Rest In Peace: Gary Coleman & Dennis Hopper

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After being admitted to a hospital on Wednesday for a head injury from a fall, Gary Coleman died on Friday. His wife, Shannon Price and her father were at the hospital with him.

Coleman, 42, became a star after “Diff’rent Strokes” debuted in 1978.  In the show he was the younger brother of the two African-Americans which were adopted by a wealthy white man. When the showed ended after six seasons on NBC and two on ABC, his popularity faded.  In recent years he had a lot of legal problems and also ill health from a kidney disease which was also the reason for his stunted growth.

His mother, Edmonia Sue Coleman according to a 1979 Los Angeles Times profile, said that her son had always been a ham as a small child.  Along with this natural comedic nature he also had a  unbelievable power of concentration that helped him to remember everything so much that at ten years old he learned and remembered his lines easily.

“Avenue Q,” which won the Tony Award for best musical in 2004 has also included a character called Gary Coleman since its debut.  The character in the musical identifies himself as a former child star who “made a lot of money that got stolen by my folks.”  The show’s creative team stayed in contact in the days between Mr. Coleman’s hospitalization and his death.

Coleman was born near Chicago on Feb. 8, 1968.  His kidney disease was diagnosed when he was 2 and he underwent his first transplant at five years old.

Dennis Hopper, the hard-living Hollywood icon who directed and starred in the classic “Easy Rider” before sobering up for an acclaimed second act in a remarkable career, died Saturday.

The actor, whose critically-hailed performances dated back to “Rebel Without A Cause” opposite mentor James Dean, died of complications from prostate cancer at his Venice, Calif., home.

He was 74. Hopper – who was in the middle of a contentious divorce with his fifth wife – was surrounded by family and friends, according to Reuters.

Hopper earned a pair of Oscar nominations that reflected his wildly disparate talents: the first for co-writing 1969’s cult classic “Easy Rider,” and the second for his portrayal of an alcoholic hoops coach in “Hoosiers” nearly two decades later.

The latter role came after Hopper, one of Hollywood’s most unremitting drug and alcohol abusers, beat his addictions and restarted his career – including roles in the quirky “Blue Velvet” and the big budget “Speed.”

Hopper co-wrote “Easy Rider” with co-star Peter Fonda and Terry Southern, creating a low-budget biker flick that become a blockbuster.

The movie also starred an unknown Jack Nicholson as a hard-drinking attorney. Across his five-decade career, Hopper also starred in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” as a demented photographer and in “Giant” opposite Dean.

He directed the Los Angeles gang movie “Colors,” starring Robert Duvall and Sean Penn – who was so impressed that he later named his son Hopper.

The veteran actor first fell ill last September, but continued working on the cable television program “Crash” despite the cancer.

The counterculture hero received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame just two months ago.

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