Gary Coleman: Your memories

Gary Coleman Coleman appeared in Diff'rent Strokes from 1978 to 1986

Former Diff'rent Strokes star Gary Coleman has died, aged 42, after suffering a brain haemorrhage.

Mr Coleman was taken to hospital on Wednesday after a fall at his home in the US state of Utah.

BBC News website readers from around the world have been sharing their memories of the actor.


I met Gary in a robotic combat show called 'Battlebots' when he was part of a team with a machine called 'Nightmare'. Our machine (Warhead) was paired up against them and we won. Afterwards I asked for his autograph, and he said "Man, I should be asking for yours - you just whooped us!". He always struck me as a nice guy whose problems were mainly due to the trappings of fame.

Vinny, Bournemouth, UK

I used to see Gary at UCLA, where we both received kidney dialysis several times a week. He was always kind and polite to the nurses and doctors and always appreciative of the care he received. It takes several hours for dialysis so you have a lot of down time to talk. Gary didn't always do 100% of everything the staff asked of him (no one does) but he complied more than most.

Julie Laurence, Los Angeles, USA

My fondest memory of Mr Coleman is actually not TV-related. Many people do not know that he was an avid model railroad enthusiast. His creativity in designing, building, and operating his recreation of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad certainly shined. He may have been a famous child actor, but many of us knew him as a respected hobbyist. Even this past year, he was still purchasing train tracks from his local hobby shop with the intent of expanding his railroad empire. I can only imagine the solace that hobby must have given him in an otherwise bumpy life.

Will Hamilton, Colorado, USA

Gary was my inspiration on Diff'rent Strokes - as a short, quiet black boy I was inspired by his character on the show. My classmates gave me the nickname Arnie. As a result I got into amateur dramatics and helped my son launch his own career in drama. Now I am a journalist, I interviewed two of Gary's co-stars, Shavar Ross and Todd Bridges, both of whom told me how difficult it was to make contact with Gary. I am so sad to hear that he has died in such tragic circumstances. RIP Gary, I'm not sure I would have made it this far without Arnold Jackson.

Veron Graham, Solihull, UK

As a black girl adopted into a white family, I totally loved this show. It was just great to see black faces on TV that I could totally relate to.

Jenny, Bristol

He was a household name in my country when we were growing up. Gary, you brought us happiness that is what matters

F. Wasswa, Kampala, Uganda

During my school times I used to enjoy Different Strokes very much. I still remember the humorous scenes and am fond of all the faces he made with such skill and expertise. Thank you Mr Coleman for cheering us up during our difficult times as Tibetan refugees.

Tenzin Wangdu, India

I feel I have known Gary Coleman all my life even though I never met him. He remains a really big influence in my life, a big brother I never had. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

Jemilu Kwande, Lagos

For a brief period in our lives Gary brought laughter into our household. I will always remember him as that young child who was too big for those little shoes.

Jegathisan Yogaraja, Singapore

My fondest memory of Gary was when he played the character "Hieronymus Fox" in the 1970s Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century.

Alexander Holland, Oxfordshire

RIP Gary, you taught me how to laugh in the face of adversity. You'll be sorely missed.

Neil Henderson, Aberdeen

Such a great actor who deserved far better fame than he received in his lifetime.

Coleman Glenn, Portsmouth

It is unfair that Gary Coleman will probably be recalled as another case of a child star whose life spiralled out of control due to fame. I dearly hope he will be remembered for his unquestionable comedic verve and acting ability which was rare to find at such a young age.

Matthew Carter, London

I remember the first time I ever watched Diff'rent Strokes when I was nine. Arnold poured water into his bed (pretending to wet the bed), because he felt he wasn't getting enough attention. For a laugh, I did the same thing that evening - my mother didn't find it funny, though!

Ian, London

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