Dana Plato

Dana Plato 1964-1999

  • 12/14/17: MeTV January 2018 Schedule Has Diff'rent Strokes

    Diff'rent Strokes is coming to The MeTV Network this January! The Gary Coleman sitcom will launch on January 1 airing weekday mornings at 6:30am and Sundays from 3-4pm, both following The Facts of Life. The series was previously on Antenna TV a few years back.

  • 11/19/13: ENCORE Networks Acquire Classic Sitcoms: Amen, Diff'rent Strokes, What's Happening, 227, Murphy Brown, Night Court

    Antenna TV

  • 11/15/12: Antenna TV Acquires Diff'rent Strokes

    Whatchoo talkin' bout? Antenna TV will add the classic '80s sitcom Diff'rent Strokes to its regular lineup on Wednesday, January 2, 2013! We hinted that a new show would be coming in January, now it is official! The Gary Coleman sitcom will be airing Mondays & Wednesdays from 9-11pm ET and also on Sunday nights from 10-11pm ET. In addition, current Sunday night staples, WKRP in Cincinnati and Barney Miller, will be moving to weeknights this January! Antenna TV will also add Antenna TV Theater, a Saturday night primetime movie block. We will have more on the actual schedule for January next month, so stay with us!

    Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fourth Season

    During the fourth season, Arnold (Gary Coleman) lands in trouble with the law when he tries to join the Gooch’s private club, Willis (Todd Bridges) sues the basketball team when he is replaced by another player, Kimberly (Dana Plato) goes on a forbidden weekend skiing trip and Mr. Drummond (Conrad Bain) learns of a love child he had while serving in the Korean War! One of the true classics from the golden era of TV sitcoms, Diff’rent Strokes focused heavily on family values, social issues and big laughs .

    Purchase Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fourth Season on DVD

    Read our review of Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Fourth Season on DVD

  • 08/13/12: 'The Complete 4th Season' is Scheduled by Shout! for DVD

    Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Third Season

    Purchase Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Third Season on DVD

    Read our review of Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Third Season on DVD

  • 04/06/12: 'Season 3' DVDs! Whatchoo Talkin' 'Bout, Shout! Factory? **UPDATE: Box Art**

    Dana Plato and Gary Coleman

  • 05/28/10: 'Diff'rent Strokes' actor Gary Coleman dies at 42 (CNN)

    'Diff'rent Strokes' star Gary Coleman dies (AP)

    Google News / TMZ / Wikipedia / IMDB / Gary Coleman Photos

    R.I.P. Gary. You will be greatly missed by all your fans. Post your condolences on our message board. View our tribute at Sitcoms Online.

    Bio TV will remember Gary by airing a block of Biography episodes on Wednesday, June 2, 2010. Biography: Dana Plato airs at 8pm, Biography: Diff'rent Strokes airs at 9pm, Biography Remembers: Gary Coleman airs at 10pm and The Truth Behind the Sitcom Scandals: Gilligan's Island & Diff'rent Strokes airs at 11pm. Stay tuned for further updates.

    Me-TV (Chicago) will air a tribute marathon of Diff'rent Strokes for Gary Coleman on Saturday (May 29) from 11a-7p.

  • 05/28/10: Gary Coleman, 'Diff'rent Strokes' Star, 'Unconscious, on Life Support'

  • 05/27/10: Child TV star Gary Coleman hospitalized in Utah

    Tyler Lambert and Dana Plato

  • 05/12/10: Son of the Late Dana Plato Commits Suicide / Google News search for more articles

    Some photos of Dana and Tyler:

    Photo #1 / Photo #2 / Photo #3 / Photo #4 / Photo #5

    Our condolences to his family and friends. Such a heartbreaking story.

  • 08/12/09: Dana Plato on the Sally Jessy Raphael Show on August 14, 1991

    05/08/09: Still Remembering and Missing Dana 10 Years Later

    In Memory of Dana Plato Tribute Video by DanaPlato4ever

  • 03/31/09: Diff'rent Strokes Biography Episode on the Biography Channel

    On Wednesday (April 1), they will air Biography: 'Diff'rent Strokes' at 10pm ET/PT (with an encore at 2am ET/PT, if you miss it). What do a softcore porn star-turned-armed robber, a rehabilitated coke addict, and a bankrupt 4'8" 40-year-old have in common? They were the child stars of Diff'rent Strokes, the popular NBC/ABC sitcom that aired from the late '70s to the mid '80s. From what happened behind the scenes to what went wrong after the cameras stopped rolling, we'll find out what the gang was really talkin' about when Gary Coleman would ask, "Wha'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" Yes, you may think another special on this series? Biography has never done a special on the show itself, so it is all-new, but I wonder if we will learn anything different from the other specials like E! True Hollywood Story? Tune in to find out!

    The Dana Plato Biography special will re-air 9pm ET/PT and 1AM ET/PT.

