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The Career and Legacy of a TV Icon: Gary Coleman (1968-2010)

As an actor Gary Coleman is finally receiving the props and respect he was always due. With his sudden passing on May 28th at age 42, people are  reexamining Gary's career peak which spanned nearly a decade. The Diff’rent Strokes star is now being recognized by the mass media and TV fans young and old as a television icon who made groundbreaking strides in the entertainment industry, helped to further popularize family sitcoms and who laid the blueprint for the careers of successful child stars today.

Soon after making scene stealing guest appearances on 70s sitcoms Good Times and The Jeffersons Coleman, all cuddly cute and cherub cheeked, became the star of Strokes in 1978 at the age of 10. Coleman’s catchphrase, ‘Whatchoo talking bout, Willis?’ became America’s favorite question, and critics compared his comedic timing to Richard Pryor. Gary was not only the star of this unconventional, interracial family sitcom; he commanded one of the highest paid salaries in television at the time— between $64,000-100,000 an episode. After conquering television, Coleman broke out on the big screen in 1981’s On The Right Track and 1982’s Jimmy The Kid. But the intimate format of TV was always his home base. So several TV movies were also made, including 1982’s The Kid With The Broken Halo which spun Coleman off into his own cartoon, The Gary Coleman Show, where Gary played an angel who helped children solve their problems.

Unfortunately in later years there was no one around who could truly help Gary solve all of his. His kidney-related health issues plagued him until his death, and Coleman’s troubles— arrests, bankruptcies and suicide attempts got more attention than his recent bit acting roles. For a time in life, it seemed he was only destined to be the poster boy for the tragic child star.

But he was much more than that, to put it simply, Gary Wayne Coleman was ‘The Grandaddy’ of modern-day child stars. Coleman's early career achievements far surpassed that of any child actor before him black or white. And the heights of his success helped to show an entire industry what limitless possibilities could exist for future child actors. Let’s just connect the dots and put it this way, the groundbreaking strides of Gary Coleman probably helped along the TV career paths of Emmanuel Lewis (Webster), Keisha Knight-Pulliam (The Cosby Show) and Jaleel White (Family Matters.) And Coleman's large payday so early in his career, most likely paved the way for former child stars The Olsen TwinsRaven-Symone or Miley Cyrus to command bigger salaries and transition into multi-million dollar media moguls. Coleman was indeed a true ‘star’; one who shined brilliantly for a brief time before fading away. But through his best career work he will never be forgotten. —Ronke Idowu Reeves

SEE ALSO: 15 TV Child Stars Who Should Thank Gary Coleman

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Queen Latifah Transforms Into Hattie McDaniel For Netflix Series

Queen Latifah takes on the role of Hattie McDaniel, the groundbreaking actress who made history as the first Black person to win an Academy Award, in a new Netflix miniseries. Entertainment Weekly published first-look images from the forthcoming show, Hollywood, on Wednesday (April 8).

Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan and Janet Mock are behind the seven-part series, which debuts on May 1.  Hollywood takes place during post-World War II Tinseltown and follows an “ambitious group of aspiring actors and filmmakers” who will do “almost anything” to make it big in show business.

The series stars David Cornerswet, Darren Criss, and Laura Harrier with a slew of supporting actors that include Queen Latifah, Rob Reiner, Mira Sorvino, and Katie McGuiness as Gone With the Wind’s Vivien Leigh.


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It's time to meet the supporting players of Ryan Murphy's #Hollywood! 🌟 We have your exclusive first look at many of the supporting characters in the upcoming Netflix series, including real-life Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel as portrayed by Queen Latifah. Tap the link in our bio to see all the photos. 📷: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

A post shared by Entertainment Weekly (@entertainmentweekly) on Apr 8, 2020 at 7:24am PDT

McDaniel’s historic Oscar win was of course shrouded in controversy given her role as Mammy in Gone With the Wind, a film that was boycotted and criticized over its blatant racism.

As for Queen Latifah, she has been busy both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Aside form Hollywood, the Queen joins Missy Elliott and Mary J. Blige as executive producers of the upcoming Lifetime biopic The Clark Sisters airing on Saturday (April 11).

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Cast of 'Hamilton' Surprises Young Fan On John Krasinski's 'Some Good News' Show

John Krasinski has brought smiles to The Office Fans with the launch of his creative Some Good News show on YouTube but the actor took things to another level by reuniting the original cast of Hamilton to surprise a nine-year-old girl.

Aired late Sunday (April 5), Krasinski welcomed Aubrey to the show after her parents shared how their daughter watched Emily Blunt's Mary Poppins Returns after she was unable to fly to New York to see Hamilton on Broadway. While social distancing is a brief new normal, Blunt who is married to Krasinski popped into their Zoom interview to surprise Aubrey.

But the good news didn't stop there. Krasinski then promised Aubrey he would fly her family to New York to see Hamilton once Broadway opens its doors. And miraculously, he managed to reunite the entire cast where they performed "Alexander Hamilton."

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Leslie Odom Jr., Anthony Ramos, Jonathan Groff and more shocked the 9-year-old, who was left speechless during the performance.

Elsewhere in the broadcast, Krasinski shared good news from around the world, including many fans making their own version of the show. Robert De Niro also shares the weather in a very De Niro kind of way.

Krasinski, who also stars alongside Blunt in The Quiet Place, created the Some Good News show to prove positive news always wins. His first guest was none other than Steve Carell with the two talking about the 15th anniversary of the iconic Office series.

Enjoy the good news above.

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Will Smith Celebrates 25th Anniversary Of ‘Bad Boys’

Will Smith celebrated the 25-year anniversary of Bad Boys on Tuesday (April 7) with a special shout out to his co-star, Martin Lawrence, and the film’s director, Michael Bey, and producer, Jerry Bruckheimer.

“Today is 25 years since the first ‘Bad Boys’ came out!!! We really putting this ‘for life’ thing to the test,” Smith captioned a video of him and Lawrence promoting the film in 1995 along with their recent Bad Boys for Life promo run.


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Today is 25 years since the first @badboys came out!! We really putting this “for life” thing to the test @martinlawrence 🙂 @michaelbay @jerrybruckheimer

A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on Apr 7, 2020 at 12:03pm PDT

The first Bad Boys film was a box office hit raking in more than $140 million. The 2003 sequel nearly doubled the numbers of its predecessor.

Lawrence and Smith reprised their roles as detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Barnett in Bad Boys for Life, which grossed $425 million worldwide.

Speaking to VIBE during the film’s premier in January, the duo revealed the secret to maintaining a flow on screen after all these years. “A great deal of respect and love for each other,” said Lawrence.

Smith noted that their friendship contributes to why they work so well together. “You can’t really love somebody you don’t understand. If you don’t known what makes them laugh, what makes them cry, if you don’t understand what somebody needs, you can’t really love them and that’s what I was noticing about the two of us, we just understand each other.”

Watch the full interview below.


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