Diff'rent Strokes: Biographies/Where are They Now?

 


This section contains the most recent picture of each cast member that I could find along with what they have done since Diff'rent Strokes ended as well as biographical information when available. Please visit the links such as the Internet Movie Database and Wikipedia for the most up to date information.


Conrad Bain
 
         Conrad Bain
 
Conrad Bain was born February 4, 1923 in Lethbridge, Alberta Canada.  Wryly humorous Canadian character actor Conrad Bain was all wrapped up in such athletic pursuits as hockey and speed skating when, in his junior year of high school, he suddenly became fascinated with acting. He studied at Alberta's Banff School of Fine Arts, served in the Canadian army during World War II, then resumed his training at New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He worked at the Stratford (Ontario) Shakespeare Festival and in live television before scoring his first real success in the 1956 Broadway revival of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh. In the early 1970s, Bain began popping up in such New York-based films as Lovers and Other Strangers (1970) and Woody Allen's Bananas (1973). He gained national fame in the TV role of stuffy next-door neighbor Dr. Arthur Harmon on the Norman Lear sitcom Maude (1974-78).

He has basically retired from the business since Diff'rent Strokes ended in 1986.  In 1987, he was in the short-lived Fox series, Mr. President, where he was the chief advisor to George C. Scott in the series. He appeared as the grandpa in the 1990 movie, Postcards from the Edge.  In addition, he did a guest shot as Mr. Drummond on a May 20, 1996 episode of the "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" along with Gary Coleman. 

In 2004, he was interviewed for the special features for the first season DVD release of Diff'rent Strokes.

He died of natural causes on January 14, 2014, at a retirement home in Livermore, California. Mr. Bain was 89.

Remembering Conrad Bain

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Conrad Bain
  • Wikipedia entry for Conrad Bain
  • Conrad Bain autographed picture
  • another Conrad Bain autographed picture
  • black and white Conrad Bain autographed picture
  • another autographed picture as part of the Conrad Bain collection
  • insanely large scan of a Conrad Bain autographed photo


    Gary Coleman

       Gary Coleman
     
    Gary Coleman was born February 8, 1968 in Zion, Illinois. Adopted as an infant, his father worked for a pharmaceutical firm and his mother was a nurse.  Before reaching the age of 5, Coleman had undergone three operations for a congenital kidney defect known as nephritis. As a result of his medical condition, he would never grow any taller than 4'8". His smallness proved to be a professional advantage when he began appearing in Chicago-area TV commercials; even at the age of 9, he could still pass as a precocious five-year-old. In 1978, Coleman auditioned for a proposed television revival of the old Little Rascals comedy series. Though the project fell through, ABC chief executive Fred Silverman was enchanted by the talented tyke. Silverman cast Coleman as Arnold Jackson on the upcoming sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, which moved to NBC along with Silverman in the fall of 1978. It was this extraordinarily popular series, coupled with the precocious Coleman's spirited TV talk show appearances, that catapulted the 10-year-old to stardom. Within a year of Diff'rent Strokes' debut, Gary Coleman Productions was formed, for the purpose of starring the youngster in theatrical features like On the Right Track (1981) and made-for-TV movies like Scout's Honor (1980) and The Kid With the Broken Halo (1982). This last project was spun off into the Saturday-morning cartoon series The Gary Coleman Show (1983), with Coleman providing his own voice. An instinctive comic performer and extremely quick study, Coleman rapidly grew weary with the rigors of show business. As he grew older, Coleman's spontaneous cuteness faded. After the cancellation of Diff'rent Strokes in 1986, Coleman found the going decidedly rough. Occasionally he'd play a "stunt" part like a villainous gang leader on the TV series 227, but his short stature and ever-diminishing acting range made him difficult to cast. He still remained in the public eye, albeit as the central character in a bitter legal squabble between himself and his parents.

    Gary retired to Colorado in 1986 after Diff'rent Strokes was cancelled to a 6 bedroom - 3,500 square feet home. After leaving Colorado he lived briefly in Tucson, Arizona and worked at Tucson Hobby Shop because he is/was an active model railroader. More recently, he has reappeared in Hollywood.  He has appeared in a few movies recently, Party (1994) and S.F.W. (1994). He appeared in Norm MacDonald's movie Dirty Work. He was the voice of Kenny Falmouth in a cd-rom video game from Lucas Arts called "The Curse of Monkey Island".  He sued his adoptive parents and his former manager for mishandling his funds in 1989 and was awarded 1.3 million dollars. More recently, he has made guest appearances on television series such as Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Married with Children, Homeboys in Outer Space, The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show, and Mad TV. He was supposed to have a series sometime in 1992 after he did a guest shot on Geraldo, but the pilot did not sell and the project was scrapped.  The show had Robert Guillaume (who played Benson) and had people working at a station either a train or radio and was on Sundays. It didn't last long and Gary was supposed to have the part that Robert had. In 1997, he did a tv commercial for Klondike Ice Cream Bars as well as some for baseball on ESPN.  His favorite car is a Hummer.  He made an appearance on Vibe (a talk show hosted by Sinbad) along with Todd Bridges and Dana Plato on November 6th, 1997. He co-starred with Harry Hamlin in holiday TV-movie on cable's Fox Family Channel called 'Like Father, Like Santa'. On July 30th, he allledgly struck a woman who asked for his autograph, a court hearing was held August 25th where he pleaded not guilty. He recently finished a movie with Todd Bridges. He has worked as a security guard, a job he is trained to do. Recently, he was a corporate spokesperson and director of promotions for HoloWorld Cafe (a restaurant with laser-tag and video games) in Pasadena, California. Gary also was a co-host of The Reel Show on the site Reelpreviews.com.