    Upcoming Episodes on BET

  • 08/18/08: BET Schedule Update

    All the Sony Pictures sitcoms they have are all expiring at the end of August and they will not be renewing them, unfortunately. So you will not see Diff'rent Strokes, Thea, Sanford, and Malcolm & Eddie in September. Yes, The Steve Harvey Show is from Sony but that is not part of that package and thus Harvey is not expiring.

    Diff'rent Strokes (weekdays 9-11am) will have a missing episode finally aired on BET. The episode "Bulimia" has never aired on BET because the tape they had was damaged...but now BET has gotten a new one and will air it on Thursday, Aug. 21 at 9:30am, so get those VCRs/DVRs ready! Speaking of Diff'rent Strokes, it will have a five-episode block in primetime on Saturday, August 23 from 8pm-10:30pm, followed by a five-episode block of A Different World from 10:30pm-1am. The episodes will be multiple-part storylines. View the episode info for this stunt.

    That's not all for Diff'rent Strokes! On its last day of airing, BET will give it a proper send-off with an all-day marathon on Friday, August 29 from 9am-6pm. We don't have episode info yet for that stunt, but should by next week, so keep checking our Diff'rent Strokes message board.

  • 05/01/08: Diff'rent Strokes no longer encoring in the afternoon - 4 new episodes per day - Marathon Scheduled for May 26 from 9am-7pm

    Dana Plato

    Biography: Dana Plato re-airs on The Biography Channel on Wednesday, June 18 at 10PM ET/PT and on Thursday, June 19 at 2AM ET/PT

    The Biography Channel aired a special on Dana Plato on Tuesday, April 15. It had premiered at 4AM on one night in December. We will let you know when it airs again or is available on DVD.

    Biography: Dana Plato. Chronicles the tragic life of the Diff'rent Strokes star who died of a drug overdose at 35. Born to an unwed, teenage mother, Plato was put up for adoption. She appeared in her first TV ad when she was just 7, and at age 14 she was hired for Diff'rent Strokes. Six years later she was forced to leave the show when she became pregnant. Plato then languished in the world of B-movies and even soft core pornography, all the while struggling with an addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol. Plato's rise and fall continues to have a haunting effect on the culture of child celebrity in Hollywood. CC HD [TVPG]

  • 04/14/08: Diff'rent Strokes Gets Additional Slot on BET

    Diff'rent Strokes Marathon on BET on Sunday, April 20 from 6-11PM ET/PT

  • 02/18/08: BET Adds Diff'rent Strokes Weekdays at 9:00am and 9:30am

  • 06/19/07: Diff'rent Strokes minisodes available on The Minisode Network

  • 06/05/07: Diff'rent Strokes Reruns Come to Atlanta TBS - Weekdays from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • 05/11/07: Diff'rent Strokes has been airing in the UK for the last month or so on Trouble weekdays at 7:30am, 2pm (repeat of 7:30am), 2:30pm and 6pm (repeat of 2:30).

    In the U.S., Diff'rent Strokes can be seen on Comcast's On Demand service and the following local channels:

    WWME - Chicago
    WRLH - Richmond-Petersburg, VA

    Handy link for local channels

  • 04/10/07: Diff'rent Strokes Returns to Comcast's On-Demand TubeTime Channel

    Dana Plato

  • 09/11/06: Dana Plato Wrongful Death Suit Filed

    Behind the Camera: The Unauthroized Story of Diff'rent Strokes

  • 09/03/06 - Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Diff'rent Strokes airs on NBC on Monday, September 4th at 8-10 PM ET.

    Additional information, cast details, and our review
    Internet Movie Database entry
    Todd Bridges on Diff'rent Strokes movie, his sister, and reality shows

  • 08/07/06: http://blog.sitcomsonline.com/2006/08/ellen-season-4-dvd-now-sept-26-comedy.html


    Series Stars Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges Participated in Project and Appear in On-camera Interviews in the Movie; Bobb'e J Thompson Stars as a Young Gary Coleman

    BURBANK August 7, 2006 NBC will re-visit one of television's most popular comedy series -- "Diff'rent Strokes" -- with a movie that serves as a powerful cautionary tale about the tragedies and challenges facing the child stars of the sitcom as well as all child stars in "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Diff'rent Strokes,'" premiering on Monday, Sept. 4 (8-10 p.m. ET). Original cast members Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges participated in the movie and will also appear in on-camera interviews.

    "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Diff'rent Strokes'" not only takes viewers behind the scenes of the popular sitcom, but also follows the lives of Coleman, Bridges and fellow star Dana Plato in the years after the series went off the air as their personal lives spiraled downward. In addition, it also examines the pitfalls of child stardom.

    "Diff'rent Strokes" premiered on NBC on November 3, 1978 and concluded in 1986. Coleman and Bridges starred as Arnold and Willis Jackson, respectively -- two orphaned children from Harlem who were adopted by wealthy businessman Philip Drummond. The brothers' sudden lifestyle change from poverty to the penthouse made the comedy an instant hit for NBC.

