As a child of the 1980's, I grew up watching Diff'rent Strokes like most people my age. A white, middle-class kid growing up in Oklahoma, I did not have much in common with two African-American orphaned children from Harlem taken in by a rich Park Avenue businessman, but the show constantly had me laughing, especially when Gary Coleman ("Arnold") would throw out his catchphrase "What'choo talkin' bout, Willis?" So it was disappointing to hear about the recent death of Coleman, whose post-Diff'rent Strokes life was seemingly as scandal-ridden as the lives of his child co-stars on the show, Todd Bridges ("Willis") and Dana Plato ("Kimberly").
Coleman was apparently taken advantage of in life (in the early 1990's he successfully sued his parents and business advisor for almost $1.3 million over misappropriation of his $3.8 million trust fund), and now that he has passed away it looks like there may be additional controversy as well. Specifically, another blogger who writes on similar topics has provided a good update on the documents and characters who are coming out of the woodwork following his death. Wikipedia of course also has a good summary of his life and recent events.
Gary Coleman did not have "Michael Jackson money" but it appears that there is still enough to fight over. Notwithstanding that Coleman filed bankruptcy in 1999, it is possible that the potential heirs fussing over the leftovers havea special interest in the intellectual property and other rights which could conceivably have value in the years to come as the people in my generation watch reruns and relive the glorious(?) early 1980's.
Matt House can be contacted by telephone at 501-372-6555, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by facsimile at 501-372-6333, or by regular mail at James, Fink & House, P.A., Post Office Box 3585, Little Rock, Arkansas 72203.