    He appeared in Kid Rock's "Cowboy" video. In October 1999, he was hired as an intern/on-air personality show Mojo and Betsy In the Morning for 93.7 KRQ in Tucson, AZ. He was in the first episode of Shasta McNasty (Shasta) in September 1999 and voiced himself in the classic Christmas episode of The Simpsons in December 1999. He wrote a weekly advice column for UGO the Coleman Confidential.

    Coleman also played himself in the 2001 Scooby-Doo parody, Night of the Living Doo, produced by the Cartoon Network.

    In 2001, Coleman was employed as a shopping mall security guard in the Los Angeles area. A surveillance video of Coleman trying to stop a vehicle from entering the mall while the driver ridiculed him was broadcast on numerous television shows. Coleman played a supporting role in the controversial 2003 computer game Postal² by Running With Scissors, Inc. Coleman, who played himself, appeared at a shopping mall, and one of the game's objectives was to secure his autograph. Coleman's role was almost certainly based on a 1998 incident in which Coleman punched a fan who sought his autograph while he was at a shopping mall. Upon the player securing his autograph, police storm the mall to arrest him for an unknown crime, which leads to a violent shootout. Coleman was also featured prominently in the 2005 expansion pack to Postal², Apocalypse Weekend.

    Coleman was a candidate for governor in the 2003 California recall election. This campaign was sponsored by the free newsweekly the East Bay Express as a satirical comment on the recall. After Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy, Coleman stated that he would be voting for Schwarzenegger. Coleman placed 8th in a field of 135 candidates, receiving 14,242 votes.

    Coleman was featured in the 2004 season of The Surreal Life. He managed the restaurant at which the other cast members worked.

    Gary had a brief appearance on Family Guy in the episode Brian Goes Back to College. He had replaced Stewie since he owed him a favor.

    Coleman has also appeared in a clip of Robot Chicken.

    Coleman occasionally is able to cash in on his camp value to members of Generation X, by appearing in cameo roles in film and TV. As with Day-Glo, Rubik's Cube, Valley girls, Care Bears, Mr. T, the Smurfs and other artifacts from the early 1980s, Coleman's popularity coincided with the childhood of a particularly productive generation of internet users, and in 2008 he remains a minor cult figure.

    During 2006 and 2007, Coleman appeared in commercials for a cash-advance loan company called CashCall. He ends the commercial by saying, "Pay your bills on time and everyone will love you." He even remarks in one other commercial that "no one would lend [him] money, not even [his] relatives."

    Coleman secretly wed his girlfriend of five months, Shannon Price, 22, on August 28, 2007. They met on the set of the 2006 comedy film Church Ball.

  • Shannon Price and Gary Coleman

  • Coleman says he's secretly been married
  • Gary Coleman, Married Man

    On May 26, 2010, Coleman was admitted to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, Utah in critical condition after falling down the stairs at his home in Santaquin and hitting his head, possibly after another seizure, and suffering an epidural hematoma. According to a hospital spokesman, Coleman was "conscious and lucid" the next morning, but his condition subsequently worsened. By mid-afternoon on May 27, he was unconscious and on life support. He died at 12:05 pm MDT (18:05 UTC) on May 28 at the age of 42.

  • 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

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

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

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

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Gary Coleman
  • Wikipedia entry for Gary Coleman
  • GaryColeman.net - Television's #1 Greatest Child Star
  • Read all about the Gary Coleman vs. crazed fan incident
  • photo of Gary Coleman and a bunch of other former child stars on the Jenny Jones Show in the fall of 1998
  • transcript of an online chat with Gary Coleman on ABC.com on May 17th, 1999
  • Gary Coleman article from Argentina
  • Photo of Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges on Vibe

    Gary Coleman (late 1999)


    Todd Bridges and his ex-wife on Vibe
                   Todd Bridges
     
    Todd Bridges was born May 27, 1965 in San Francisco, CA.  He has had more than his share of personal problems since Diff'rent Strokes left the air in 1986.  In 1990, he was acquitted on charges of assault with a deadly weapon after he shot an alleged crack dealer.  In 1993, he pleaded guilty to drug possession and carrying a loaded weapon.  In January of 1997, he was arrested after allegedly ramming a friends car with his own after an argument.  Despite these problems, he has managed to appear in several movies (Busted, Homeboys, and The Sounds of Silence) and he made an appearance in episode of L.A. Heat (1996).  More recently, he is trying to get on with his life and start over. He finished several movies recently including The Last Stand (with Scott Valentine and Martin Cole), Busted (with Corey Feldman), and Lunchtime Specials (directed by Soleil-Moon Frye/Punky Brewster).  He produced, directed, and wrote a movie with his brother Jimmy that featured several of his family members called 'Building Bridges' in 2000.

