Category Archives: Actors/Actresses

Crossover Event: #80sCrushes

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Hi Everybody! It’s time again for our monthly ’80s crossover event, brought to you by The ’80s League. As you can tell from the title, this month’s selection is on ’80s crushes. As part of this event, we also contributed a podcast episode. Marissa, Robert, and Paul discussed their ’80s crushes. You can download the podcast from iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you get your podcasts from. And you can also go to the show notes, and listen directly on this site right here. The picks we made on the podcast will be different from the crushes I list in this article.
In addition to Return to the ’80s, other participants include:
80s Reboot Overdrive Blog and podcast
Rediscover the ’80s
Realweegiemidget
Killer Kitsch

Now, let’s check out more of my ’80s crushes.


Kristy McNichol

In the summer of 1982, there was a movie I, and apparently the rest of the world, wanted to see – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. It was playing in a nearby theater that only had 2 screens. And E.T. was only showing on one of them. Of course, when we got to the theater, the movie was sold out. Instead, we saw the movie that was being shown on the other screen – The Pirate Movie. I don’t remember knowing about that movie going into it. Coming out, this 11 year old was in love. I thought Kristy McNichol was beautiful, and I was really drawn to her. Several years later, she starred in The Golden Girls spinoff, Empty Nest. And I found that my feelings had not changed. She still made my heart skip a beat.

Unfortunately, Kristy has not really been in anything in almost 20 years. In 2001, she officially announced her retirement from acting. And years after that, I was dealt another crushing blow. Kristy McNichol revealed that she is gay, in the hopes that her openness would help young people who are bullied because of their sexuality. It’s great that she’s open about it now. But, it killed any shot of us ever getting together. Well, as Samantha’s father says in Sixteen Candles, “That’s why they call them crushes. If they were easy, they’d call ’em something else.”


Tracey Gold

Growing Pains is one of my all-time favorite sitcoms. It was already a great show on it’s own. But, my crush on Tracey Gold (and her character, Carol Seaver) didn’t hurt either. I thought she was so cute, and smart. It used to annoy the crap out of me when her brothers picked on her. And this was made even worse when they made fat jokes about her. That’s so stupid as it is. But, she wasn’t even fat, so it made no sense to me. Then to find out that Tracey battled anorexia made things even worse. She even had to miss several episodes of the show due to her condition. Luckily, she was able to recover. Ah, cute, smart, and strong. Not a bad combination


Samantha Fox

Throughout the ’80s, and to this day, my music taste tends to lean toward Rock. I also love me some R&B and old school Rap. But, I got tired of most pop music. That changed with the arrival of Samantha Fox. I thought she was gorgeous. And I actually liked her music too! Her first album, Touch Me, was mostly pop, but some of it had a little rock edge to it. I loved the title track as well as “Do Ya Do Ya (Wanna Please Me)“. Actually, I liked every song on that album. Next was her self-titled album. “Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)” was the first single released in the U.S. The song opens with her saying “Maybe, just maybe
Naughty girls need love too.” in her British accent. Love that accent!
Her third album, I Wanna Have Some Fun, was also a fun album. The title track always got us all out on the dance floor.


I could go on and on with my crushes. But I’ll stop here, and I’d love to hear from you. Who were some of your crushes – real life or celebrity.

Once again please check out the posts from the rest of the 80’s League:

80s Reboot Overdrive Blog and podcast
Rediscover the ’80s
Realweegiemidget
Killer Kitsch

And you can also check out the Return to the ’80s Podcast to hear about more of our crushes.

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Episode 10: ’80s Crushes

80s-crushes

It’s time for another 80s League event! This month, the 80s League, which consists of 80s Reboot Overdrive, Rediscover the ’80s, Weegiemidget, and Killer Kitsch. As part of this crossover event, Return to the ’80s is dedicating a full episode on the topic instead of only a segment. Joining Robert and Paul is Marissa, a true lover of the greatest decade ever!

Not only do we talk about our celebrity crushes, but we talk about our real life crushes. We also have our regular segments of Play This, Not That, Remember That Song, and ’80s Trivia.

Also, I should mention that as I am fairly new at podcasting, I am still working out some of the technical kinks. So I apologize for some of the minor sound issues that occur this episode. Future episodes should be much better. I hope it’s not distracting. We had a lot of fun recording this, and I think you will have fun listening. And feel free to join in on the conversation by emailing us at returnto80s@gmail.com, and tell us about your 80s crushes, or love story.

Opening

– Welcome Marissa to the show

– New Def Leppard DVD/CD called And There Will Be a Next Time (unless it’s in Providence, apparently)
– New Night Ranger album – March 24 – Don’t Let Up
– Two Super Bowl Commercials with ‘80s music ties:

Wendy’s – “Cold as Ice”

Kia – Holding Out for a Hero

R.I.P.

