Two celebrities gone. One at 42, after a career that was very rocky. The other at 97, a magnificent career behind him. Both were beloved.
PROVO, Utah – Gary Coleman once said he wanted people to think of him as something more than the chubby-cheeked child star from television show "Diff'rent Strokes," that he wanted to escape the legacy of character Arnold Jackson, whose "Whatchu talkin' 'bout?" became a catch phrase of the 1970s and '80s.
He spent his later years still keeping a hand in show business, but also moving away from it, marrying and settling in Utah, far away from Hollywood's sometimes all-too-bright lights. Still, he was dogged by ongoing health problems and struggled with legal woes.
After suffering a brain hemorrhage, Coleman was taken off life support Friday and died, his family and friends at his side, said Utah Valley Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Janet Frank. He was 42.
"He has left a lasting legacy," tweeted singer Janet Jackson, who appeared on several episodes of "Diff'rent Strokes. "I know he is finally at peace."
Coleman chafed at his permanent association with "Diff'rent Strokes" but also tried to capitalize on it through reality shows and other TV appearances.
His former manager, Vic Perillo, called the diminutive star "everybody's kid" and expressed regret for all the trouble that marked the end of Coleman's life.
"It's unfortunate that this young man should go down in history as someone that will be seen as bitter," said Perillo, who helped launch Coleman's career from Chicago in about 1977 and worked with him for 15 years. "If everybody knew what a joy he was and the joy he brought me ... that's kind of lost in all of this."
Coleman suffered the brain hemorrhage Wednesday at his Santaquin home, 55 miles (90 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City. Frank said he was hospitalized because of an accident at the home, but she had no details.
In a statement read by brother-in-law Shawn Price, Coleman's family said information would be released shortly about his death. It said he was conscious and lucid until midday Thursday, when his condition worsened and he slipped into unconsciousness. Coleman was then placed on life support.
"Thousands of e-mails have poured into the hospital. This is so comforting to the family to know how beloved he still is," Price said.
"Diff'rent Strokes" debuted on NBC in 1978 and drew most of its laughs from Coleman, then a tiny 10-year-old with sparkling eyes and perfect comic timing.
He played the younger of two African-American brothers adopted by a wealthy white man. Race and class relations became topics on the show as much as the typical trials of growing up.
"Diff'rent Strokes" lasted six seasons on NBC and two on ABC; it lives on thanks to DVDs and YouTube. But its equally enduring legacy became the troubles in adulthood of its former child stars.
In 1989, Todd Bridges, who played Coleman's older brother, Willis, was acquitted of attempted murder in the shooting of a drug dealer. The then 24-year-old Bridges testified he became depressed and turned to drugs after "Diff'rent Strokes" was canceled.
Dana Plato, who played the boys' white, teenage sister, pleaded guilty in 1991 to a robbery charge. She died in 1999 of an overdose of painkiller and muscle relaxer. The medical examiner's office ruled the death a suicide.
"It's sad that I'm the last kid alive from the show," Bridges said.
Coleman was born Feb. 8, 1968, in Zion, Illinois, near Chicago.
By the way...I'm what Willis was talking about!
was a Canadian born radio and television personality and the former host of two long-running United States television shows: House Party, which ran on CBS radio and television for 25 years, and People Are Funny, on NBC radio-TV for 19 years. Linkletter was famous for interviewing children on House Party and Kids Say the Darndest Things, which led to a successful series of books quoting children. A native of Canada, he became a naturalized United States citizen in 1942.
In his junior year as he earned a degree in teaching, he took a job as a radio announcer at KGB in San Diego. Radio paid better than teaching, and Linkletter directed radio programs for fairs and expositions in the mid-1930s. In the 1940s, Linkletter worked in Hollywood with John Guedel on their pioneering radio show, People Are Funny, which employed audience participation, contests, and gags and served as a prototype of future game shows on radio and television. People Are Funny became a television show in 1954 and ran until 1961.
Other early television shows Linkletter worked on included Life With Linkletter (1950-1952) and Hollywood Talent Scouts (1965-1966). He also acted in two movies, People Are Funny (1946) and Champagne for Caesar (1950).
In 1963, Linkletter became the endorser and spokesman for Milton Bradley's Game of Life. His picture appeared on the box with the statement "I Heartily Endorse This Game", and also on the $100,000 bills featured in the game.
Linkletter was a successful businessman and made considerable wealth from a variety of investments. This financial success led to considerable philanthropy.