Gary Coleman dies at 42 (RIP Arnold Jackson)
With countless heath problems, I had a feeling Coleman was going to die this year. Health-wise, he was in very bad shape. He suffered a brain hemorrhage earlier in the week and they took him off of life support on Friday. It has become surreal to be that most of my childhood personalities have died recently. First Michael Jackson and now Coleman, there have been others that make the list too long.
Diff’rent Strokes was a huge part of my childhood. Strangely enough, I watched most of the series on its second run through syndication. They would rerun the show on a local station every weekday. I grew up watching the show and even watched the Spinoff The Facts of Life. You can go to any person my age and say, “Whatca talking about?” and they’ll know what your saying.
On the other hand, Coleman always seemed like a bitter little guy that always had a chip on his shoulder. Instead of fully embracing his typecasting as Arnold Jackson, he went around being angry to anyone that mentioned. I remember when he had a meltdown on the Surreal Life and promptly left the show as a guest star. Yet, when he needed the money, he would fall back to that character type.
Never has an actor been more important to pop culture since MJ. Coleman has been on everything from reality shows, videogames and ads. Given the way the Internet works, it is a shame he didn’t fully explore his retro fame.
It should be noted that Coleman had a relationship with Professional Wrestling. He showed up on WCW and had a famous encounter with Jeff Jarrett in a TNA battle ten years ago. I believe John Cena has some nice words to say about him. From Cena ((CeNation. Received word of gary coleman's passing. Very sad. He was a pleasure to work with. He will be missed. ))
Janet Jackson sings: I had completely forgotten that Jackson showed up on the show.
Arnold and Mr. Drummond show up on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air: I had no idea the characters from the old show appeared on Fresh Prince. One commenter states that this was the last time Conrad Bain and he appeared on screen.