    This production which follows previous "Behind the Camera" movies on NBC that re-created the story and era surrounding "Three's Company," "Charlie's Angels" and "Mork & Mindy" -- is produced by Once Upon a Time Films. Bobb'e J Thompson ("The Tracy Morgan Show") plays the young Coleman while Verda Bridges, Bridges' real-life sister, portrays Bridges' mother. "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Diff'rent Strokes'" is executive-produced by Stanley M. Brooks ("Broken Trail") and Scott W. Anderson (NBC's "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Three's Company'"), with Damian Ganczewski ("Broken Trail") producing. Robert Iscove ("She's All That") directs from a script written by Greg Pincus and Susan Rinehart.

  • Comcast's On Demand Tube Time dropped Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life at the end of July. They were offering the 4th season for viewing and had aired the first 3 seasons.

    Dana Plato Commercial for Noxema

    Growing Pains - The Complete First Season

    Growing Pains - The Complete First Season will be released on February 7, 2006. Dana appeared in "Mike's Madonna Story," which aired on November 5, 1985.

    Disc 2 begins with "Mike's Madonna Story," where Dana Plato plays a girl named Lisa (who looks like Madonna) who Maggie fears—and for good reason, because Mike may just lose his virginity to Lisa!

    Purchase Growing Pains - The Complete First Season on DVD

    Read our review

    Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Second Season

    Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Second Season released on January 31, 2006!

    The hit series DIFF'RENT STROKES is back for a second season of laugh-filled comedy and warm, human drama. Audiences loved the hilarious culture clash between wealthy Philip Drummond (Conrad Bain), Arnold (Gary Coleman) and Willis (Todd Bridges), the sons of his late housekeeper from Harlem and his daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato). The series continued to explore race relations through its comedic story lines, and also featured a dazzling array of guest stars, including the legendary Muhammad Ali and baseball great Reggie Jackson. During the second season, Arnold and Willis were officially adopted by Mr. Drummond. Also, midway through the season, Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae) left the Drummonds to work at the Eastlake School for Girls (as seen in the hugely successful spin-off TV series "The Facts of Life"), and was replaced by Nedra Volz as the new housekeeper, Adelaide Brubaker. Experience the charm of DIFF'RENT STROKES and watch its evolution into a TV classic!

    Purchase Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Second Season

    Read our review of Season 2

    Here is the front and back cover art for Season 2 (to be released on January 31, 2006) courtesy of TVShowsOnDVD.com and SitcomsOnline.com - Season 2 Episode List

    Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Second Season

    Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Second Season - Back Cover

    Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete First Season

    When two kids from Harlem find themselves in the lap of luxury with their newly adopted family, the Drummonds, nothing is ever ordinary again. Young Arnold, his brother Willis, and new sister Kimberly learn to love and accept each other with the guidance of their father and housekeeper Mrs. Garrett. This '80s favorite became a pop culture phenomenon by providing nonstop laughter while breaking through cultural barriers. And now the complete First Season is available for the first time on DVD!

    Special features: "A Look Back at Diff'rent Strokes" featurette with all new interviews from Todd Bridges, Conrad Bain and Charlotte Rae; "Whatchoo Talkin' Bout?" featurette on Gary Coleman; 3 Audio Commentaries with writer Fred Rubin

    Purchase Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete First Season

    Read our review of Season 1

  • 07/13/05: Added link to DanaPlatoForever.com

  • 06/13/05: VH1 Premieres '100 Greatest Kid Stars' In A 5-Night Series Hosted By Christopher Knight Beginning Monday June 13 9PM*

    NEW YORK, June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- VH1 has crowned Gary Coleman, of "Diff'rent Strokes" fame, the number one kid star. Macaulay Culkin, Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen, Jodie Foster, Drew Barrymore, Emmanuel Lewis, Ron Howard, Corey Feldman, Maureen McCormick and Danny Bonaduce round out the top ten on the list.

    Premiering on Monday, June 13 at 9 P.M.* and hosted by Christopher Knight, "100 Greatest Kid Stars" is a five-night special that follows the tradition of VH1's successful "100 Greatest ... " franchise. VH1 has assembled the definitive list of child stars, and counts them down using new, exclusive interviews with many of the stars themselves and that golden footage from way back when ...

    1. Gary Coleman (DIFF'RENT STROKES)
    40. Todd Bridges (DIFF'RENT STROKES)
    91. Dana Plato (DIFF'RENT STROKES)

    Complete List

    06/16/04: From TVShowsOnDVD.com:

    Whatchoo talking about it's on DVD? It's true - for the first time, long-running sitcom Diff'rent Strokes will be available on DVD September 14 from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment.

    Filling three discs, Diff'rent Strokes: The First Season will showcase the adventures of two adopted kids from Harlem, as played by Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges, living with a rich, white family.

    The true lives of the cast, including drug-troubled Bridges, were just as interesting as the show's plotlines. And many return for fresh interviews for the DVD, including Bridges, Conrad Bain and Charlotte Rae. Other DVD special features include a featurette on Coleman and audio commentary with show scribe Fred Rubin.

    Premiering in 1978, Diff'rent Strokes ran for eight seasons, first on NBC and later on ABC. Pre-orders for the DVD package are due Aug. 12. The set is priced at $29.95.

