Gary Coleman

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Gary Wayne Coleman[3] (February 8, 1968 – May 28, 2010) was an American actor, known for his childhood role as Arnold Jackson in the American sitcom Diff'rent Strokes (1978–1986) and for his small stature as an adult. He was described in the 1980s as "one of television's most promising stars". After a successful childhood acting career, Coleman struggled financially later in life. In 1989, he successfully sued his parents and business advisor over misappropriation of his assets.


Early life

Coleman was born in Zion, Illinois. He was adopted by Edmonia Sue and W.G. Coleman, a nurse practitioner and fork-lift operator, respectively.[4] He suffered from focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, an autoimmune kidney disease. Because of his chronic illness, combined with the corticosteroids and other medications used to treat it, his growth was limited to 4 ft 8 in (1.42 m), and his face retained a childlike appearance well into adulthood. He underwent two unsuccessful kidney transplants in 1973 and 1984, and required daily dialysis.[5]


While best known for his role on Diff'rent Strokes, Coleman had appeared earlier on in television in The Jeffersons as Raymond, George Jefferson's brother's son, and on Good Times as Penny's friend Gary. He also appeared in a 1978 pilot for a revival of The Little Rascals as Stymie.[6] VH1 rated Coleman first on a list of "100 Greatest Child Stars" on television.[7]

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