    Bridges has traveled the U.S. speaking to over 6,000 kids per day in schools and churches discussing the dangers of drug use and negative peer pressure, and promoting his Christian religious beliefs. In 2001, Bridges rescued a woman who fell from her wheelchair while she was fishing.

    He appeared as a contestant on the Fox reality show Skating with Celebrities, but was eliminated on the second episode of the show. Bridges defeated Vanilla Ice on a 2002 episode of Celebrity Boxing. Additionally, Todd Bridges appeared along with Gary Coleman and Vanilla Ice on a VH-1's celebrity-reality show The Surreal Life. (Coleman was featured in the 2004 season of The Surreal Life where he managed a restaurant at which the other cast members worked, and after Todd Bridges appeared, was encouraged by Vanilla Ice to say "What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" much to his dismay and disapproval resulting in Coleman leaving the restaurant.) He appeared as a contestant on a 2006 celebrity episode of the Fear Factor, but was eliminated after the first stunt. In January 2007, he appeared as a member of the "mob" on the US version of the game show 1 vs. 100. He was eliminated on the first question after failing to correctly answer the question, "Which month has an extra day during a leap year?" He appeared on MyNetworkTV's new show, Decision House with his wife, Dori Bridges on the episode titled, 'Burned Bridges' aired on November 14th, 2007.

    He married Dori Smith (pictured above) on March 25, 1998. He and his wife had their first child on July 15th, 1998 a boy named Spencer Todd Bridges. Click here to read about it. They also have a daugther named Bo.

    Buy Killing Willis: From Diff'rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted

     

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Todd Bridges
  • Wikipedia entry for Todd Bridges
  • ToddBridges.net - What'choo Talkin' 'Bout Willis?
  • another picture of Todd Bridges
  • some pictures of Todd Bridges on a 1977 episode of The Waltons
  • photo of Todd Bridges and John Amos in a movie
  • black and white autographed photo of Todd Bridges


    Dana Plato on Vibe
           Dana Plato
     
     Dana Plato led quite an interesting life, full of dizzying heights and shattering lows. She came to fame as a child star but found out soon enough that early fame often has its own pitfalls. Best known as Kimberly Drummond, the older sister on TV's "Diff'rent Strokes," Dana went through a lot while never quite escaping the scrutiny of the media and fans.

    Dana Michele Plato was born in Maywood, California on November 7, 1964. Her birth mother (Linda Strain who was a 16-year-old unwed mother already struggling to support an 18-month-old child) gave her up for adoption as an infant and she was taken in by a Southern California couple (adopted by Dean and Florine 'Kay' Plato in June 1965) who soon enough guided her into acting. Dana landed roles on over 100 TV commercials as a child, including appearances for KFC, Arco and Dole bananas. Her questionable luck kicked in early on -- Dana was chosen for the lead role in "The Exorcist" but her adoptive mother refused to let her appear in such a film. So while Linda Blair went on to huge stardom, Dana was left with roles in flicks like 1975's "Beyond the Bermuda Triangle." (Dana did grab a small part in "Exorcist II: The Heretic," a film that has been voted one of the worst of all time.)

    Dana's fortunes began to turn when she was spotted by a producer during a brief appearance on TV's "The Gong Show." He was casting a new sitcom for NBC which was to become "Diff'rent Strokes," and Dana landed the part of Kimberly. Her girl-next-door cuteness and seemingly effortless way with comedy won her lots of fans during the show's prime time run, which lasted from 1978 to 1986. Dana moved in with rock guitarist Lanny Lambert in December 1983. In April 1984, she married Lanny and on July 2nd, 1984 their son Tyler Edward Lambert was born. Dana was fired from Diff'rent Strokes after the 1983-1984 season because of her pregnancy, but she did return for the final season on ABC in 1985-1986. By the time the program was cancelled, Dana had blossomed into a striking young woman, but her acting career could never escape the long shadows cast by her sitcom stardom.

    Dana's mother, Florine 'Kay' Plato, who had guided her career died of a blood disease in January of 1988 and her husband reportedly left her the same week. Dana and Lanny would divorce in March of 1990 and Dana was allowed visitation of her son, but her husband won physical custody of Tyler.

