PR Connection

June 8, 2010 at 10:58 pm (PRCA 3330 PR Connections)

     I was looking at the E! News website yesterday and I came across this article about Gary Coleman’s death and how his estate is being handled. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Gary Coleman, he was most known for his childhood role as Arnold Jackson in NBC’s sitcom Diff’rent Strokes that aired from the late 1970’s to the mid 1980’s. Coleman passed away on May 28, 2010 at the age of 42 after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

     Now lawyers are trying to figure out how to handle his estate, seeing as he did not have a current will. A Utah attorney representing the actor’s estate found a will dating back to 1999 that lists Coleman’s former manager, Dion Mial, as the executor of the estate. According to E! News, “Salt Lake City attorney Kent Alderman tells E! News he will file Coleman’s 1999 will in court sometime this week.” Alderman and Mial are both insisting that this document overrules the hand-written document from 2009 that lists Shannon Price, who was then still married to Coleman, as the sole beneficiary to the estate. Mial is insisting that this document is null and void because it does not meet certain criteria under Utah State statutory law.

     Price is claiming that her and Coleman intended to remarry, but since they never did she is not intitled to anything from his estate. Price’s rep, Sheila Erickson, is saying that “Gary made a statement about Dion less than 24 hours before he fell,” Erickson said. “He said that he had not been friends with Dion for years. When asked why, Gary said, ‘All good things come to an end.’ Gary was stating that he had a falling out with Dion and did not wish to be close friends with him anymore. I can see why now by the way that Dion is also turning on Shannon as well.” Mial is claiming that Price’s selling of deathbed photos of the actor and her appearances in the media are “ongoing desperate attempts to profit from the mysterious death of her ‘beloved husband.’ ”

     The PR reps for both Price and Mial must be careful when handling a topic as sensitive as this. Especially whoever is responsible for the sale of the photos of Coleman on his deathbed. Price is said to be linked with this, which is not helping her case to win sole propriety of the actor’s estate. I think that PR reps for both parties should try and keep things quiet until a final verdict is reached to avoid negative media speculation.


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