Costars from ‘Diff’rent Strokes‘ are commenting on the tragic death of Gary Coleman, who died Friday at age 42 from a brain hemorrhage sustained after a fall at his home. The actor slipped into a coma on Thursday and was taken off life support Friday morning.
“It’s unfortunate. It’s a sad day,” Todd Bridges, who struggled much of his adult life, just as his costars did, tells the Associated Press. “It’s sad that I’m the last kid alive from the show.”
Bridges played Coleman’s older brother Willis, who was on the receiving end of the infamous line, “Whatchu talkin’ bout, Willis?” on the sitcom about a wealthy white widower who adopts two brothers from Harlem. Bridges released his memoir, Killing Willis, earlier this year.
Troubled actress Dana Plato, who costarred as teenage sister Kimberly, committed suicide in 1999. She was fired from the show, which ran from 1978 to 1986, when she became pregnant in 1984. Her 25-year-old son Tyler Lambert committed suicide on May 6.
Mrs. Garrett is also mourning the passing of Arnold Jackson. Charlotte Rae, who played the family’s housekeeper Mrs. Garrett, says Coleman was “absolutely enchanting” and admits the tiny 10-year-old star stole the show.
“I was with [Gary] the first year of ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ and he was the reason we were such a big hit,” says Rae, according to ‘Entertainment Tonight.’ “He was the centerpiece and we all surrounded him. He was absolutely enchanting, adorable, funny and filled with joy, which he spread around to millions of people all over the world.”
Earlier in the day before the news broke that Coleman had passed away, Conrad Bain, who played the boys’ wealthy adoptive father Philip Drummond on the show, said, “I’m hoping and praying that he comes around in a successful way.”
Former Child Star Gary Coleman Dies with His Wife by His Side: