Now, the world don't move to the beat of just one drum, What might be right for you, may not be right for some. A man is born, he's a man of means. Then along come two, they got nothing but their jeans. But they got, Diff'rent Strokes. It takes, Diff'rent Strokes. It takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world. Everybody's got a special kind of story Everybody finds a way to shine, It don't matter that you got not alot So what, They'll have theirs, and you'll have yours, and I'll have mine. And together we'll be fine.... Because it takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world. Yes it does. It takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.
So goes the theme to that non-Emmy award winning show, Diff’rent Strokes. Never has their been a show whose cast has been as cursed as this. If there was ever a show that was a poster-child for what happens to kids who get too much fame too fast, it was DS. Start with Dana Plato, who bordered on “cute”; I know a number of friends that had a thing for her, so it was met with much excitement when her post-DS career included Playboy and some soft-core “Skin-a-max” style porn (apparently, a different kind of stroke). Sadly, an armed robbery conviction, alcohol and drugs got in the way, and she died living the hard life back in 1999-a drug overdose in her RV. Adding more misery to Plato, her son killed himself a few weeks back while on a drug and alcohol binge…apparently the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Todd Bridges had a relatively normal life after DS. He was addicted to cocaine, tried to kill his drug dealer in California, stabbed a tenant in his house with a kitchen knife and joined a pro-wrestling team that also featured Dustin Diamond from “Saved by the Bell.” To Todd’s credit, he saved a woman’s life back in 1998 when her wheelchair fell into a lake and he pulled her out, has allegedly been sober for several years and wrote a book about kicking his addiction.
Alas, there was poor Gary Coleman. There isn’t too much that I can say that hasn’t been said already throughout the mainstream media. You gotta give him credit for getting an expression into the vernacular, but his life after DS, after being one of the highest-paid tv stars, was a sad example of what happens too kids too young and too fast. Though it wasn’t too much of a surprise to hear about him getting in trouble as he got older, I used to wonder “what you talkin’ bout Willis?”
Who would have thought Conrad Bain and Charlotte Rae would outlive the kids in the cast?
You’ve been great…enjoy Alan Thicke and Gloria Loring.