The reason anyone knows who Gary Coleman was is this classic TV sitcom. Gary Coleman's performance as Arnold, a young black orphan adopted by a rich white man, was classic American television.
Even more memorable was Arnold's oft repeated catch phrase, "What you talkin' 'bout Willis?" That quote has been repeated in every imaginable variation it swept the country by storm.
For the greatest "Whatchu talkin' 'bout?" moment go to the 45 second mark of the attached video.
Forced to Declare Bankruptcy and Sue His Parentsv
Gary Coleman reportedly made over $100,000 per episode of Different Strokes.
In 1993 Coleman sued his parents for raiding and squandering his fortune. His parents had stolen and lost over $3.8 million from Coleman's trust fund. Keyword there is trust, and Gary shouldn't have trusted his 'rents.
After winning a $1.3 million judgment, Coleman was still forced to file bankruptcy in 1999 due to the financial difficulty created by his parents and former managers.
The video is one of many Gary did for Cashcall.com, the irony in the dialogue kills me.
Runs for Governor of California
In 2004, during a special California recall election, Gary Coleman announced his candidacy for the office of Governor of the State.
While no one quite took it seriously, including Coleman himself, Gary did manage to impress several political circles with his grasp of the issues and intelligence.
After announcing that he was voting for Schwarzenegger, Coleman still managed to finish 8th in a field of 132 candidates. After the election Coleman briefly hosted his own political radio show.
That's right: California decided that Gary Coleman was the 8th best person in the state fit to run it. Why do we still wonder that CA is in a deficit?
Normal people deal with there marriage problems in normal ways. Not Gary Coleman. He had to do it big and he had to do it publicly. Always.
When considering divorce he took it to the one place he knew it would be seen by housewives and college students across the country: Divorce Court.
Coleman and his then wife went on the TV court show to air out their dirty laundry in hopes of reconciling. Not to adjudicate a divorce settlement, but to try and work it out.
Coleman must have confused Divorce Court with Dr. Phil at the time, but you've got to hand it to him for taking all of this to his fans (the public).
When Gary Coleman guest starred on an episode of VH1's The Surreal Life, he thought he was just going to have a fun night managing a Mel's Diner with celebrity employees. He didn't count on Vanilla Ice.
Obsessed with hearing Coleman Say "Whatchoo Talkin' 'Bout Willis?" Mr. Ice Ice Baby picked up Gary and dangled him over a frier until he said the catch phrase.
Mortified by the scene, Coleman stormed off the show. The video is of Vanilla Ice's meltdown over something Ron Jeremy says. The video of Gary and Vanilla at Mel's is hard to come by, as even VH1 views it as going a little far and doesn't air the episode regularly.
Gets Job as Security Guardv
At a low point in his life Gary Coleman took a job as a security guard. I'm not sure how secure I would feel with Gary Coleman as my guard. The video is of Gary on the job in Venice. His primary assignments were guarding filming sets.
As you can see in the video, it's hard to feel empowered when the people you are trying to stop can't stop laughing at you.But fear not Pamela Anderson, Gary Coleman is prepared to throw his entire body on top of a car to protect you.
Punches Angry Female Fanv
Coleman was charged with assault in 1998 after he punched Tracy Fields, a woman who was pestering Coleman for an autograph, while he was at a mall shopping for a bulletproof vest.
Do they sell those at malls? Coleman, who only weighed about 86 pounds, was frightened by Fields, a 5-foot, six inch tall 205-lb woman. Fields requested an autograph and was upset when he gave only gave a signature. She responded by saying "Ain't you gonna put something nice on it?" During the altercation she also reportedly stated, "Well, you're just a little punk-ass bitch!"
Coleman's testimony was that "Her breasts were practically hitting me in the head. I'm 4-foot, 8 inches, 86 pounds of nothing."
Coleman subsequently punched Fields and left the store. Coleman later received a 90-day suspended sentence for striking Fields.
Secretly Marries and then is Beaten by Wifev
After dating for a mere 5 months Gary Coleman married Shannon Price in a secret ceremony. Not long after that the police were called to their home for a domestic disturbance.
The disturbance? Mrs. Gary Coleman was apparently letting her fists do the talking.
Domestic abuse is NEVER funny. But come on, it was Gary Coleman getting beat up by his tiny frail ginger wife.
The video is a hilarious detailing of the incident by natesvlogs. He sums it up so well.
Go to the 4:15 mark of the video to see the introduction of Gary Coleman as a character in the musical Avenue Q. It pretty much sums up a lot of the troubles he had in his life. Coleman was so angered by the parody/portrayal that he reportedly wanted to sue.
Sadly, or thankfully depending on your perspective, no one would take the case.
At the 2007 New York Comic Con, Coleman said, "I wish there was a lawyer on Earth that would sue them for me."
In February of 2010 Gary Coleman went on the show the Insider. During his time on the show he got very defensive aout answering questions about his fiery relationship with his wife. Coleman gets visibly upset and then after taping the segment goes into seizures.
Was there a Doctor in the house? You bet there was, Dr. Drew Pinsky of Loveline and Celerity Rehab fame was on set that day and monitored Coleman's condition until medics arrived.
Runs Over Photographerv
In 2008, Gary reportedly ran over one Colt Rushton for taking a photo of him without permission.
I say he deserved to be run over for having a name like Colt Rushton. Neither party cooperated with the police investigation and eventually Coleman received a $100 fine and a suspended reckless driving charge.
A civil case suit from Rushton was settled out of court. I'm actually just glad Rushton was able to handle his payday (I mean near death experience) so well.
Not sure if it was just for the payday or if he was in on the joke, but Coleman's conversation with the devil in 1998's Dirty Work is a classic. "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout Satan?" Let's hope he's not revisiting that conversation now.