    Dana drifted in and out of the business over the next few years. She posed for a June 1989 pictorial in Playboy (a 5-page nude layout, the shots were taken in November 1988 in Arizona), showing off the delectable figure that she'd kept hidden for all those years. The nude pictorial did nothing to help revive her career, though, and Dana continued to languish on the fringes of the entertainment industry. She blasted her way back into the headlines in January of 1992, when she was arrested for the armed robbery of a Las Vegas video store (which she used a pellet gun and netted her $164) - she was charged with armed robbery and was later sentenced to five years probation. Her ill-conceived grab for rent money (it was really a cry for help according to many people) sent her to jail for a short stint, but her new notoriety managed to get her work in the "no publicity is bad publicity" world of Hollywood. Dana was helped by Las Vegas singer, Wayne Newton, who posted the $13,000 bail for her. In January of 1992 she was arrested for forging Valium prescriptions. Cited for parole violation, she served 30 days in jail. In 1993, she spent a month in a drug and alcohol rehab center in Las Vegas - one of several times she went into rehab.

    Following her jail term, Dana appeared in a string of B-grade features including such sterling gems as 1992's "Bikini Beach Race" and 1995's "Compelling Evidence." She was featured in a video game in 1992 called Night Trap as a scantily clad victim.  In 1995, she was in a play called "Last of the Red Hot Lovers" where she received passing grades. Her experiences behind bars also seemed to change more than just her career prospects -- Dana came out as a lesbian in a 1998 issue of the Sapphic pride magazine "Girlfriends." (she had said in more recent interviews that she was not a lesbian and was only experimenting). She turned plenty of heads with her scintillating performance in the 1997 straight-to-video epic "Different Strokes." It's a steamy softcore tale of a guy and a girl and another girl, and Dana shows off her curvaceous figure and lust for her fellow femmes in a series of sensual scenes.

    Sadly and tragically, she died of a prescription drug overdose on May 8th, 1999.

    According to Sgt. Scott Singer of the Moore (Oklahoma) Police Dept., "At this point, we having nothing against Robert Menchaca (her fiance at the time of her death). But the statute of limitations does not run out on deaths for seven years. So if the police do get evidence that Robert is guilty by criminal negligence or actual participation, we will certainly prosecute."

    She will live on in our hearts forever, and will be sorely missed.

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Dana Plato
  • Wikipedia entry for Dana Plato
  • The Dana Plato Memorial Site
  • The Dana Plato Tribute Site


    Lisa Whelchel, Charlotte Rae, and Nancy McKeon (November 2000)

                    Charlotte Rae
     
    Charlotte Rae was born Charlotte Lubotsky on April 22, 1926 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Growing up, Charlotte Rae claims she wanted to be a star just so she would feel like she fit in. To that end she moved to New York City where she met and eventually married composer John Strauss. During her early years she rubbed elbows with other young actors such as Paul Lynde, Uncle Arthur from Bewitched, and Cloris Leachman, her one-time NYC roommate who would later replace her on The Facts of Life.

    Rae's early work includes regular roles as Silvia Schnauser on Car 54, Where Are You? and Molly the Mail Lady on Sesame Street. She also co-starred in the Emmy-winning TV movie Queen of the Stardust Ballroom. But her most famous role was as Edna Garrett, originally introduced as the Drummonds' housekeeper in Diff'rent Strokes, and then the Eastland School housemother/nutritionist in the spinoff The Facts of Life.

    In March of 1998, she had a guest appearance on the CBS series 'Michael Hayes'. She was in the 1999 tv movie Crime in Connecticut: The Story of Alex Kelly and was in the 2000 tv movie Another Woman's Husband.

    In 2000, she was in the revival as Berthe in he musical Pippin at the New Jersey Paper Mill Playhouse.

    In 2007, she appeared in a cabaret show at the Plush Room in San Francisco for several performances.

    Charlotte divorced her first husband in 1976, composer John Strauss, before starting the Diff'rent Strokes tv series. She has two children - Larry, 36, is a writer and teaches school in south central Los Angeles and Andy, who had/has autism, and may have passed away. She has three grandchildren.

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Charlotte Rae
  • Wikipedia entry for Charlotte Rae
  • Charlotte Rae (TV.com)

     


    Nedra Volz

      Nedra Volz
     
    Character actress Nedra Volz, who played housekeeper Adelaide Brubaker in the early 1980s on the Diff'rent Strokes television series and made a living playing grandmothers and little old ladies, died Monday, January 22nd 2003 of Alzheimer's complications. She was 94.

    Volz, of Mesa, recognized for her trademark white bun, worked in vaudeville and radio as a young woman but didn't find fame in show business until her 60s.

    Her first role as the "Old Lady" came in a 1975 episode of Good Times. Over the years she made several guest appearances on other TV comedies including Alice, Maude and Designing Women. Along with Diff'rent Strokes, she had a recurring role as Pearl Sperling in The Fall Guy and as Miz Emma Tidsale, the postmistress, on The Dukes of Hazzard.

    She made her film debut in 1973 in Your Minutes Are Up as the "Free Press Lady" and went on to appear in more than a dozen theatrical and TV films including 10, Little Miss Marker and Earth Girls Are Easy. Her last film was The Great White Hype in 1995.

    Volz, born in Montrose, Iowa, on June 18, 1908, first hit the stage as a toddler. Her parents were in vaudeville and billed her as "Baby Nedra."

    She sang with a band as a young woman but stayed out of performing until about the 1950s when she did community theater.

