Friday, May 28, 2010; 3:27 PM
He played the younger of two orphaned African-American brothers adopted by a white Manhattan millionaire after the death of their mother, the rich man’s housekeeper. The show was a comedic showcase for Mr. Coleman, who looked younger than his actual age because his growth had been stunted by a congenital kidney condition.
Gary Coleman, 42, the diminutive, wisecracking child star of the sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes,” whose adult life collapsed into a tabloid calamity, died Friday at a hospital in Provo, Utah. He suffered a brain hemorrhage after falling at his home in Santaquin, Utah.
Mr. Coleman was 10 when he stepped into the national spotlight in 1978, playing the witty, lovable Arnold Jackson on NBC’s “Diff’rent Strokes.” The role was created for him and made Mr. Coleman the best-known child star on television for the eight years the hit comedy was on the air.