Saturday, May 29, 2010
In a way, the peculiar thing about Gary Coleman's death is that I almost feel like I grew up with him. Except in a way, he didn't entirely seem to grow "up". But looking back at the movies he did when quite young, and his role on Diff'rent Strokes, it seemed like the vivacious, witty, line-perfect child-actor that he was, set a stamp on his life only magnified by the sad fact that he didn't physically change so much, but remained under-sized and chubby-cheeked--he was still big enough for the roles he could have played (or more so), it was only his body that stayed small.
He handled this publicly with usually good humor that belied that a lot of his life was about being sick or in pain, and that's a sad thing, too. For all that is said about child actors being messed up by their experiences, his health and apparently dealings with his family only added to his heartbreak. The last 20-something years should have been better than bit-parts. He really did have a strange gift.