    "She always had that bun on her head," said her son, Edward, of Mesa. "Nobody knows her name, but everybody knows who she is."

    Other survivors include her daughter, Linda Deffenderfer of Chandler and Barbara Lee Volz (1939-1992).

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Nedra Volz
  • Wikipedia entry for Nedra Volz


    Mary Jo Catlett

    Mary Jo Catlett , the third houskeeper Pearl Gallagher, was born September 2nd, 1938 in Denver, Colorado.  She appeared in the 1994 movie Serial Mom as well as the 1992 tv movie, Battling for Baby. She has several other movie and tv series guest appearances credits as well. She also appeared in the Los Angeles cast of Beauty and the Beast and off-broadway in Fashion. In 1999, she appeared in the movie Abiliene as Etta.

    For the past few years, she has been the voice of "Mrs. Puff" on the cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants. She also made a brief appearance in the movie "The Benchwarmers."

    Mary Jo Catlett

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Mary Jo Catlett
  • Wikipedia entry for Mary Jo Catlett


    Dody goodman

    Dody Goodman, who played Aunt Sophia, was born Dolores Goodman on October 28, 1914 in Columbus OH.

      Dody Goodman (Aunt Sophia) Dies at 93

    Dody Goodman died June 22, 2008 at Englewood (N.J.) Hospital and Medical Center. The actress had been ill for some time and had lived in the Actors Fund Home in Englewood since October. Goodman gained a measure of newspaper column space for her dancing solos in such '40s Broadway musicals as High Button Shoes and Wonderful Town. In 1955, she stopped the show in Off Broadway's Shoestring Revue with the novelty song "Someone's Been Sending Me Flowers."

    She came to the attention of nighttime talkshow host Jack Paar, who after becoming enchanted by Goodman's ditzy persona and seemingly spontaneous malaprops, invited the lady to become a semi-regular on The Tonight Show. As Goodman's fame grew, she became difficult to handle on the show, and Paar was not happy with her upstaging habits. So she left show and appeared on other talk shows such as The Merv Griffin Show. She returned to Broadway in 1974 to appear in Lorelei with Carol Channing.

    Then in 1975 she played Louise Lasser's mother on the comedy-soap Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Her high-pitched voice could be also heard announcing the show's title at the beginning of each episode. She appeared on the spin-off Forever Fernwood as well. She was also famous in the '80s for her recurring role as Aunt Sophia on the '80s sitcom Diff'rent Strokes. Goodman also provided the voice of Miss Miller on the animated series Alvin & the Chipmunks and various specials and movies such as The Chipmunk Adventure. She also had a role in the '80s daytime soap Texas. Her other TV credits include her first role as a waitress on The Phil Silvers Show, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Mary Tyler Moore Hour, CHiPs, Just Our Luck, St. Elsewhere, Punky Brewster, One Life to Live, Crazy Like a Fox, Bustin' Loose, Murder She Wrote, Here and Now, and Boston Common. She also appeared in the TV movie I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later. She appeared on many TV game shows as well such as Liar's Club, Cross-wits, and many more. She appeared in such popular films as Grease, Grease 2, playing Blanche (the principal's assistant), and in the movie Splash and Splash, Too. Both movie franchises are very memorable and she was a big part of them. She will certainly be missed by Broadway fans, TV fans, and movie fans as she had big roles in each. Dody lived a long life and was 93.

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Dody Goodman
  • Wikipedia entry for Dody Goodman


    Shavar Ross

    Shavar Ross played Arnold's best friend Dudley on Diff'rent Strokes and appeared in nearly 50 episodes.

    Shavar Ross was born March 4, 1971 in the South Bronxm New York. His parents separated when he was 6 years old. His mother took Shavar and his sister to Macon, Georgia, while his father went to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.

    In 1979, while visiting his father in California during his school's Christmas vacation, Shavar was discovered by top children's agent Evelyn Shultz. In 1980, Ross landed his first recurring television role on NBC's Diff'rent Strokes as "Dudley", the best friend of Gary Coleman's character, "Arnold Jackson". Two years later, Ross became a voice actor for Hanna-Barbera. He had another recurring role on the hit ABC TV series Family Matters as "Weasel". Ross has starred in over 100 film and episodic television projects throughout his career, including such films as the fifth installment of the Friday the 13th movie series Friday the 13th: A New Beginning in 1985 as "Reggie". Other appearances include Magnum, P.I., Chicago Hope, Designing Women, The Bold and the Beautiful, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

    Additionally, in 1996, after four years of ministry school, Ross founded The Alive Church, a non-denominational Christian church in Los Angeles, and was its pastor for four years.

    Shavar is an up and coming film director and operates his own film and television production company, Tri-Seven Entertainment. Lord Help Us (released in May 2007), an inspirational urban romantic comedy starring American Idol‘s Nadia Turner, Oscar nominee Margaret Avery (The Color Purple), Debra Wilson (MADtv, Scary Movie 4), comedian Joe Clair (B.E.T.'s Rap City, Take the Cake), Grammy-Award winning singer Al Jarreau and many others marked his feature film directorial debut. The movie is currently in stores nationwide on DVD and on Amazon.com among many others.

