Kennedy Credits Coleman With Humbled Attitude
Actor Jamie Kennedy will never take his fame for granted after a humbling meeting with Gary Coleman - because the former child star was working as a security guard to make ends meet.
Diff'rent Strokes star Coleman died on Friday (28May10), aged 42.
His life was marred by health and financial problems and he filed for bankruptcy in 1999, a decade after he successfully sued his parents for misappropriating his $3.8 million (£2.53 million) trust fund.
As a result, Coleman was forced to take on odd jobs - and Ghost Whisperer star Kennedy recalls running into the diminutive actor while he was shooting 1999 movie Bowfinger.
He tells People.com, "We were filming in downtown Los Angeles and I pulled up to the (set) and looked over and saw this security guard. It was a little guy.
"I said, 'Gary, how you doing, man?' and he said, 'You know, trying to put the pieces back together.' I said, 'Why are you here?' He said, 'I need a job, man.' I said, 'But you’re Gary Coleman.' And he said, 'That don’t mean nothing.'"
Kennedy admits the conversation hit him hard - because he had been inspired by Coleman to embark on an acting career.
He says, "(Diff'rent Strokes) was a pop culture phenomenon and here he was guarding my trailer. I remember just looking at him. I used to watch him all the time. I used to recite all his lines. He was one of the reasons I wanted to get into Hollywood.
"I just thought, 'Enjoy your moment and be humble, because anything could happen.' And now the poor guy is gone."