Cremation of Gary Coleman's Remains Postponed

DO NOT USE UNTIL DEATH IS CONFIRMED - CAROUSEL - Gary Coleman - Obit AP/CBS

A judge on Monday ordered that Gary Coleman's remains be cremated no sooner than Wednesday afternoon, so Coleman's ex-girlfriend will have enough time to travel from Oregon to Utah to see his body.

Fourth District Judge James Taylor said he will appoint an independent attorney to oversee Coleman's estate and the cremation of his remains until a dispute between Coleman's ex-wife and his ex-girlfriend is settled.

The judge said he will name Provo attorney Robert Jeffs the special administrator of Coleman's estate. Jeffs wasn't notified of the ruling in advance and wasn't at the hearing. He did not immediately return a call to his office seeking comment Monday evening.

Coleman died May 28, but his cremation has been on hold because of legal wrangling over his assets.

Gary Coleman: 1968-2010

Coleman's ex-wife, Shannon Price, and his former girlfriend and manager, Anna Gray, both contend they are the lawful administrators of his estate.

Gray is named in a 2005 will, and the judge delayed Coleman's cremation so Gray could travel to Utah from Portland, Oregon, and see his body before it is cremated.

Gray's attorney, Randy Kester, said Gray wanted to see Coleman one more time for sentimental reasons. He said Coleman and Gray knew each other for eight years and that she moved to Utah and lived with him briefly before he and Price became romantically involved in 2005 on the set of the comedy "Church Ball."

Price declined to comment Monday. She is named in a 2007 handwritten note by Coleman that's intended to amend any earlier wills. The note names Price as the sole heir.

Also Monday, one of Coleman's friends and former managers, Dion Mial, withdrew his petition to be named as the special administrator of Coleman's estate. Mial was named in a 1999 will by Coleman, but his attorney said the will that names Gray takes precedence because it's more recent.

Coleman stated in both wills that he wanted to be cremated.

Price and Gray each say they should be responsible for administering the estate of the "Diff'rent Strokes" star. Price's attorneys objected to the judge's decision to give Gray 48 hours to view Coleman one last time.

Price's attorneys contend she is the rightful heir to Coleman's estate because even though the two divorced in 2008, she was still his common-law wife. Court documents say the couple continued to live together, shared bank accounts and presented themselves as husband and wife.

It wasn't publicly known the two had divorced until after Coleman died after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

Price referred to Coleman as her husband when she called emergency services on May 26, saying he had fallen and was bleeding severely from the back of his head.

Coleman was still conscious when he was taken to a hospital in Provo but slipped into unconsciousness the next day and was placed on life support. It was Price who ordered Coleman to be taken off of life support. In 2006 - before they were married - Coleman signed documents giving Price legal authority to make medical decisions for him if he couldn't.

A court filing by Kester said Gray has been informed that Price has been removing personal property from Coleman's home.

On June 10, the Fourth District Court ordered that no more of Coleman's property be removed or sold. The court also prohibited any of the parties from selling or distributing photographs of Coleman before or after his death.

Price appeared in a picture with Coleman on his death bed on the cover of a tabloid June 8.

Coleman starred for eight seasons on the sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes," starting in 1978. The 10-year-old's "Whachu talkin' 'bout?" became a catch phrase in the show about two African-American brothers adopted by a wealthy white man.
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