Gary Coleman’s parents, Willie and Sue Coleman, appeared on the “Today Show” Friday to talk about the untimely death of their son. While talking about the estrangement between themselves and Coleman, the different wills that have surfaced, and the death bed photos and various controversies that have arisen around the accident and death of the young actor, Willie Coleman told “Today Show” co-host Meredith Vieira that they received a “strange message” from Shannon Price after leaving word with Santaquin police for Price to contact them.
“It was the strangest message I’ve ever heard in my life,” Willie Coleman told the “Today Show” co-host. “When someone is hurting like we were at that time, to leave a message, ‘Hi, this is Shannon Price. Thanks for your interest. If you need more information, my brother is handling the arrangements.’ “
Still, “strange message” or not, the Colemans are not entering the blame game that has erupted since the death of their son. They believe that the allegations being proffered by Dion Mial, Gary Coleman’s former manager and executor of his estate (according to a 1999 will), are unfounded. Mial, who stands to gain substantially through a trust should the 1999 will be deemed valid (and wherein Shannon Price gets nothing), has claimed “foul play” and wants a thorough investigation launched into the death of his friend.
But Shannon Price’s strange message isn’t the only strange behavior on the 24-year-old’s part that has the internet and talk shows buzzing. Many remarked on the reticence of Shannon Price and her family after the accident occurred on May 26, some going so far as to speculate whether or not Shannon Price may have somehow caused the fall that resulted in the brain hemorrhage that ultimately led to Gary Coleman’s death on May 28.
And then there was the swiftness with which Shannon Price had Coleman disconnected from life support machines. Gary Coleman had slipped into a coma on his second day of hospitalization and was placed on life support. Hours later she ordered him taken off of the life-sustaining machines. The actor died just after noon on May 28. Although it was found that she had the legal right to make the decision, many still wondered why she seemed to move with such haste.
The next controversy hit when it was discovered that Shannon Price wasn’t married to Coleman any longer. The two had married in a secret ceremony in 2007 and, as was revealed, divorced in secret as well.
When the 911 call was released, Price was condemned for her seeming refusal to help her husband, even though she admitted to the dispatcher that blood was “everywhere” and that Coleman had hit his head. She talked of being sick and possibly going into seizures herself, that she couldn’t “deal” with the blood and was gagging. Instead of being looked at as a sick person having difficulty helping her injured husband, she was seen by many as self-centered and uncaring.
But that was before the death photos hit the headlines. The sale of the death bed photos to Globe magazine would have been a scandal regardless of who had taken them, but when it was later found that Shannon Price had orchestrated (by her own admission) not only their production but also allegedly directed the their sale and would profit from them, speculation reached a frenzy questioning her behavior, her relationship with Coleman, and reignited intense debate as to whether or not she may have had something to do with the “Diff’rent Strokes” actor’s death.
Regardless, Gary Coleman’s parents said they do not believe their son died of anything untoward. “I can’t say that we actually know everything,” Sue Coleman told Meredith Vieira on the “Today Show,” “but we got a report from the authorities in Utah that there was no foul play. That did make us feel a lot better.”
Sue Coleman said she wants the “disrespect” toward her son to stop. “I want all the talk to stop,” his mother said. “Gary’s gone. I want his body put away respectfully so that we all can bring some closure to this part of him … Let’s just put him away so that his spirit can just go on to where it’s going. He’s at rest, I know he is, and the rest of us need to bring some closure to it.”
That does not seem to be the way events will proceed, however. Shannon Price filed papers in court Thursday, according to Radar Online, to take over Gary Coleman’s estate. She maintains that, even though divorced from Coleman, she was his common law wife and, therefore, had power of the “distribution of his body” and should be appointed special administrator over his estate. A hearing on the matter will be held Monday.