Gary Coleman to be an 80s icon. His TV show, Diff’rent Strokes, ran indigenous 1978 to 1986. Coleman lit increase the display with his impeccable acting and also perfectly timed humor. He also had a famous catchphrase.

The fame of “Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” lengthy outlasted Diff’rent Strokes itself. In fact, it may have actually been an ext famous 보다 Coleman himself toward the finish of his career.

The actor had a tough time landing work after Diff’rent Strokes was canceled. His career was complete of pitfalls and betrayals, also while he to be on Diff’rent Strokes. Still, follow to mental Floss, he would finish up playing his character from the show, Arnold, on another iconic sitcom. 

‘Diff’rent Strokes’ to be groundbreaking

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Producers never intended to make a splash with Diff’rent Strokes. Fred Silverman, the chairman of NBC in 1978, simply really wanted to find a way to usage Coleman. In ~ the time, Coleman to be killing that in commercials. Silverman knew he could be a huge star, given the best show.

He tried come reboot The tiny Rascals with Coleman as the lead, however it to be a no-go. That’s when he got the idea for a white millionaire that adopts 2 Black youngsters from Harlem. 

Silverman didn’t want the present to be political, but the interracial nature that the cast alone appeared to obstacle racists the not correct way. Stars acquired threats indigenous the Klan. Conrad Bain even got a letter v a one-of-a-kind wax seal from one of the Klan’s grand Dragons.

Todd Bridges, the actor who plays Arnold’s older brothers Willis, was likewise on the receiving finish of harassment indigenous white supremacists. 

Gary Coleman wanted to it is in done through Arnold 


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Gary Coleman together Arnold Jackson, Todd Bridges as Willis Jackson, Dana Plato together Kimberly Drummond | Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU photograph Bank

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Coleman to be still a child once the present started. He properly grew increase on set. Diff’rent Strokes ran indigenous 1978 come 1986. According to, Coleman was around 18 when the display ended, and he was worn down of playing a child.

While Coleman flourished up, Arnold appeared to stay mostly the exact same age. This was achievable due to a disastrous medical problem that afflicted Coleman. He to be born through a problem that left him with kidney issues. Medications he was offered for the problem stunted his growth. 

Even despite Coleman to be a teens in the middle of the show’s run, Arnold to be still fairly babyish. Coleman efficiently lobbied producer to make Arnold enlarge in the later on seasons. He saw high school, giving Coleman the chance to pat out an ext mature story lines.

The show described Arnold’s size by providing him the same condition Coleman himself had. That provided producers a opportunity to describe Arnold’s stature, but likewise led to a good storyline that Arnold managing the terrible diagnosis. 

The ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ group came back for an episode of ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,’ consisting of Gary Coleman

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By 18, Coleman was all set to be done through Arnold. The present was canceled, i m sorry Coleman seemed just fine with. Unfortunately, however, his job slowed after the cancellation of Diff’rent Strokes. It appeared as if Coleman would always be remembered because that Arnold and his signature catchphrases.

Apparently, pan asked Coleman come say his “Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” phrase so regularly that he would later on refuse come say it. 

But Coleman did go back to the character of Arnold at the very least one time prior to his death in 2010. Coleman’s critical time playing Arnold would certainly be for the series finale the Fresh Prince that Bel-Air. 

In the episode, will shows banks family’s Bel-Air mansion, consisting of Arnold and Mr. Drummond. Coleman also dropped his famed catchphrase, to which will certainly replied, “You know, Arnold, those things were a lot funnier once you were still a small child.”