Ron Jeremy Fondly Remembers a Former Colleague ... Gary Coleman

They were an odd couple: a porn star whose sexual partners number over 2,000 and a former child star who was a real-life 40-year-old virgin. But when news hit about the death of former child star Gary Coleman, his passing struck up some fond remembrances for Ron Jeremy.

“I loved his smile,” said Jeremy, who worked with the diminutive star of Diff’rent Strokes professionally in four projects.

“Getting to know Coleman wasn’t easy," Jeremy told AVN. “Gary was very serious sometimes. ... If he didn’t know you, he’d say hi and just keep walking. ... He didn’t want to spend a lot of time with people he didn’t know.”

Underneath that shy exterior was a playful soul. “He loved toys,” Jeremy said. “He didn’t experience a real childhood,” he added, as explanation for why Coleman found such satisfaction in such pursuits as playing with model trains.

The differences between the unlikely partners were highlighted when they both appeared on The Weakest Link in 2002. Talking about their stint on the game show, Jeremy recalled, “I voted him off, and then Corey Feldman voted me off. That was the show where after Annie announced that I had been with thousands of women, Gary said, ‘I’m the opposite of Ron Jeremy—I’m a virgin.’ ”

And, added Jeremy, Coleman was “happy to be so.”

Coleman also shared a television set with Jeremy in 2004, when the porn star was on The Surreal Life with an oddball assortment of characters that included Tammy Faye Messner (formerly Bakker), Vanilla Ice and Erik Estrada. Gary Coleman had a guest-starring role, but he stormed off the set. According to Jeremy, Coleman was annoyed when Vanilla Ice repeatedly repeated Coleman’s catch phrase from Diff’rent Strokes, “Whatchu talking’ ’bout, Willis?”

Most recently, Jeremy and Coleman acted together in Midgets vs. Mascots, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2009. Jeremy served as narrator on the film, a mockumentary about a very short porn star (not played by Coleman). The film, which Jeremy says “is available at Blockbuster right now,” also features porn star Sunny Lane.

But Jeremy’s favorite collaboration with Coleman was their first: working on Kid Rock’s “Cowboy” music video, in which Coleman and Kid Rock’s sidekick Joe C. engaged in a gun battle while Jeremy played the piano. “Anybody can see it right now,” Jeremy said, noting the video can be found on YouTube.

“We used to joke around,” Jeremy said, but Coleman had a very serious side. “He didn’t believe he could separate romance and sex. He asked me, ‘How could you make these movies—you don’t really love these girls?"

Laughing, the adult legend recalled telling Coleman that if he wanted to “learn how to separate the two,” Jeremy would give him a chance to star in a porn movie.

“No thanks,” Jeremy said the actor told him, adding gently, “I don’t believe he ever saw [a porn movie], and that’s totally fine.”