    Shavar married Jacqueline Ross on December 15, 1992. He has two children. Son Seven Shavar Ross was born on August 24, 1993. Daughter Chelsea Lynn Ross was born February 26, 2005.

    Shavar Ross (click for the larger scan)

  • The Official Website of Shavar Ross
  • Shavar's Film and TV production company - Tri-Seven Entertainment
  • Internet Movie Database entry for Shavar Ross
  • Wikipedia entry for Shavar Ross


    Le Tari

    Le Tari, who played Dudley's father Ted Ramsey, was born April 21st, 1946 in Ohio. He appeared in the following movies: Brotherhood of Death (1976), The Onion Field (1979), Fast Break (1979), A Matter of Life and Death (1981), Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls (1981), Amazon Women on the Moon (1987), and Hollywood Shuffle (1987) and on tv in episodes of Hart to Hart, Starsky & Hutch, Happy Days, The A-Team, Matt Houston, and Small Wonder..

    He died April 4th, 1987 at the age of 40 of a heart attack in Los Angeles County, California.

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Le Tari


    Rosalind Chao

    Rosalind Chao , who played Arnold's teacher Miss Chung, was born September 23, 1949 in Anaheim, CA.  Her Chinese name is Chao Jyalin. She has appeared in numerous movies and tv series.  Most notably: Joy Luck Club (1993), Deception (1990), and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine playing Keiko O'Brien. There was a Keiko O'Brien (Playmate toys) figure released in March of 1998. She was in the Robin Williams' movie 'What Dreams May Come True' in 1998. She was on a fall 1999 episode of Get Real as well as ER. Some of her more recent appearances include Tell Me You Love Me, The O.C. and Six Feet Under. She is married to voice actor Simon Templeman.

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Rosalind Chao
  • Wikipedia entry for Rosalind Chao


    Janet Jackson

    Janet Jackson who was Willis's girlfriend Charlene DuPrey, was born Janet Dameta Jackson May 16, 1966 in Gary, IN.  She is the sister of Michael, LaToya, Tito, Randy, Marlon, Jermaine, and Jackie Jackson.  She has become one of the leading female artists of the last several years with numerous hits. She also is a profound actress having starred in four sitcoms throughout the 70's & 80's, as well as starring in two movies Poetic Justice in 1993 and opposite Eddie Murphy in Nutty Professor II: Klumps which be released July 28th, 2000.

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Janet Jackson
  • Wikipedia entry for Janet Jackson


    Nicole Swasey

    Nicole "Nikki" Swasey Seaton played Arnold's arch-nemesis, Lisa Hayes, in about 13 or so episodes.

    Nikki sent in this information in 2004:

    "After Diff'rent Strokes I left my agent because I felt she wasn't sending me out on enough auditions and went with Gary Coleman's manager. He was able to get me a guest spot on 227 and a Doritos commercial. This was during the time when Gary was suing his parents, manager and other financial advisors. The manager in turn left the business and I never pursued other representation. I stopped acting for several years. Not sure what I wanted to do next, I took part-time jobs in retail during my later high school years. I went to college for a year, but found it wasn't for me. I was able to make some contacts in the entertainment industry and landed a job as a personal assistant for Yvette Lee Bowser who was a producer for 'A Different World'. During my time there, I performed as guest cast for one episode, which I decided wasn't for me anymore. My next job was as stage production assistant on 'Living Single'. I enjoyed working behind the scenes. Fortunately, Warner Bros. Studios had a spot open in their directors guild program which I landed. From there I began my career as a stage manager / assistant director, which I'm still working as today. (Living Single, Wayan's Brothers, Sunset Beach, Hype, The Berne Mac Show, The Tracy Morgan Show, and various others). Thanks for your interest in me. I'm not yet a computer person but when that changes I'll be sure to keep you up to date. Thanks Todd. From Little Lisa. "

    Updated Mach 2012: Nikki is still working as an Assistant Director. She's worked on films like "The 40 Year Old Virgin" and "Superbad." She has worked in television on the "Just Jordan" and "So Random" kids show. In early 2007, she opened up a upscale women's vintage clothing boutique called, "Revival Vintage" in Los Angeles, California. It's located at 7403 Beverly Blvd. Eventually, she wants to transition out of the business and just run the store. She married Director Eric Dean Seaton on July 2, 2011. They are expecting their first child on March 22, 2012.

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Nikki Swasey Seaton


    Danny Cooksey

    Danny Cooksey, who played little Sam McKinney, was born November 2, 1975 in Moore, OK.  He has appeared in several movies (including Terminator 2: Judgement Day) and tv series (such as Nickelodeon's Salute Your Shorts).  He has done voices in The Little Mermaid, Tiny Toon Adventures, 101 Dalmatians: The Series, and Pepper Ann animated tv series.  In 1991, he was the lead singer in a band called Roadkill.  In 1993, he did the lead vocal in the band Bad4Good and also has played for Lucy's Milk.

