Molly Shannon said a “relentless” Gary Coleman repeatedly grabbed her while attempting to kiss and fondle her when she met him. (Watch the video below.)
The “Saturday Night Live” alum’s troubling encounter with the late child star of “Diff’rent Strokes” (1978-86) seemed to occur during his run of fame from the sitcom.
In an interview with Howard Stern on Tuesday, Shannon said she joined Coleman and the agent they shared in a hotel suite so she could talk with the popular actor. He appeared charming at first, she remembered. He held her hand and told her she reminded him of Kimberly, the character Dana Plato played on “Diff’rent Strokes.”
But as soon as the agent left the room, Shannon said Coleman turned aggressive. Tickling morphed into an attack.
According to Shannon, he kept climbing on top of her. She kept throwing him off. She gestured to indicate that he reached for her breasts as well. “He was relentless,” she said.
Shannon explained that she didn’t feel physically threatened because of the actor’s size (a reported 4 feet 8 inches as an adult) but keeping him at bay turned exhausting. So she sought refuge in the bathroom.
Undaunted, Coleman stuck his arm under the door and cooed, “I can see you,” according to the comedian.
Shannon finally sprinted out the door and told the agent he ought to watch his client.
“I wish I could have stood up for myself more,” she said.
Shannon, who had a recurring role on “Will & Grace,” also recounted the Coleman incident in her new memoir, “Hello, Molly!”
Coleman died from an intercranial hemorrhage in 2010 after a nearly lifelong struggle with kidney disease that stunted his growth. He was 42.