    04/28/04: From TVShowsOnDVD.com:

    Diff'rent Strokes - Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis? We're gonna be on DVD?

    That's right, Diff'rent Strokes is headed to DVD. Columbia TriStar is set to release the first season of the show on September 14th. Please keep in mind that this hasn't been officially announced and that date may change. We don't have any information about bonus material at this time.

    The show broadcast 189 episodes over 8 seasons.

    03/26/04: Peacock stokes 'Strokes'
    Inside look at 'Mork,' 'Shirley,' 'Bewitched' also planned
    Whatchoo talkin' about, NBC?

    As part of its "Behind the Camera" franchise, Peacock is developing a two-hour look at the drama surrounding the hit '80s NBC sitcom, "Diff'rent Strokes." Greg Pincus is writing a script for the project, which is one of several TV tales in the works at NBC.

    NBC is also in early development on telepics focusing on the behind-the-scenes drama of ABC hits "Mork & Mindy," "Laverne & Shirley" and "Bewitched." NBC has previously produced telepics on ABC hits "Three's Company" and "Charlie's Angels."

    "The franchise has performed quite well for us," said NBC longform topper Jeff Gaspin, who also heads alternative programming at NBC and is prexy of Bravo. Most recent "Charlie's Angel" pic was just so-so in raw numbers, "but when we got in the upscale demos for 'Angels,' it was off the chart," Gaspin added.

    Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges have signed on as consultants on the "Diff'rent Strokes" telefilm, which Gaspin said will tread cautiously when dealing with many of the tragic events surrounding the sitcom -- including the death of star Dana Plato.

    "If you get it right, this is a cautionary tale about kids in Hollywood," he said. "We need to do it in a non-exploitative manner."

  • 12/05/03: Posted by Kitt Flynn

    Darlin' Dana's Landslide

    The landslide will bring you down.

    'Landslide' was one of Dana's favorite songs. Aside from its haunting and beautiful melody, she unfortunately related to the sad story within the lyrics.. From the time Dana was a very young child, she was destined to perform and entertain. She was a singer, dancer, actress and an accomplished ice-skater. She was a gifted natural as a little girl, and she built her life around expressing her gift. Dana's talents were rivaled only by her incredible beauty. Given this, she reasonably expected she would express her gift and continue to do what she loved. When opportunities to ply her trade were abruptly closed off to her, she felt blindsided. Perhaps Dana underestimated or didn't even consider the possibility of something she had no control over: the unforgiving and crass nature of the Hollywood industry.

    At the age of 20, Dana was excited to learn that she was expecting a child, which was not allowed under her Diff'rent Stroke's contract. Consequently, she found herself not only ousted from her role on a popular sitcom but was eventually, in effect, blacklisted in the entertainment industry. Much to her dismay, the actress and entertainer that she'd been most of her young life was abruptly discounted and all her gold stars reneged.

    She was informed that she would have to redeem her reputation as a "trustworthy client". She went from audition to audition with little success. Publicly, Dana was ever the optimist and never complained about her unfair treatment. In retrospect, Dana's disappointment from the accumulative landslide of rejections, topped off by the landslide of cruel and constant tabloid ridicule resulting from some of her escapades, brought her down.

    Her self-confidence and self-esteem had been deeply shaken. I took my love and I took it down

    Climbed a mountain then I turned around

    And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills

    Well the landslide brought me down

    Oh, mirror in the sky

    What is love?

    Can the child within my heart rise above

    Can I sail through the changing ocean tides

    Can I handle the seasons of my life

    People in Dana's life advised her that 'the biz' had been cruel to her and that she should walk away. Dana either didn't see it that way, or she was like most of us are to some degree at one time or another, afraid of change. If there was something more to love out there for Dana than what she had already learned to love, she would have pursued it if she could find it. The 'problem' was that Dana loved acting and entertaining. It was her entire life and the very essence of her. Entertaining defined her.

    Undoubtedly, Dana questioned time and again if she would ever pull herself back up to where she wanted to be and just how rough the sailing would be to get there. In some very dark ways, such as her battles with drug addiction and her history of self destruction, Dana was unable to avert the landslide well enough to save her own life.

    Well, I've been afraid of changin'

    'Cause I built my life around you

    But time makes you bolder

    Even children get older

    And I'm getting older too

    Well, I'm getting older too

    So, take this love and take it down

    Yeah, and if you climb a mountain and turn around

    And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills

    Well the landslide brought me down

    --Landslide lyrics by Stevie Nicks

  • 02/06/03: Columbia TriStar wants your vote!

    They are conducting a survey to see which shows we would like on DVD. You can vote for up to 5 series and let them know if you prefer "full season" sets or "best of" compilations of a single series or theme.

