Child Superstar Gary Coleman Dies At Age 42
Gary Coleman, the child star best know for his role in the late ’70s and early ’80s on the popular sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, died Friday after suffering a brain hemorrage resulting from a fall at his home in Utah.
In recent years, Coleman had been relegated to the tabloid pages and an appearance on The Surreal Life 2.
The short-statured star ran into a number of legal and health problems later in life, but his role as a child star left an indelible mark on pop culture. His Diff’rent Strokes catch phrase “What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” continues to be quoted 30 years later.
In 1978, a 10-year-old Coleman captured the hearts of American viewers, quickly outshining his Diff’rent Strokes cast mates.
A kidney condition prevented Coleman from growing at a normal rate. Even though he was 10 years old when he joined the sitcom he played an eight year old. His stature changed little in the years that followed, so he retained a child-like appeal.
His troubles later in life, including a domestic violence arrest earlier this year, haven’t soiled the mark he left on American pop culture with these four little words: