With the sad and sudden death of actor Gary Coleman, we’re taking a look inside the television show that made him a household name.
Diff’rent Strokes had a run on NBC from 1978 to 1986, and starred Coleman, Todd Bridges, and Dana Plato, two of whom are now passed.
But all three of these main characters have laundry lists of issues, whether it’s drugs, anger management, or personal. So is there a Diff’rent Strokes curse? Look at these facts and decide.
Plato died in 1999 of a drug overdose after a long battle with addiction. It began when she was only 14 years old, which was when she OD'd on Valium. Five years after the show ended, Plato found herself out of work and living in Las Vegas. She later remarried and moved to Florida. But her problems followed her, and her addiction to Vicodin and Vanadom ended up killing her.
Bridges is alive, but has also battled a cocaine addiction for years. He was also arrested in 1998 and tried for the attempted murder of his drug dealer, whom he’d shot while high. The charges were later dropped.
Since the conclusion of Diff’rent Strokes, Bridges has tried to retain some relevancy in the industry, appearing on reality shows like The Surreal Life, a show Coleman was also on. Most recently he wrote a book called Killing Willis, about his drug addiction, criminal charges, and efforts to establish a public identity independent of the character he played on the show.
As for Gary, he passed away today after suffering a brain hemorrhage. He slipped into a coma, was placed on life support, and later died. He’s had a slew of health problems, most recently suffering a seizure while taping an interview with The Insider.
In addition, Gary suffered from a congenital kidney disease caused by focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which is what ultimately stunted his growth at an early age, leading to his small stature of 4 feet, 8 inches.
Gary has had his fair share of anger management issues as well. His track record is as follows:
1989: Sued his parents and won over misappropriation of his trust fund.
1999: Filed for bankruptcy.
1998: Charged with assault for punching a woman who asked for his autograph.
2007: Misdemeanor for heated discussion with wife Shannon Price.
2008: Hits man with his car.
2010: Arrested for domestic dispute with wife.
These three are just further examples of what child stars go through. Having so much fame and fortune so young has proven many times to be disastrous. RIP Gary Coleman.