*Actor Todd Bridges has spoken out about the death of his longtime TV dad Conrad Bain at age 89.
For eight seasons, Bridges played the adopted son to Bain’s millionaire character Mr. Drummond on the hit NBC sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes.”
Now the sole survivor of the show’s core cast — Dana Plato committed suicide in 1999, and Gary Coleman died after falling down a flight of stairs in 2010 — Bridges says he’ll miss the man who was his surrogate father both on and off the screen.
“This is probably one of the most heart-wrenching days I’ve had in a long time,” Bridges, now 47, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “That Conrad’s not going to be around anymore to talk to. Whenever I needed advice, I’d call Conrad.”
The two first met in 1977, when a 12-year-old Bridges — who had already starred alongside Abe Vigoda on ABC’s “Barney Miller” spinoff, “Fish” — was cast with Bain and Coleman to star in a 20-minute presentation for NBC executives. The chemistry between the trio was so effortless, the network brass bought a full season on the spot.
“First time in history they bought 26 shows based on a presentation like that — a balcony scene that me, Conrad and Gary worked on together,” Bridges recalls.
“Diff’rent Strokes” was an instant hit with audiences, which Bridges partly attributes to the country’s frayed social landscape at the time: “It was during a time that race relations were kind of poor in America, and it kind of hit home that it doesn’t matter what color you are. Whoever God puts in front of you is who you’re supposed to love,” he said.
*Even in death, actor Gary Coleman is involved in a messy situation.
Since Coleman’s estate is still unsettled, his ex-wife has asked the judge to award her his fortune.
According to the Associated Press, Shannon Price testified Monday in district court in Provo, Utah, that even though the two divorced in 2008 they continued to live together and presented themselves in public as married.
But another woman, Anna Gray, says she is the rightful executor of his estate.
In 2005, the late child star allegedly named her as beneficiary. She happened to manage Coleman’s affairs and was his ex-girlfriend.
The “Diff’rent Strokes” actor died of a brain hemorrhage in 2010.
*The one-year anniversary of the death of actor Gary Coleman is upon us and still his remains have not been buried or cremated.
He died on May 28 last year and according to his former manager, Vic Perillo, the burial plans are still on hold due to the legal issues between his parents and his estranged wife.
His representative urged the press in an open essay obtained by wenn to show better respect to the actor by covering more positive things about him. He writes:
“This was not the proper and dignified manner to show respect for the magnificent talent the world TV and film audience knew in Gary Coleman. This was not the send off he deserved.”
He adds, “Unfortunately we learn of the great works and noble deeds of a person upon their death and at their memorial. Gary’s deeds and contributions to the entertainment industry and other endeavours were overshadowed by the desire of the media to stay focused on the misfortunes of his life and all the negatives.
“Gary’s downfall was not entirely of his own doing. He had help. There exist within the film and television industry those who make up the body of the Peripheral Industry. The new age life coaches to the stars, the managers and consultants, who have categorically destroyed the lives and careers of many performers. Gary Coleman was a victim of the Peripheral Industry, not of his parents.
“On this, the first anniversary of his death, I have contacted the three major (U.S. TV) networks, asking them to honour Gary, his eight years on Diff’rent Strokes, his seven movies of the week, his work as a spokesman with the National Kidney foundation and the many charitable endeavours he gave of his time and effort to.
“The answer from the networks were, ‘Not interested,’ ‘We don’t have any time’ and ‘We pass…’ To praise his work, talent and his person is of little interest to them. And yet, should his ex-wife, Shannon Price, or (Diff’rent Strokes co-star) Todd Bridges make a statement condemning his parents, they are given Carte Blanch time in the press. Have we lost our theatrical moral conscience?”
Wow, this is truly sad and tragic. We wish we could say rest in peace gary Coleman, but unfortunatel;y we can’t. Not yet.
*Here’s a look on prominent people in entertainment, music, sports, and politics who passed away in the year two thousand ten.
America lost two Soul singers in 2010, one at the beginning and one at the end of the year. The sexy R&B balladeer, Teddy Pendergrass, died in January and by year’s end Teena Marie, “Ivory Queen of Soul,” went home.
The world of sports and entertainment also lost the tallest professional basketball player, Manute Bol, and one of the shortest actors in Hollywood, former child star Gary Coleman.
Two feisty middle-agers that brought their Southern charm to classic female casts are also dearly departed, the hot momma Rue McClanahan (Blanche of the “Golden Girls”) and the no non-sense Dixie Carter (“Julia Sugarbaker” of “Designing Women”).
In the poli-social arena, three notable civil rights era activists also passed away: Benjamin Hooks, Dorothy Height, and Jefferson Thomas of the Little Rock Nine.
The gospel industry said good bye to two of its pioneers, the “Queen of Gospel” Albertina Walker and the “elder statesman” Bishop Walter Hawkins.
These are just some of the people who shared their lives with the world through the first decade of the millennium. We remember their legacy and say farewell to them and others in this photographic memoir:
*Police in Utah have reportedly ended their investigation into the death of Gary Coleman.
The star of “Diff’rent Strokes” passed away after suffering a brain hemorrhage at his home on May 28, and just a few weeks ago the coroner ruled that Coleman’s death was an “accident,” reports UK’s Daily Mail.
Hours before his death, the 42-year-old had fallen at his home in Santaquin and hit his head, possibly after having a seizure, and suffering an epidural hematoma.
After Coleman died and his remains were eventually cremated, suspicion of foul play was cast over the death, especially after the release of his ex-wife Shannon Price’s 911 call.
In the recording, she calmly reports finding Coleman lying in a pool of blood and says she refuses to go near him because she “can’t stand blood.”
However, despite police’s initial suspicions they have now closed the case and will not take the investigation any further.