    Other famous roles include the voice of Montana Max in the cartoon Tiny Toon Adventures; opposite Dolly Parton and Lee Majors in the telefilm A Smoky Mountain Christmas, where he played an orphan, and also starred alongside Richard Dean Anderson in a guest role on MacGyver; and a regenerated hellspawn in the episode "The Burning Man" from the 1980s version of The Twilight Zone. He continues to pursue acting and voice acting work (for example, as the title role in Dave the Barbarian, Jack Spicer in Xiaolin Showdown and Milo Kamalani in Pepper Ann) as well as his music career.

    Danny has a daughter, Zoe, with wife Amber, a make-up artist and actress.

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Danny Cooksey
  • Wikipedia entry for Danndy Cooksey
  • KoopaTroopa's Danny Cooksey Page


    Dixie Carter

    Dixie Carter,who played Mrs. Drummond for one season, was born May 25, 1939 in McLemoresville, TN.  She has appeared in numerous tv movies and is probably best known for her role as Julia Sugarbaker in the tv series, Designing Women. She is/was a spokesperson for BellSouth.

    She has been married to actor Hal Holbrook since 1984. Her first marriage was to Arthur Carter from 1967-1977, and then to George Hearn from 1977-1979. Both marriages ended in divorce. In her marraige to Arthur she had two daughters, Ginna and Mary Dixie. Ginna was born May 17, 1969. She was named Ginna, after Dixie's Mother. (Dixie as well as everyone else called her Mother Gina, pronounced Jinna.) And Mary Dixie was born on July 6, 1970. Mary Dixie was named after Dixie's Aunt Mary and herself.

    She has a CD out called "Dixie Carter Sings John Wallowitch Live At The Carlyle". In addition, she has 2 yoga tapes out called "Dixie Carter's Unworkout" and "Yoga for You." In 1996, she wrote a book: Trying to get to Heaven: Opinions of a Tennessee Talker.

    In 2006 and 2007, Dixie Carter found renewed fame with a new generation of fans as the very disturbed and disturbing Gloria Hodge on Desperate Housewives, earning an Emmy nomination for her work on the series. Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry had gotten his start in Hollywood as Carter's assistant on the set of Designing Women.

    Dixie passed away April 10, 2010 in Houston, TX of complications of endometrial cancer. She was 70.

    Remembering Dixie Carter

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Dixie Carter
  • Wikipedia entry for Dixie Carter
  • The Official Dixie Carter Website
  • Yahoo links for Dixie Carter


    Mary Ann Mobley

    Mary Ann Mobley, who was the second Mrs. Drummond, was born February 17, 1939 in Biloxi, Mississippi and grew up in Brandon, Mississippi.  She was Miss America in 1959.  She and her husband, Gary Collins (formerly of 'Hour Magazine'), were seen in an infomercial for Select Comfort Systems (mattresses). She was in a 1999 episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch as herself.

    She married actor Gary Collins in 1967. Their daughter, Mary Clancy Collins, is a Senior Vice President with MGM Television

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Mary Ann Mobley
  • Wikipedia entry for Mary Ann Mobley


    Jason Hervey

    Jason Hervey , who played one of Arnold's friends Charlie in the last season, was born April 6, 1972 in Los Angeles, California.  He has appeared in several tv movies and theatrical movies such as Back to School, Back to the Future, and Pee-Wee's Big Picture.  He is probably best known for his role as Wayne Arnold on the classic tv show, The Wonder Years.  He also did a voice in a Sega Saturn game called "Return to Zork".  He is an avid hockey fan and often participates in celebrity games.  In March 1996, he founded the company "Interplay Pictures" together with Media Play.  Since January 1996, he has been active in Hollywood as a producer of sports vignettes and as a director. Appeared in an episode of Disney's Kids Inc. in 1988. He appeared on Love Boat: The Next Wave on UPN on October 9, 1998.

    Hervey served as the head of public relations for HealthSouth Corporation in Birmingham, Alabama during events that would lead to a massive fraud scandal. Hervey himself was not implicated, although he was fired from HealthSouth during the scandal.

    Currently, he runs Bischoff-Hervey Productions with Eric Bischoff. Hervey appeared in an episode of Hogan Knows Best ("Twilight of a God") alongside Eric Bischoff talking about energy drinks, and an episode of Scott Baio Is 45...and Single. In 2002 he made a brief appearance on the VH1 special I Love the '80s. He ranked at #71 on VH1's 100 Greatest Kid Stars.

    He has been married to Angel Hart since 1998 and has 2 children.

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Jason Hervey
  • Wikipedia entry for Jason Hervey


    Elys Bank and Steve Mond

    Steven Mond played one of Arnold's friends on the show (Robbie Jayson). Steven Mond was born May 12, 1971. Following the series, he enrolled in UC-Davis Law School. He was a member of the bowling team. He retired from acting and went to school so he could have a normal life. He has since graduated from law school.

