Sitcoms Online - Main Page / Message Boards - Main Page / News Blog / Photo Galleries / DVD Reviews / Buy TV Shows on DVD and Blu-ray

View Today's Active Threads / View New Posts / Mark All Boards Read / Chit Chat Board

Diff'rent Strokes Online / Diff'rent Strokes links and theme songs at Sitcoms Online / Dana Plato Yahoo Group / Diff'rent Strokes Photo Gallery

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete First Season

Buy Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete First Season on DVD
Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Second Season

Buy Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Second Season on DVD
Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Third Season

Buy Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Third Season on DVD
Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fourth Season

Buy Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fourth Season on DVD

Sitcoms Online Message Boards - Forums  

Go Back   Sitcoms Online Message Boards - Forums > 1980s Sitcoms > Diff'rent Strokes
User Name

Welcome to the Sitcoms Online Message Boards - Forums.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, search, view attachments, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today! News Blog Headlines Twitter Facebook Instagram RSS

TV Land's Younger Returns in June for Season 5; Hallmark Channel 2018 Upfront
Fox Summer 2018 Schedule; Bounce TV Series Returns in April for 2nd Season
Murphy Brown Casts 2 All-New Stars for Series; USA Network Orders 2nd Season of Series
NBC Orders 3rd Season of Will & Grace Revival; Lifetime Upfront Sets Premiere Dates for New Drama and Movie
Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 19, 2018)
SitcomsOnline Digest: Dax Shepard Cast in Recurring Role on The Ranch; Jake McDorman Joins Murphy Brown Revival
Fri-Yay: Why Netflix Should Renew One Day at a Time; Freeform Sets Date for Final Season of Sitcom, and Orders a Movie
Food Network Brings Out Sitcom Stars; Alexis Bledel Joins Popular Hulu Series
ABC Picks Up Reality Staples for 2018-2019; CNBC to Revive Deal or No Deal
Fuller House Gets New Showrunners; Hulu Gets Big Stars for Series

New on DVD/Blu-ray (February/March)

Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Seventh Season Green Acres - The Complete Fifth Season Mayberry R.F.D. - The Complete First Season Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season One Day at a Time - Season Two

02/06 - All in the Family - Seasons 1-5
02/06 - Bosom Buddies - The Complete Series
02/06 - Women of the House - Complete 12 Episode Series
02/13 - Broad City - Season 4
02/13 - Three's Company - The Complete Series - Come and Knock on Our Door Collection
02/27 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Seventh Season
02/27 - Green Acres - The Complete Fifth Season
02/27 - Mayberry R.F.D. - The Complete First Season
03/06 - Atlanta - The Complete First Season
03/06 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season
03/13 - The New Adventures of Old Christine - The Complete First Season
03/27 - One Day at a Time - Season Two
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11-15-2008, 01:18 AM   #1
Forum Celebrity
Zoneboy's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 13, 2003
Posts: 30,250
Default Gary Coleman Talks About Childhood Fame


HOLLYWOOD is littered with the names of actors cursed by childhood stardom. It seems that childhood fame rarely makes a peaceful, lucrative, happy adulthood.

In TV, The Partridge Family, The Brady Bunch, The Wonder Years and many more shows produced actors who suffered psychological trauma after finding fame at a young age.

The cast of Diff'rent Strokes, one of the most successful sitcoms in history, is almost in a league of its own when it comes to the potentially tragic price of celebrity.

Todd Bridges, who played Willis, battled drug addiction. ‘‘Fame is like a needle in your arm,'' Bridges once said. ‘‘When it is withdrawn, life is brutal.''

Dana Plato, who played Kimberley, made porn to support her drug habit and died at 34 from an overdose.

And pint-sized Gary Coleman, renowned for playing cherub-faced Arnold, divorced his parents, tried to fight depression by taking sleeping pills and has for years battled for equilibrium in his private and professional lives.

