05.28.10

Farewell, Gary Coleman: Watch 9 Great Moments

He made the phrase “What’choo talkin’ ’bout?” a national sensation, but there was much more to Gary Coleman’s life than Diff’rent Strokes. WATCH VIDEO from Gary Coleman’s complicated life on television.

He made the phrase “What’choo talkin’ bout?” a national sensation, but there was much more to Gary Coleman’s life than Diff’rent Strokes. WATCH VIDEO from Gary Coleman’s complicated life on television.

Arnold’s First Date

Arnold’s first date on Diff’rent Strokes didn’t go quite as planned when Willis and Kimberly tagged along as chaperones. But when his friend Dudley crashed dinner, things got a bit messy.

Video screenshot

Arnold Trains to Fight ‘The Gooch’

In this classic episode of Diff’rent Strokes, Arnold learns karate so he can defend himself against the evil school bully “The Gooch.” Then he tries a kick on Willis, which doesn’t go down too well with Mr. Drummond.

Video screenshot

Arnold Gets Molested (Almost!)

Diff’rent Strokes is remembered as about as light a sitcom as one could make, but the show had the characters coping with drugs, kidnapping, and even child sex abuse. Here’s a clip from the infamous child-molester episode, with Gordon Jump of WKRP in Cincinnati-fame playing, quite ably, the nefarious Bicycle Man.

Video screenshot

1982: The Gary Coleman Show

In this 1982 animated series, based on a made-for-TV movie Coleman wrote, he voiced an angel descended from heaven on a mission to earn his wings by helping children in need.

Video screenshot

4-Foot-8-Inch Football Star

When Arnold doesn’t make the cut for the school football team, Mr. Drummond has a conversation with the coach that magically earns his boy a spot. In this case, conversation means bribe.

Video screenshot

Arnold Renounces Drugs, Meets Nancy Reagan

Can you imagine Michelle Obama appearing on Glee to impart a Very Special Lesson about avoiding crack, heroin, marijuana, and angel dust? The rough equivalent took place when Nancy Reagan appeared on Diff’rent Strokes to visit Arnold’s classroom and talk about drugs.

Video screenshot

2008: Coleman on Divorce Court

It’s no secret that there were many low points in Coleman’s life after Diff’rent Strokes ended and his money evaporated. But this may be the nadir: Coleman on Divorce Court, leaving the resolution of his marital difficulties to Judge Lynn Toler.

Video screenshot

2010: Gary Coleman Explodes on Inside Edition

In one of his last TV appearances, Coleman appeared on Inside Edition to respond to charges that he assaulted his wife. Coleman ends up shouting at everyone and storming off, but somehow remains the least annoying person on the set.

Video screenshot

Coda: Coleman at 17, Saying ‘There’s Nothing Left’

Of course he’ll be remembered for playing Arnold on Diff’rent Strokes, but ultimately Gary Coleman was, to his fans, just a nice guy with some problems. Here he is at 17, telling an interviewer if he could give up show business and lead a normal life, “I guess I’d do it tomorrow.”

Video screenshot

Plus: Check out more of the latest entertainment, fashion, and culture coverage on Sexy Beast—photos, videos, features, and Tweets.