Gary Coleman will not be laid to rest this weekend as originally planned.
With the late actor’s ex-wife and estranged parents now warring over custody of his body, Coleman’s Utah funeral has been canceled, the Salt Lake Tribune confirms.
Sue and Willie Coleman — estranged from the “Diff’rent Strokes” star at the time of his death at age 42 — plan to file an action for legal control over their son’s remains. The grieving parents reportedly want Coleman’s body delivered to his birthplace of Zion, Ill., where they currently reside.
“The Colemans don’t want to fight with anyone,” their lawyer said in a statement. “They just want to bring their son home.” (Gary and his mother and father’s estrangement began with a 1989 lawsuit, in which he accused them of stealing a large portion of his fortune as a child star.)
On Wednesday, it was revealed that Shannon Price, who told doctors to pull the plug last Friday and who is now planning Coleman’s funeral, has been divorced from the actor since August 2008. But the Provo, Utah, hospital where Coleman died confirmed that Price had been legally authorized to make medical decisions on Coleman’s behalf regardless of their marital status. Still, Sue and Willie Coleman are arguing their legal rights to take over funeral arrangements.
Sue and Willie Coleman have “different plans than what is in Gary’s will,” counters Gary’s agent, Sheila Erickson. “It’s clear that Shannon is the one that Gary wants to represent him, as she did in the hopsital,” Erickson said. “He didn’t mention, at any time, his parents.”
And it gets even more complicated. “No one’s come forward with what appears to be a valid will,” Gary’s attorney Randy Kester revealed to UsMagazine.com on Wednesday.