Paul NBC/AP Images
Paul NBC/AP Images
Safe to say that Gary Coleman's folks aren't into this kind of diff'rent strokes.
The late actor's former agent, who landed Coleman his seminal role on Diff'rent Strokes back in 1978, tells E! News that the star's estranged parents are very angry that they weren't invited to the private memorial being held for him tonight in L.A.—even though his last wishes expressly forbade them from attending.
All together now: Whatchu talkin bout, Victor?
Victor Perillo, who is representing the interests of Sue and Willie Coleman, said that as far as he knew the remembrance was organized only yesterday by another of the former child star's ex-agents, Robert Malcolm, and that no one in the family's camp knows who was actually invited.
"I'm not doing anything with it," says Perillo. "I have another one I am planning. Robert Malcolm is a horse's ass. These are people that came on in the ninth inning of Gary's life. I've been with the Colemans for 30 years. I met Gary when he was 6 years old. These people act as experts on him and they want to celebrate his life with only 15 people."
Malcolm did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Perillo was quick to add that he still plans to hold his own more celeb-oriented tribute to his former client.
"I am trying to do a network goodbye, a national goodbye to Gary so we wouldn't have this circus going on," said the agent. "I have calls into everybody in the industry. I have a couple production companies that are interested. I'm trying to get the total industry to give a farewell to one of their own...a retrospective of his life, not the past 15 years as a bitter, washed-up child actor who hated his parents. We have to talk about the Gary Coleman that I knew."
Along with barring Coleman's parents, his live-in ex-wife, Shannon Price, was also blacklisted from Malcolm's event.
And tonight's is not the only Coleman memorial they're not welcomed at.
Last month, some of Coleman's closest pals—girlfriend and would-be heir Anna Gray, author-entrepreneur Kent Emmons and Diff'rent Strokes sibling Todd Bridges—announced they were putting together their own farewell in the coming months.
Emmons previously said they'll invite about two dozen people to celebrate Gary's life as well as reminisce about his Diff'rent Strokes days. No word yet when that gathering will take place.