Gary Coleman’s former manager and family spokesman, Victor Perillo, is asserting that Coleman’s parents are entitled to the custody of the late actor’s body. (Reported by the Associated Press, available here, via PilotOnline.com) The family apparently wishes to have the body returned to the Illinois home where Coleman was raised, so that they can hold a ceremony.
Perillo says that Coleman’s parents should be considered the “legal custodians” of the remains, because Coleman and former wife Shannon Price divorced in 2008. Coleman and his parents – according to the grapevine – were not on good terms. Perillo says though, that the family wished to reconcile prior to his passing.
The former child star suffered a brain hemorrhage and was taken off life support last week, according to the AP. He was just 42 and suffered from an array of medical issues over the years. The difficult decision to cease life support was made by Coleman’s ex-wife – Shannon Price. Coleman had previously given the right to his ex-wife to make decisions regarding whether to remain on life support, also known as an advance medical directive. Price told one website that she made the decision to take Coleman off life support when it became apparent to her that even if surgery was performed, he would have died or “never been the same.”
Perillo helped Coleman begin his acting career and has said that his parents hope to have a private memorial service in the town of Zion, Illinois.
An attorney for the estate, hired by Coleman’s parents, said that it is not the intention of his clients to “fight over his estate” – but rather the primary focus and concern at the moment is gaining custody of their son’s body, so they can proceed with a private ceremony.