Gary Coleman played a happy fun-loving ‘Arnold’ on TV’s Diff’rent Strokes.
But according to his longtime agent, speaking out for the first time to RadarOnline.com, Coleman’s real life was far from the ideal Hollywood image.
Robert Malcolm revealed the tormented life that Coleman endured– a life he described to RadarOnline.com as “sad and lonely.”
Malcolm met Coleman when the Diff’rent Strokes star was 24 — a time when the actor revealed his lost youth.
Malcolm told RadarOnline.com, “His room was full of toys, very little furniture… and I said to myself, ‘How sad, here is somebody who probably never had the time to be a child’.”
The pint-sized actor sued his parents Sue and Willie Coleman in 1989 for allegedly stealing his multimillion-dollar fortune — a claim they have long denied.
The parents were also accused of forcing their son to work under horrific health conditions.
“His kidney problem started when he was quite young, he was in pain, they would still make him work and they kept on promising that it would be the last year and the year ended and they started again,” said Malcolm.
“He supposedly made $18 million over the course of Diff’rent Strokes and when he finally sued his parents, he wound up with $1.3 million.
“So you wonder where did that money go? I don’t have the answer.”
Later in life, Coleman moved on and didn’t speak with his parents for the final 23 years of his life.
Said Malcolm, “In terms of his parents he spoke very little. There was not particularly anger but there was no love. You felt that he had been abandoned.”
Perhaps the most heartbreaking part of Coleman’s life was the multitude of ailments he faced.
“Beyond the fact that he had dialysis every other day, three times a week which is a very, very difficult thing to go through… he also had a heart problem, he had infection problems because of the posts they had to put in, there were very few places that they could do things to him to draw blood, he had a breathing problem.
“About four years ago he got very ill and had to be in an induced coma. He had bitten his tongue in his sleep and his tongue basically had enlarged and was outside his mouth. They induced a coma which he was in for a couple of months.”
Police do not believe the 42-year-old’s death on May 28 was suspicious.
His body was discovered by his ex-wife Price, 25, who later gave permission to turn off his life support machine.