The 1980s lost an icon when the diminutive Gary Coleman passed away yesterday at age 42. I remember watching Different Strokes years ago and hearing people say he wasn't expected to live too long due to his kidney problems.
The media loved Coleman after the show ended. Whether it was beating up on overweight autograph seekers, working as a 4 ft tall security guard, or running for governor of California, this guy could not get out of the tabloid news. When he was on Different Strokes, he talked like an adult trapped in a kid's body (probably because he was a twenty seven year old man portraying an eight year old boy). After the show ended, I think everyone considered him a kid, despite the fact he was in his thirties. I'll never forget watching him on Court TV defending himself on assault charges against some 300 pound lady. Coleman had been out looking for a bulletproof vest when he was approached for an autograph.
When reached by phone, fellow 80s star Alf said Coleman was a talented actor and would be greatly missed. Webster was unavailable for comment.