Gary Coleman Net Worth: A Look At The Late Actor's Finances In 2023


Gary Coleman was an American actor, comedian, and former child star. He rose to fame in the late 1970s and early 1980s with his role as Arnold Jackson on the hit TV series “Diff’rent Strokes.” Despite his success, Coleman faced a number of personal and financial challenges throughout his life. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Gary Coleman’s net worth and how it evolved over the years.

Early Life and Career

Gary Coleman was born in 1968 in Zion, Illinois. He was adopted at birth by a nurse and a fork-lift operator. At the age of eight, Coleman was discovered by a talent scout while he was at a Chicago bank with his parents. He was cast in a series of commercials and eventually landed the role of Arnold Jackson on “Diff’rent Strokes.”

The show was a massive success and made Coleman a household name. He earned $100,000 per episode at the height of the show’s popularity, which was a significant amount of money for a child actor at the time.

Financial Struggles

Despite his success on “Diff’rent Strokes,” Coleman faced a number of financial difficulties throughout his life. He filed for bankruptcy in 1999, citing mismanagement of his finances by his parents and former business manager. In 2006, he was forced to auction off his personal belongings, including his “Diff’rent Strokes” memorabilia, to pay off his debts.

Coleman also struggled with health issues, which prevented him from working regularly. He underwent two kidney transplants and suffered from seizures. He was also involved in a number of legal disputes, including a lawsuit against his parents and former business manager.

Later Career and Net Worth

After “Diff’rent Strokes” ended its run in 1986, Coleman struggled to find work as an actor. He appeared in a number of TV movies and guest-starred on several TV shows, but he never achieved the same level of success as he did with “Diff’rent Strokes.”

In the early 2000s, Coleman tried his hand at reality TV. He appeared on shows like “The Surreal Life” and “Divorce Court.” He also ran for governor of California in 2003, but he was not taken seriously as a candidate.

At the time of his death in 2010, Gary Coleman’s net worth was estimated to be around $75,000. However, his estate was embroiled in a legal battle between his ex-wife and his ex-girlfriend, which delayed the distribution of his assets.

Legacy and Impact

Despite his financial struggles, Gary Coleman remains a beloved figure in pop culture. His catchphrase, “What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” is still widely recognized and referenced today. He also paved the way for other child actors and helped to bring attention to issues facing young performers.

However, his tragic life story serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of child stardom and the importance of managing finances wisely. While he may not have died a wealthy man, Gary Coleman’s legacy will live on for years to come.


Gary Coleman’s net worth may not have been as impressive as some of his Hollywood peers, but his impact on pop culture is undeniable. Despite facing numerous challenges throughout his life, he remained a beloved figure and an inspiration to many. As we look back on his legacy in 2023, we can learn valuable lessons about the importance of financial management, the dangers of child stardom, and the enduring power of catchphrases.