    Besides Diff'rent Strokes, they also list: Barney Miller, Benson, Bewitched, Designing Women, Dilbert, The Facts of Life, Fantasy Island, Father Knows Best, The Flying Nun, Hart to Hart, I Dream of Jeannie, Just Shoot Me, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Maude, The Nanny, NewsRadio, One Day at a Time, The Partridge Family, Silver Spoons, Soap, T.J. Hooker, The Tick, V.I.P., and Who's the Boss?

    Click here to cast your vote!

    November 7 marks what would be the 38th birthday of Dana Plato. We miss you dear and wish you could be here to celebrate! Yet, we all know that you are making people smile up in heaven. (DanaForever)

    Geez, I can't believe it's been a year already. It's kind of weird how time flies by. It seems like a year goes by in 5 minutes and then it hits you that a year has actually passed. Happy Birthday to Dana. We miss you so much. We'll celebrate with you in our own special way. We remember and celebrate her by wishing her a happy birthday. We celebrate her life everytime we watch DS or one of her movies. We miss you Dana. (Jenny)

    Very well said, Jenny. RIP, Dana. You're sadly missed. (Harley Quinn)

    Happy birthday Dana. Thanks fo sharing your smiles, laughter and even your tears. (kittflynn)

    Very Happy 38 th Birthday to Dana. We're thinking of you! (JethroSimpson)

    Happy 38th Dana. I bet your having a ball up there, celebrating your B-day. It seems that whenever I talk to someone about tv shows, I always mention Diff'rent Strokes, and Kimberly always pops up in the conversation. Man, how time flys. It just makes it even more sadder. R.I.P. We all miss you. (curtis3331)

    Happy Birthday Dana, you are missed and thought of often. (Kira)

    I'll be updating the photo gallery soon with many additions

    Remembering Dana Mug

    Remembering Dana T-Shirts, Mugs, Mousepads, and More

    Diff'rent Strokes opening title

    Visit Diff'rent Strokes Online - the premiere source for Diff'rent Strokes information, photos, multimedia, and more since early 1998.

    July 23rd, 2002

    The Dana Plato Tribute Site has opened. This site was created by Brian Keith Moody who was a writer on the Diff'rent Strokes episode 'Memories'.

    Diffrent Strokes from Columbia House

    September 8th, 2001

    I am in the process of creating a CDROM in Dana's honor called Remembering Dana. This cd will feature alot of things about Dana through her life, and career. Her family has given me permission to put this cd together to keep Dana's memory alive. I am posting this message so I can invite those who would like to contribute something to the cd such as, pictures of Dana, etc. I am also going to have a section on the cd which will feature dedication to Dana. This will give Dana's family, friends, and fans the opportunity to write something special they remember or love about Dana. Pictures and poems can be added as well. I want this cdrom to be very special. If there is anyone who would like to contribute to the cd, please contact me at dptdllrocpa@juno.com
    . No explicit material will be allowed. Thank You.


    November 7th, 2000

    Former Child Stars: The Story of America's Least Wanted

    A new book "Former Child Stars: The Story of America's Least Wanted" by Joal Ryan has been released.

    An in-depth look at the psychological effects of finding fame at a young age. Dana Plato didn't believe Diff'rent Strokes was ill-fated. "I would have crashed and burned no matter what," the ex-primetimer said in 1997. And then, two years later, she crashed and burned for good - dead of an apparent suicide. She was 34 and, commonly perceived as the latest victim of something far greater than Diff'rent Strokes - Plato had succumbed to the former child star "curse."

    Or had she? Former Child Star is the first in-depth look at a generation's virtual peers - from Dana Plato to Gary Coleman, from Ricky Nelson to Rick Schroder and beyond. No mere where-are-they-now? retread, Former Child Star asks the question: Why are they now? Why do most ex-kid actors turn out just fine, while others dwell in tabloid (or worse) hell?

    Author Joal Ryan, the journalist and keeper of an acclaimed Web site on tv former child stars, is ready with answers. Tracing the behind-the-scenes history of the tv child actor from the 1950s to today, Ryan examines the successes of the Ron Howards, the trying times of the Gary Colemans, the burnouts of the Dana Platos. She finds that the real curse faced by these familiar faces is our "celebrity-or-bust" culture. Drawing on first-hand interviews with players who appeared on My Three Sons, The Brady Bunch, One Day at a Time, Diff'rent Strokes, and more, Ryan weaves a compelling tale that is as much a treatise on the culture of celebrity as it is a really cool book about kids we grew up watching grow up.

    For more information and to purchase:


    May 9th, 2000

    A new one-hour docudrama movie on the lives of the Diff'rent Strokes kids will air on FOX on May 16th at 9PM ET.

    After Diff'rent Strokes: When the Laughter Stopped

    The lives of the sitcom's three teen-age stars, Todd Bridges, Gary Coleman and Dana Plato, in the years following the end of the series.

    May 9th, 2000

  • Entertainment Tonight will have a one-hour special called "The Drama Behind Diff'rent Strokes" on their weekend program May 13th-14th. Check your local listings for the day, time, and channel in your area.