Twenty-two years have passed since the curtain dropped on Diff'rent Strokes and the 1.42m Coleman still speaks in those famous high-pitched tones. His days of playing cute, however, are well behind him.

He and his wife Shannon last year went on a US reality TV show to try to fix their fractured marriage.

Shannon said Coleman was prone to dropping his toys -- throwing huge tantrums. Coleman responded to the accusation by saying he was dealing with his inner demons and had trouble just getting up in the morning to negotiate everyday life.

Coleman, who at 10 rose to international fame with his Diff'rent Strokes catchphrase, ‘‘What you talkin' 'bout, Willis'', confesses there have been times his life seemed on a one-way downward spiral:

You've made some films lately?

An American Carol, I did a bit in that. I get bit parts to make sure I can pay the mortgage.

You turned 40 this year, correct?

I forget. How old am I this year . . . I'm 41 next birthday, so yeah, I try not to remember the fact I've turned 40. I don't celebrate my birthdays for the very reason I hate getting older.

There have been some extraordinary things written about you. Are you aware a paper recently said you were a virgin and attributed this quote to you: ‘‘I don't choose to be (a virgin), I just am. I have love in my heart. I have desire . . .''

Well, I didn't run with groupies and I've always been too old for the women I was interested in, so that's kind of how that happened. And it still happens. I am just too old for my own generation, if you can figure that.

You went on TV with your wife last year to try to sort out your marriage.

Marriage is tough, and it's probably just going to get tougher the older I get and the older she gets. As long as there's love and respect, everything else should work out.

What keeps you fulfilled these days?

My wife keeps me fulfilled. I love to work. I've set up several businesses online. There's also which keeps me busy. I'm doing a bit of promotion for them, bringing classic (TV) programming to their site. I do little things (film and TV) whenever somebody needs me or thinks about me.

Have there been times when you've thought, ‘‘I've had enough of this showbiz game, I'm going to do something else''?

I'm still hoping I'll get that dream job, whatever that may be. To make me feel proud to be a member of the industry again. Politics (he ran for governor of California in 2003) didn't last long because I was too honest. I was too practical, too realistic.

What other jobs have you had?

I used to carry a licence as a security officer. Not any more.

There have been times in your life when you've desperately wanted closure on the Diff'rent Strokes phase of your life.

I hope this round of DVD sales (through will be closure.

It's possible in TV for an unhappy cast to make a great show, as difficult as it must be to go to work sometimes . . .

If your house burns down, you still have to show up for work, if you want to get paid.

How do you look back on Diff'rent Strokes as an experience?

I don't have any memories of doing Diff'rent Strokes. It was a job that was fun for three years and it was a job that was not fun for five years after that. For whatever reason, everybody internationally loves the show.

How do you look back on the tragedies that afflicted the people who worked on the show? You lost Dana, Todd had his problems . . .

Their problems are not my problems. I hate it when people make their problems my problems. They do whatever the hell they want. If they want to screw up their lives, that's their business. I didn't want to screw up my life (in the past).

To my detriment, that's probably why I'm not such a big thing in Hollywood because I don't make friends with people who are party animals and who want to do drugs and stay up all night. I want to hang with people who are really into the craft of acting. And I'm not lucky enough to be around those people. And it kills me. I would love to work with Harrison Ford or Denzel Washington, but what's the likelihood of that?

How would you describe your relationship with Todd and Dana during and after the show?

There wasn't any, there isn't any (relationship). I'm a recluse.

You must have thought it sad what happened to Dana and Todd?

The only emotion I had was, ‘‘Oh, God, my phone's going to ring off the hook''. That was the only emotion I had because people think I ran with them (Plato and Bridges) and I didn't, that I socialised with them, and I didn't. And that Dana's death was going to affect me, and it didn't. They are people who I used to know and who I worked with. That's it. It may sound cold, but that's the truth.

How do you think you've negotiated fame?

If I could give you fame for one day, you'd probably want to give it back to me in about five minutes.

