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Coleman’s ex-wife says he’d have been like Ali

Shannon Price has come under fire for discontinuing the actor's life support. She said that if she hadn't done so, Coleman would be “like Muhammad Ali.”
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Gary Coleman's ex-wife, Shannon Price, has come under fire for deciding to discontinue the actor's life support. But Price said that she made the decision because if she didn’t, Coleman would be “like Muhammad Ali.”

“The doctors told us that even if they had done surgery on him, he would’ve died,” Price said in a videotaped statement to TMZ. “He would've bled to death during the surgery. Even if they did take a chunk out of his brain, he would not be the same. He’d basically be like Muhammad Ali ... I mean, Gary was gone.” (Ali suffers from Parkinson's disease, which causes tremors and slurred speech.)

“I don't want people to be so hard on me thinking I had to pull the plug too early,” Price said. “He wouldn't have made it anyway. His heart would've just given out. I don't want people to sit there and think I'm a bitch, and that I didn't care about him.”

Price has been under additional scrutiny for her behavior during the 911 call she made upon finding Coleman after the accident that caused his brain hemorrhage.

In the call, she said, “There’s blood all over. And I can’t do anything.” Price also said she was hesitant to help Coleman because she “couldn’t be near blood.”

Some have even speculated that she might have had something to do with Coleman’s initial accident. Her response to TMZ: “A lot of people sit there and say, yeah, she pushed him. People are so cruel, they don't even know. I was upstairs, he was downstairs. How am I going to push him? Why would I want to hurt my husband, are you kidding?”

‘Idol’ bandleader has fond memories
Longtime “American Idol” music director and band leader Ricky Minor heads to “The Tonight Show” Monday to take the place of Kevin Eubanks, who recently left the show.

Minor joined “Idol” in 2005, its fourth season, and said that year's winner, Carrie Underwood, is his favorite contestant.

“She was very shy, but remained the same through and through,” Minor said. “She emerged by the end of the competition, and several of the performances, one in particular, ‘Hello Young Lovers,’ was one in particular that I really enjoyed. Maybe it’s a little sentimental because it was my first year, but she has grown tremendously.”

“Idol” hasn’t been Minor’s only gig. He’s been the music director for the Grammy Awards, the NAACP Image Awards, Super Bowls and countless specials. His clients include Stevie Wonder, Sting and Alicia Keys, but he said that working with Whitney Houston when she sang the national anthem at Super Bowl XXV in 1991 has been one of the highlights of his career.

“That was the turning point, my fondest memory, because that was full of adversity,” Minor said.  “That arrangement (with Houston accompanied by an orchestra) ... no one wanted it and I almost got fired for it … it changed her life and it changed mine,” Minor said. Houston's rousing rendition of the anthem was later released as a single.

Houston’s recent concerts in Europe have made it clear that she’s struggling, at least vocally. Minor didn’t have any comment on that, other than to say, “I’d love to get her back.”

I’ll have more about Minor's “Tonight” plans on Monday.

Monsters lurk at weekend box officeA massive publicity blitz for “Get Him to the Greek” plus fairly good reviews and its “Hangover” humor appeal should bring big crowds to theaters when it opens this weekend. Look for it to be No. 1, but only among new releases.

“Shrek Forever After” will remain on top if early projections are right.

As for the rest of the new releases, “Killers,” the Ashton Kutcher-Katherine Heigl movie will be up in the top three. Kid-friendly “Marmaduke” opens wide in 3,000 theaters, but isn’t going to get big crowds. For the week’s counter-programming option, there’s sci-fi horror flick “Splice,” starring Adrien Brody.

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on Follow Scoop on Twitter .