    April 18th, 2000

  • Added 15 photos to Picture Gallery 2

  • News of the Diff'rent Strokes FOX docudrama is announced

    February 9th, 2000

  • Added 12 photos to a new Picture Gallery 2

    November 23rd, 1999

    DANA PLATO WAS MURDERED -- says her family

    FALLEN TV STAR Dana Plato was murdered! That shocking charge comes from Dana's closest family member -- who is demanding a new police investigation into Dana's death, originally ruled a suicide.

    A NATIONAL ENQUIRER probe of inconsistencies in the statements of Robert Menchaca, the man who called himself Dana's fiance, helped raise suspicion.

    Now loved ones say suicide simply doesn't make sense.

    "Dana didn't want to die," Joni Richardson, Dana's former mother-in-law, told The ENQUIRER in an exclusive interview.

    "She was in the most positive and optimistic mood I'd seen in years," declared Joni, who raised Dana's son Tyler, 15.

    "There's something fishy here. I think she was murdered."

    Astonishingly, authorities view this as anything but a crackpot claim.

    In fact, cops are willing to take a second look into Dana's May 8 death by drug overdose in Moore, Okla.

    And evidence The ENQUIRER supplied to authorities may help determine if foul play was involved.

    We reported previously that Chicago promoter Shane Bugbee had put a sleazy compact disc and booklet about Dana for sale on the Internet.

    Joni Richardson quickly alerted police to the ghoulish curiosity item, billed as "Dana Plato's Last Breath."

    The CD contains telephone conversations between Bugbee and Dana's fiance Robert Menchaca while Dana allegedly lay gasping and then died.

    Bugbee's Internet package also contains what purports to be a death photo of Dana -- which, the promoter said, Menchaca snapped before calling police.

    "That man took pictures of Dana to make money instead of getting her help," charged grief- stricken Joni.

    If that's true, Menchaca's in big trouble, said Sgt. Scott Singer, of the Moore Police Department.

    "The law here requires that you come to the aid of someone who is in mortal distress," Sgt. Singer told The ENQUIRER.

    "If we can show Menchaca took pictures instead of trying to save Plato's life, there could be negligent homicide involved, which is a felony."

    Sgt. Singer said his department is investigating a copy of the compact disc and death photo package provided by The ENQUIRER.

    "I'm going to continue speaking with Mrs. Richardson and we will investigate," Singer added.

    "If there is evidence that Robert Menchaca or anyone else is guilty of criminal negligence or actual participation, we will prosecute."

    Plato, the 34-year-old star of the popular '80s TV show "Diff'rent Strokes" died in a motor home the day she returned to Oklahoma from New York, after appearing on the "Howard Stern Show."

    An autopsy revealed she had taken large amounts of Valium and the painkiller Lortab.

    Menchaca's account of what happened the day Dana died doesn't add up, according to sources close to the investigation -- and may contain vital clues investigators are seeking.

    Here are some of the most damning instances.

    For example, he said the two took an afternoon nap in their Winnebago, parked outside his parents' home that ill-fated day. Menchaca told police that when he woke up later, he found Dana cold and lifeless.

    The first thing he said he did was run to his mother's house, because she is a nurse. Family members arrived and tried to revive Dana. Then at 8:45 p.m., Menchaca dialed 911.

    But Shane Bugbee's compact disc suggests Menchaca called the promoter several times before Dana died -- and prior to calling for help. Bugbee says Dana's breathing can be heard on the recording. On one call, her breathing stopped and Menchaca shouts, "Dana! Dana!" in a futile attempt to wake her.

    To highlight Menchaca's clashing version of events in more detail, Joni pointed out that on the day Dana died her son Tyler waited all day to hear from her.

    Menchaca finally called at about 9:30 that night, and told the boy he'd been in his parents' house with friends at the time Dana died.

    "But later, he told police he was resting next to her in the motor home," noted Joni, who insisted it couldn't happen both ways.

    The bitter irony is that Dana finally seemed ready to straighten herself out after 15 years of addiction hell.

    "She had everything to live for," declared Joni. "She was more peaceful than I had seen her in years.

    "She was going to live in Tulsa with Tyler and open a small sandwich shop in Tulsa with me. It was all set up. It would be a solid income for Dana and Tyler. It was a fantastic dream.

    "I will never believe she committed suicide. Tyler doesn't believe it either."

    Joni is also convinced there's no way Dana would ever overdose on prescription tranquilizers and painkillers, despite her history of addiction.

    "Dana had five prescriptions for that painkiller over recent years -- for her teeth and back pain. She lived with me then. She never abused those drugs.

    "I just can't believe she forced those pills down her throat herself."

    The photos Menchaca allegedly snapped of Dana before she died could be his undoing. He told officials he took them because he thought she was, "snoring funny," said Sgt. Singer.

    Poppycock, said Joni. She had found Dana on the verge of death from overdoses several times. "There is no way those awful croaking noises Dana made when she was like that could be mistaken for snoring.

    "It was a death rattle. He was taking pictures when he should have been getting her up and helping her. He could tell she was dying!"

    Sgt. Singer added, "The so-called snoring that Robert thought he heard was pulmonary edema (the lungs filling with liquid) and Dana was probably about an hour away from death at that point."