Are you serious?

Oh, yeah. I don't feel special being famous. My bank account doesn't look famous to me!

You said you took sleeping pills and that just dealing with life day to day can be a challenge for you.

If you're human, you're going to have your day of doubt, your day of joy. That might go along with being a little bit manic.

How do you pull yourself out of a situation when you think sleeping pills are a way to fix things?
There is no way to pull out of or avoid those kinds of thoughts, especially if you're at all human or creative or artistic. You try to live each day as it comes, hope your wife and friends will be there to support you.

How is your health (Coleman had kidney transplants in 1973 and 1984)?

I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you if I wasn't (healthy). Got to move on now, dude.
As long as people talk about you, you're not really dead. As long as they speak your name, you continue. A legend doesn't die just because the man does.
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2008, 07:47 PM   #2
RIP Sweet Princess Carrie
andress_jade's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 04, 2004
Location: Iola, KS or in a galaxy far, far away...
Posts: 1,121
Send a message via MSN to andress_jade Send a message via Yahoo to andress_jade

Wow. Talk about bitter. Lighten up a little there, Gary. Life is not as bad as it seems.
I always thought he was close to Todd, but I guess not. Fame really did a number on him. He has got some problems. He was pretty harsh in that interview. He is not someone I would want to run into nowadays. I loved him on Diff'rent Strokes as Arnold, but not as a human being. He acts like he doesn't care about anything. So sad.
In Memoriam: John Ritter, Hayden Rorke, Sidney Sheldon, Bob Denver, Don Knotts, Andy Griffith, Elizabeth Montgomery, Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, David Angell, Christopher Reeve, Shirley Temple Black, Larry Hagman, Lucille Ball, Patrick Swayze, Robin Williams, Alan Thicke, Mary Tyler Moore, Prince, George Michael, Jim Nabors, Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2008, 07:56 PM   #3
Forum Legend
God Bless Val
catlover79's Avatar
Join Date: May 29, 2006
Location: Bewitched in Ohio
Posts: 69,229
Oh No

Wow, sour grapes.
"Jesus loves you and He approves this message."

"I'm alive. I'm feeling good. I'm trying to live every moment as much as I can." - Valerie Harper, March 2013
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2008, 09:23 PM   #4
Senior Member
Forever Gidget
gidgetgrape's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 20, 2003
Posts: 3,359

"I hate it when people make their problems my problems."

I can't imagine being this guy's wife!
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2008, 09:33 PM   #5
Mr. Television
Forum Legend
Mr. Television's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 06, 2003
Location: Were you're not
Posts: 60,545

This guy is just not a well person. He has alot of hate in his heart...probably the cause of alot of his problems.
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2008, 05:52 PM   #6
Senior Member
debbie allen
waichingliu81's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 28, 2006
Location: london, england, UK
Posts: 4,260

i didn't like the bit when he said of dana and todd's problems were not his problems. it came across as if he doesn't care and that he is glad he is no longer the lovable child star that he was. but in this interview he was so pessmistic and negative, and i disliked that. not only is gary a bitter man indeed, but that he has allowed himself to carry those problems into adulthood and sound like a grumpy little git. he needs to learn to be positive and to stay positive and yet frankly he just doesn't want to- and that is unfortunate.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2009, 04:28 PM   #7
Frequent Poster
Join Date: Apr 22, 2009
Posts: 46

Apparently, according to the bio of Diffrent Strokes, Gary never fully matured due to his kidney failure and his height or something along those lines. That may be a cause for some bitterness.
  Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:52 PM.

Although the administrators and moderators of the Sitcoms Online Message Boards will attempt to keep all objectionable messages off this forum, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the author, and neither the owners of the Sitcoms Online Message Boards, nor Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd. (developers of vBulletin) will be held responsible for the content of any message. The owners of the Sitcoms Online Message Boards reserve the right to remove, edit, move or close any thread for any reason.

Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.5.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.