishandling his funds in 1989 and was awarded 1.3 million dollars. More recently, he has made guest appearances on television series such as Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Married with Children, Homeboys in Outer Space, The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show, and Mad TV. He was supposed to have a series sometime in 1992 after he did a guest shot on Geraldo, but the pilot did not sell and the project was scrapped.Â The show had Robert Guillaume (who played Benson) and had people working at a station either a train or radio and was on Sundays. It didn’t last long and Gary was supposed to have the part that Robert had. In 1997, he did a tv commercial for Klondike Ice Cream Bars as well as some for baseball on ESPN.Â His favorite car is a Hummer.Â He made an appearance on Vibe (a talk show hosted by Sinbad) along with Todd Bridges and Dana Plato on November 6th, 1997. He co-starred with Harry Hamlin in holiday TV-movie on cable’s Fox Family Channel called ‘Like Father, Like Santa’. On July 30th, he allegedly struck a woman who asked for his autograph, a court hearing was held August 25th where he pleaded not guilty. He recently finished a movie with Todd Bridges. He has worked as a security guard, a job he is trained to do. Recently, he was a corporate spokesperson and director of promotions for HoloWorld Cafe (a restaurant with laser-tag and video games) in Pasadena, California. Gary also was a co-host of The Reel Show on the site Reelpreviews.com.
He appeared in Kid Rock’s “Cowboy” video. In October 1999, he was hired as an intern/on-air personality show Mojo and Betsy In the Morning for 93.7 KRQ in Tucson, AZ. He was in the first episode of Shasta McNasty (Shasta) in September 1999 and voiced himself in the classic Christmas episode of The Simpsons in December 1999. He wrote a weekly advice column for UGO the Coleman Confidential.
Coleman also played himself in the 2001 Scooby-Doo parody, Night of the Living Doo, produced by the Cartoon Network.
In 2001, Coleman was employed as a shopping mall security guard in the Los Angeles area. A surveillance video of Coleman trying to stop a vehicle from entering the mall while the driver ridiculed him was broadcast on numerous television shows. Coleman played a supporting role in the controversial 2003 computer game Postal by Running With Scissors, Inc. Coleman, who played himself, appeared at a shopping mall, and one of the game’s objectives was to secure his autograph. Coleman’s role was almost certainly based on a 1998 incident in which Coleman punched a fan who sought his autograph while he was at a shopping mall. Upon the player securing his autograph, police storm the mall to arrest him for an unknown crime, which leads to a violent shootout. Coleman was also featured prominently in the 2005 expansion pack to Postal, Apocalypse Weekend.
Coleman was a candidate for governor in the 2003 California recall election. This campaign was sponsored by the free newsweekly the 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 was featured in the 2004 season of The Surreal Life. He managed the restaurant at which the other cast members worked.
Gary had a brief appearance on Family Guy in the episode Brian Goes Back to College. He had replaced Stewie since he owed him a favor.
Coleman has also appeared in a clip of Robot Chicken.
Coleman occasionally is able to cash in on his camp value to members of Generation X, by appearing in cameo roles in film and TV. As with Day-Glo, Rubik’s Cube, Valley girls, Care Bears, Mr. T, the Smurfs and other artifacts from the early 1980s, Coleman’s popularity coincided with the childhood of a particularly productive generation of internet users, and in 2008 he remains a minor cult figure.
During 2006 and 2007, Coleman appeared in commercials for a cash-advance loan company called CashCall. He ends the commercial by saying, “Pay your bills on time and everyone will love you.” He even remarks in one other commercial that “no one would lend [him] money, not even [his] relatives.”
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.
AKA: Gary Wayne Coleman
Birthplace: Zion, IL
Location of death: Provo, UT 
Cause of death: Accident – Fall
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Arnold Jackson on Diff’rent Strokes
Two days after suffering a brain hemorrhage at his home in Santaquin, Utah, Coleman died at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo. Father: W.G. Coleman (adoptive, forklift operator)
Mother: Edmonia Sue (adoptive, nurse practitioner)
Wife: Shannon Price (b. circa 1986, m. 28-Aug-2007, div. 12-Aug-2008)
California Recall Election 14,122 votes
Battery Hawthorne, CA (30-Jul-1998)
Bankruptcy $72,000 in debts (18-Aug-1999)
Disorderly Conduct Provo, UT (27-Jul-2007)
Suicide Attempt twice, with sleeping pills (per 1993 Geraldo interview)
Suicide Attempt Oxycontin (Jul-2007)
Issued Concealed Carry Permit Culver City, CA
Failure to Appear Santaquin, UT (24-Jan-2010)
Criminal Mischief Santaquin, UT (24-Jan-2010) pled guilty
Coma Provo, UT (26-May-2010 to 28-May-2010)
Risk Factors: Kidney Transplant
Diff’rent Strokes Arnold Drummond (1978-86)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Midgets vs. Mascots (25-May-2009)
An American Carol (3-Oct-2008)
Church Ball (17-Mar-2006)
A Christmas Too Many (28-Nov-2005)
Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (03-Sep-2003) Himself
Dirty Work (12-Jun-1998)
S.F.W. (15-Sep-1994) Himself
The Kid with the Broken Halo (5-Apr-1982)
On the Right Track (6-Mar-1981)
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