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I guess if you told Gary Coleman that he'd live to be 42 when he was 12, he might have thought that would be okay. He was, after all, beset by health problems at a very early age. But it was those health problems that helped him become a star. Without his stunted growth, it isn't likely that he'd have become the cute, wise-cracking Arnold on Diff'rent Strokes.
I am, as it turns out, only two years older than Coleman. That fact kind of blows me away, because he was playing much younger on Strokes. His show was a rare hit on NBC back then, the era of SuperTrain and Hello, Larry! I was a pop culture sponge in the late 70s and early 80s, but the action then was on ABC, with Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Three's Company and Charlie's Angels. Watching NBC was "slumming," so to speak. But I caught the odd BJ and the Bear and CHiPS. And along the way, I caught my share of Diff'rent Strokes. It wasn't great television, but Coleman made a hell of an impact anyway. Right up there with The Fonz's "Ayyyyyyy!", Jimmy Walker's "Dyn-O-Mite!" and Beatrice Arthur's "God'll get you for that, Walter!" was Coleman's "What you talkin' about, Willis?"
`Diff'rent Strokes' Star Gary Coleman Dies
Gary Coleman, the adorable, pint-sized child star of the smash 1970s TV sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" who spent the rest of his life struggling on Hollywood's D-list, died Friday after suffering a brain hemorrhage. He was 42.
Coleman was taken off life support and died with family and friends at his side, Utah Valley Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Janet Frank said. . .
Read more at: ABC News