    The ENQUIRER has called Robert Menchaca for comments on statements in this report. So far, he has not responded.

    But Menchaca may be answering questions for a long time to come. For now, police are stuck, but according to Sgt. Singer, "We will continue to investigate for new evidence. The statute of limitations runs for seven years."

    E! True Hollywood Story

    E! True Hollywood Story: Dana Plato

    An one hour E! True Hollywood Story documentary special on the life of Dana Plato is scheduled to air on November 21st at 9:00-10:00PM Eastern. (it will be repeated on the 22nd at 12:00AM, 10:00AM, and 4:00PM Eastern on the 22nd and at 9:00PM Eastern on the 26th)

    Many interviews will be included in the show including Dana's son Tyler, Dana's mother-in-law Joni, and Dana's cousin Sandy. They will also have interviews with Dana, Conrad Bain, Al Burton, Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, etc. - they are using clips that were never used in the first E! True Hollywood Story: Diff'rent Strokes which originally aired in September 1998.

    November 4th, 1999

    Dana Plato's Memory Lives On

    Dana Plato's family is planning an Oklahoma museum/restaurant and a CD-ROM honoring the late actress, TV Guide Online has learned.

    Six months after Plato died of a drug overdose in her Oklahoma trailer, her 15-year-old son, Tyler Lambert, and her former mother-in-law, Joni Richardson, are mapping out plans for a Tulsa-based museum/restaurant tentatively called Dana's Place or Dana's Café. That's the word according to John Whitaker, himself a former child star (Family Affair, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters) and Plato's manager at the time of her death.

    Whitaker also tells TV Guide Online he's collaborating with Lambert and A&R Records on a tribute CD-ROM that will feature a previously unreleased 1996 track sung by the late actress. "It's kind of slow, Peaches and Herb-type of music," he says. "Dana sings well but it wouldn't be a top-40 song."

    The red-headed impresario says the CD-ROM, which he hopes to release before the first anniversary of Plato's death in May, will include home movies and positive reminiscences by family and friends. He's hoping to dispel the negative image portrayed in Dana Plato's Last Breath, a controversial CD and accompanying booklet from a small Chicago publisher featuring X-rated photos of the star and no-holds-barred audio interviews conducted with her in the weeks leading up to her death.

    "The only way to combat the nasty, yucky stuff is to sell them something that can be positive," says Whitaker.

    The Official Dana Plato Website at http://www.danaplato.org by Dana's friends and family to open soon.

    From Johnny Whitaker (Dana's manager): "Currently, what we are planning to do is to counter the AWFUL CD, with a positive one that will have an original song Dana and a Friend recorded about 2 years ago. As to our knowledge it is the only professional recording Dana made. Along with the song, we will have pictures, memories of friends, video and audio clips of Dana, an audio/video remembrances of her son Tyler; plus hopefully a portion from her memorial here in Los Angeles."

    A restaurant/memorial site for Dana is being talked about - possibly to open in November in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    A trust fund has been set up for Dana Plato's son Tyler Lambert. To send donations:

    Edward Jones Co. Brokers
    c/o Tyler Lambert Trust Fund
    8116 S. Harvard
    Tulsa, OK  74137

    August 19, 1999

    Added 19 pictures to the gallery bringing the total to over 90

    July 6th, 1999

    Winnebago and its contents to be released to custodial guardian of late actress Dana Plato's son

    Norman, Oklahoma

    The dispute over ownership of a Winnebago in which former "Diff'rent Strokes" actress Dana Plato died in Cleveland County in May was resolved in District Court here this morning.

    The decision for the Winnebago and its contents to be released from storage and given over to the custodial guardian of Plato's 14-year-old son, Tyler, as part of the actress' estate was reached by agreement, District Judge William Hetherington said.

    Hetherington had the attorney for plaintiffs Lanny C. Lambert, Tyler's father, and Joni Richardson, Tyler's paternal grandmother, read into the court record a brief statement about the agreement and ordered her to file a more specific written agreement with the court within 20 days.

    Attorney Janis Preslar of Oklahoma City said the plaintiffs were satisfied with the agreement reached with Robert Menchaca Jr., Plato's fiance at the time the former child star apparently killed herself by a drug overdose inside the Winnebago as it was parked in front of Menchaca's parents' home May 8 in Moore.

    Plato, who was 34 at the time of her death, played the wholesome Kimberly Drummond on the NBC sitcom from 1978 to 1984.

    Menchaca originally was sued by Lambert and Richardson because he contended he had an ownership right to the Winnebago and its contents.

    Preslar said "any dispute involving contents also has been resolved" between the parties, noting for the court record that a digital camera and a computer - items among those originally disputed - belong to plaintiffs.

    Film from the camera seized by Moore police during an investigation following the actress' death is to be destroyed by police once police are done with it, Preslar said.

    That film contains pictures Menchaca reportedly took shortly before Plato died. He told police he thought she was just sleeping.

