Gary Coleman settles suit with parents, manager

LOS ANGELES -- Former child star Gary Coleman announced a settlement Monday in his lawsuit against his parents and business manager, claiming they mishandled his money.

The settlement in Coleman's 1989 suit against his parents, W.G. Coleman and Edmonia Sue Coleman, and manager Anita DeThomas was reached late last week in Beverly Hills Superior Court.


The terms of the agreement were not disclosed but Coleman, 25, said in a statement he was 'very happy' with it.

'This is a great relief to him and enables him to put a lot of distraction behind him,' Coleman's attorney, Philip Boesch Jr., said. 'He's carried it around like excess baggage for too long.'

A judge last February found Coleman's parents and manager wrongly took $1.28 million in excessive commissions, salaries, fees and pension distributions from 1982 through 1987.

Coleman earned most of his money from his successful TV series, 'Diff'rent Strokes,' playing the pint-sized, quick-witted kid, Arnold, from 1978 to 1986.

Asked what the case means to other child stars, Boesch said, 'It means that they don't necessarily have to accept the fate that's dealt to them by the people in charge of their careers and money, that when they reach adulthood they can look back with some objectivity and seek a fair resolution.'


Boesch said Coleman's relationship with his family 'is a private matter between himself and his parents' but the attorney said he 'would like to believe personally that putting all this lawsuit and legal process behind him is an important first step to resolving what they had as litigants.'

Since the series quit production, Coleman has appeared primarily in guest and cameo roles, including an appearance in the upcoming feature 'S.F.W.'

Until recently he lived in Denver, where he hosted a Sunday night radio show on a light jazz-rock station.

Coleman donated that salary to the National Kidney Foundation, which supports research efforts and treatment of kidney disease. Coleman, born with a defective kidney, has undergone multiple transplants. His illness contributed to his stunted stature.

Boesch said Coleman is being considered for possible starring roles in three TV projects.

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