    I was thrilled to hear personally from Steve in 1998 and 2000:

    Here's a more filled-in story on my "where are they now" entry:

    I "retired" from show business when the show was cancelled, as much as any 15-year-old can retire from anything.  Long story short, acting was taking time away from education, which I always considered more important.  I had stopped auditioning for other roles about 2-3 years before the show ended. After high school, I got an economics degree from UC Berkeley and a law degree from UC Davis. 

    I now am 36 (updated), single (updated: he was engaged to be married in the spring of 2001), and an attorney in Carson City, Nevada (licensed in California '96, taking the Nevada bar in July '98).

    Some answers to FAQ's:

    No, people no longer recognize me from the show.  The last time that happened was around 1990.  I do list my acting "career" on my resume, so the folks that work with me know about it.  And if it comes up in conversation, people who remember the show generally remember the character.  But currently, the only time I hear "Oh my kid, that guy was on Diff'rent Strokes" is when my little sister wants to harass me in a public place.

    No, I don't still keep in touch with anybody from the show, although it would be nice to see any of them again.  (If you have e-mail addresses on anybody else, feel free to pass this along to them - update: Steve and Shavar Ross were able to re-unite for lunch after contacting each other via this site).  I was basically an "outsider," coming in for a few episodes a year, so I was never really close with anybody.

    No, I never foresaw any of the problems that some of my colleagues got into.

    Yes, I have great memories of being on the show and am glad that I did.

    Feel free to use none, any, or all of this on your page.  The page is impressive and, if you don't mind my saying, more than a tad frightening.  And if you want to know anything else, feel free to contact me.

    - Steve Mond ("Robbie Jayson")

    Steve became engaged to Elys Bank, a technical writer originally from Salt Lake City. They planned to be married in Spring 2001.

    Note: The last time I heard from Steve was in 2000. If you are still out there, please drop me an e-mail and give me an update.

    Steve Mond

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Steve Mond
  • more Steve Mond photos (courtesy of Steve Mond himself! Thanks Steve!)


    Melanie Watson (now Bernhardt)

    Melanie Watson (now Bernhardt) played Arnold's friend Kathy Gordon (in 4 episodes) who was in a wheelchair. She was afflicted with osteogenesis imperfecta, a disease in which a person's bones fracture easily. Melanie Watson was born Melanie Lynne Watson on July 20th, 1968 in South Laguna, California. Besides Diff'rent Strokes, she also did an episode of Fantasy Island with Peter Graves, Eve Plumb and the rest of the cast. She did a "situation" sitcom called "The Baxters" with Nanette Fabray whom Melanie says was wonderful to work with. Currently, she does a lot of public relations work for her organization (Train Rite, formerly Spoke N' Paws Assistance Dogs), and she's done a lot of public TV spots for another organization that trains assistance dogs.

    Melanie was kind enough to send me a few e-mails in 1999 and provided some updated information:

    Melanie worked in Oceanside, California as the executive director of a nonprofit organization called Train Rite that trained service dogs for the disabled. Sadly, in August of 2007, the organization came to an end. During their eight year run, they placed 32 dogs with disabled people.

    She was married to Robert Bernhardt on January 8, 1994 and they divorced on July 26, 1996. Her name that she goes by now is Melanie Bernhardt. She resides in Carlsbad, California.

    You can e-mail Melanie at: mbernhardt@trainrite.org

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Melanie Watson
  • Train Rite (formerly Spoke N' Paws Assistance Dogs) - Melanie was the executive director
  • press photo of Melanie and Gary Coleman on the Diff'rent Strokes set
  • Melanie's MySpace page


    Martine Allard

    Martine Allard played Carmella Robinson in 2 episodes of Diff'rent Strokes. Her character took down The Gooch!

    In 2001, Martine e-mailed me with some information and an update:

    "I want 2 introduce myself. My name is Martine Allard. I appeared as Carmella Robinson in two episodes in 1984. I am a native New Yorker and a product of New York City Public Schools. I went on 2 study opera and jazz at the Boston Conservatory and University of Nevada Las Vegas. I have enclosed a couple of recent pictures of myself, my resume with all my information and the write up of the 2 episodes I appeared in from your web site.

    In 1984, I was co-starring in the Broadway musical, "The Tap Dance Kid". My Mom and Dad were approached by the producers of Diff'rent Strokes with the interest of my appearing as a guest artist on the show. Needless 2 say 4 a 13 yrs old inner city young girl who grew up watching the show, it was an honor !

    The whole experience was a thrilling 4 myself and my family. Since then I have continued working in the field of music, theatre and as a teacher to up and coming young people with the love of the art as myself. I am presently working on a solo jazz CD, touring with a cabaret show, touring with a production of "Ain't Misbehavin", teaching private voice in New York City and as a music consultant for New York City Board of Education where I got my start."

    Sincerely,

    Martine Allard aka Carmella Robinson (the character that took down the Gooch) peace and blessings!

  • Internet Movie Database entry for Martine Allard
  • photo of Martine Allard singing
  • Martine Allard's Career Resume
  • Martine Allard's Teaching Resume



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