    Preslar, in an earlier court hearing, said the plaintiffs' "biggest concern" was that Menchaca planned to exploit Plato's death by selling the pictures or personal belongings of the actress.

    Menchaca denied that was his intention, but initially argued that part of his money was used to purchase the Winnebago and its contents and that he was entitled to possession of it.

    'Diff'rent Strokes' Actress's Death Declared Suicide

    05/22/1999, The Associated Press - Oklahoma City, OK

    Former child actress Dana Plato, who had long battled problems with drugs, committed suicide with an overdose of painkillers and muscle relaxants, the state medical examiner's office ruled Friday.

    Plato, who played Kimberly Drummond on the NBC sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes" from 1978 to 1984 (and on ABC from 1985 to 1986), died May 8 while visiting her fiance's parents in Moore.

    "I expected that she overdosed," fiance Robert Menchaca Jr., said Friday. He had said in a news conference days after the death that he trusted her judgment as she took the prescription drugs he said a Tulsa doctor had prescribed May 3 for back injuries Plato had suffered in a car accident.

    Police initially said she died of an accidental drug overdose of Lortab and Valium.

    But Dr. Larry E. Balding, the deputy medical examiner, said Friday that laboratory studies showed fatal concentrations of the drugs carisoprodol and hydro- codone/acetaminophen in her blood and tissues and the equivalent of seven tablets of carisoprodol still in her stomach. Carisoprodol is the generic name for the muscle relaxant Soma. Hydrocodone/acetam- inophen is the generic formulation for the painkiller Lortab.

    Balding said the death was ruled a suicide because of the drug concentrations, her past history of suicidal gestures and the agency's investigation of the death.

    Plato, 34, had had numerous problems since the sitcom's cancellation. In 1991, she was arrested for robbing a Las Vegas video store and was placed on five years' probation. A year later, she was given another five years' probation for forging prescriptions for Valium.

    "If I hadn't gotten caught, it could have been the worst thing that happened to me, because I could have died of a drug overdose," she said then.

    Plato had appeared on Howard Stern's radio program in New York on May 7 to deny the claims of a former roommate who said Plato was on drugs. Plato said she had been sober for about 10 years, though she had taken painkillers when her wisdom teeth were removed four months ago.

    This week, a Cleveland County judge ordered the motor home where Plato died impounded until a hearing can be held to determine who owns the vehicle.

    Plato's 14-year-old son, Tyler Lambert of Tulsa, wants the motor home. Menchaca's attorney said his client paid for the motor home although it was in her name.

    Outside the courthouse, Lambert's paternal grandmother, Joni Richardson, said she was suspicious of Menchaca's motives and noted that he had taken photos of Plato in a comatose state.

    Menchaca had told police he thought Plato was snoring when he took the photos. Moore police spokesman Sgt. Scott Singer said that actually Plato's lungs were filling with fluid.

    A memorial service is planned on Sunday in Los Angeles.

    I have received quite a few e-mails, read the message board posts, and the guestbook entries but there was one message that I received that meant so much to me personally and was especially poignant:


    I don't know if she ever got around to telling you this, but I am a friend of Dana's, as well as working with her manager, but Dana and I talked about your site a few months ago, and she really loved and appreciated what you have done with it.  Your site is the only one that really covered her career and her life with a fair and balanced perspective. Johnny Whitaker was her legitimate current manager, and at the request of her son will be doing several TV interviews this week to set the story straight.

    FYI, you source in Tulsa was correct; Dana was set to go into rehearsals for an Off Broadway show this summer. She was planning to take her son on vacation first so that they could spend some time together before her schedule was tied up.  We also had several movie offers for her that we were working on scheduling around the show, so things were really starting to go well for her.  The tragedy is even worse for its timing; if she hadn't died when she did she would have made a comeback in a big way by this time next year.

    Dana was a really sweet, nice person, who genuinely appreciated her loyal fans, and really liked your site. Thank you on her behalf.

    Susan Rydeen

    Welcome to The Dana Plato Memorial Site (formerly The Dana Plato Place): devoted to the former Diff'rent Strokes actress

    As I awoke on the day of Sunday, May 9th, I saw all the e-mails with the sudden, sad, and tragic news. Although I never met her in person or spoke with her directly (I had indirect talks with her to help run a fan club for her and to sell autographed photos thru this site), I felt like I knew her growing up watching her on Diff'rent Strokes and following her career. She had such big plans of making a comeback and making the most of the rest of her life. She had plans of marriage, doing off-broadway plays and looking for more acting work, writing a book, and building an ice skating rink in Florida. My condolences and sympathies to her family (especially her son Tyler - be strong, your mom was so well loved and will be greatly missed), friends, and fellow fans and admirers. Dana is in a better place, Heaven, now.

    This is a site that I have maintained since March 11, 1998 and I hope to keep it online indefinitely as a tribute and memorial to her life. Dana is gone, but she will never be forgotten.

    visitors since this page was established 03/11/98 - last updated 01/01/18

    If you are seeing only one main page and do not see the frame to the left go to this url:


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