It was not too long ago that I was typing a similar post for heavy metal legend Ronnie James Dio and now here I am discussing today’s passing of Gary Coleman. I had read either last night or early this morning that he had been taken to the hospital but at the time they weren’t reporting what the issue was other than him being in critical condition. Now I get back online this afternoon and read that he passed away today at 12:05PM in Provo, Utah when it was decided to take him off life support. He had slipped into a coma on May 27 due to a brain hemorrhage that was caused when he fell in his home and hit his head on May 26.
This is the sad and final chapter in such a sad life that was full of betrayals by his own parents and business associates, financial woes, ridicule from the media and his own anger in dealing with all of that. Just last weekend I was watching parts of a special about his life which I had already seen before.
Let’s cut through the bull, jokes and mockery that the media has been laying down since the early ’90s and be honest: Gary Coleman was one of the greatest child actors of all-time. His performance on Diff’rent Strokes is amazing. Go back and watch those first couple of seasons. He had great facial expressions and comic timing. I’m thankful that BET was airing the show so often just a few years ago because that’s where I fell in love with the show again. Sure, the program was hokey at times and partook in those “special” episodes so many sitcoms did at the time but there are many genuinely funny moments on that show and many of them were brought about by the performance of Gary.
Truthfully, I never followed Gary’s career after that other than catching a few random episodes of The Gary Coleman Show on Cartoon Network back in the ’90s but his quality work on Diff’rent Strokes is indisputable. Since then, it seems like VH1, E! and various D-list comedians (who only earn their paychecks thanks to the clips shows that VH1 and E! produce) have always tried to make Coleman the butt of many jokes. I’ve never been comfortable with that. He was part of a great and successful show, was screwed out of most of that money, became an adult and worked blue-collar jobs like most of the world does. What’s worth mocking in that?
Watch old interview footage with Coleman back when Diff’rent Strokes was on the air. He was a legitimately sweet and cheery kid that life just kept kicking over and over again up until his passing. I did not realize he was married at the time of his death but I hope he found comfort and peace in his life before passing.
Rest in peace, Gary Coleman, and thank you for all the years of entertainment.