– Mary Tyler Moore
– John Wetton
– Richard Hatch
– Sorry Al Jarreau. First, Paul didn’t know he died. Then our tribute to him somehow turns into a retrospective look at the career of Curtis “Booger” Armstrong.

Play This, Not That – Air Supply

Instead of playing “Lost in Love”

Play “I Can Wait Forever”

Remember That Song

Last Song:
You play tricks on my mind, you’re everywhere, but you’re so hard to find
You’re not warm, you’re sentimental

“Urgent” by Foreigner

Winner: Peter

New Song: I know what you’re thinking / Cause I’ve been there myself / I’ve been kicked so many times / I don’t know nothing else / Still I noticed your urgency / I recognized the flair / That you got from chasing all those East coast dares

80s Trivia

Last Question:
What screen siren appeared in Stripes, Blade Runner, No Way Out and Wall Street?

Answer: Sean Young

Winner: Jim Vilk

New Question: What brokerage firm’s name, when mentioned in TV ads, silenced entire rooms of people?

Main Topic – ’80s Crushes

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– Crossover Event, featuring the following blogs/podcasts
80s Reboot Overdrive
Rediscover the ’80s
Weegiemidget
Killer Kitsch

– Listener Feedback
– Personal Stories
Marissa’s numerous crushes and obsession with swimmers
Robert meets his future wife in high school on a bus to a football game
Paul tells the story of his high school girlfriend and their serendipitous meeting 28 years later

– The gang talk about their celebrity crushes
Rick Springfield (Marissa)
Olivia Newton-John (Robert)
Catherine Bach (Paul)
John Taylor (Marissa)
Elisabeth Shue (Robert)
Erin Gray (Paul)
Richard Gere (Marissa)
Susanna Hoffs (Robert)
Alyssa Milano (Paul)
Mickey Rourke (Marissa)
Christie Brinkley (Robert)
Debbie Gibson (Paul)

’80s Crushes

Hi Everybody! As Valentine’s Day is approaching, we are recording a new Return to the ’80s podcast episode on ’80s crushes. And we would LOVE to hear from you. Ha! See what I did there? Seriously, please email us at Returnto80s@gmail.com, and tell us about some of your ’80s crushes. It could be about a celebrity, or maybe that person you sat behind in class that you secretly (or publicly) pined for. We may read your story on the air. If you don’t want it to be read on the air, let us know, and we can have a fun back-and-forth via email.

Also, I should point out that nobody has answered the ’80s Trivia question from our last podcast episode. So, if you know the answer to that, email us the answer.

We look forward to hearing from you!

We’ll Be Right Back – Clips of Alan Thicke, George Michael, and Carrie Fisher

Hi Everybody, After all the devastating news over the past week, Robert and I have been preparing a special podcast episode. The regular Remember That Song and Quote of the Day segments will be back in 2017. In the meantime, here are a few videos of a happier time. Enjoy.

Although he was mainly known as Jason Seaver in Growing Pains, Alan Thicke also starred in this show, Animal Crack-Ups, which aired while he was still on Growing Pains. Not only did Thicke host this show, he wrote and sang the theme song. Here is the opening segment of an episode:


I’m sure all of you have been listening to a lot of Wham! and George Michael songs lately. Here is something a little different. James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke is enormously popular these days. As it so happens, George Michael appeared in the very first Carpool Karaoke. This is from Comic Relief in the U.K. in 2011. At the time, James Corden was best known as Smithy from Gavin and Stacey.
This scene begins with “Smithy” receiving a call from Lenny Henry at Comic Relief who asks him to head to BBC Television Centre to help record a charity single. For U.S. readers who may not know, Lenny Henry is a legendary comic in the U.K. Of course Corden is hilarious. But, this clip really shows George Michael’s sense of humor. ’80s fans may possibly recognize the songs that get played here…


Last but not least, here are a couple of appearances by Carrie Fisher on Late Night. These interviews are from:

May 30, 1983: promoting “Return of the Jedi”
August 27, 1987: promoting her new book “Postcards from the Edge”

Her interviews are always funny and honest (to say the least).

R.I.P. Gene Wilder: June 11, 1933 – August 29, 2016

This horrible year continues as the grim reaper keeps taking stars that we grew up with. This time, we lost Gene Wilder. Of course, most people know him from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971). I never got into that movie, although I loved the book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

However, Gene Wilder played a huge part in my early teen years, which coincided with the introduction of cable TV. When we first got cable TV, we had all the movie channels. If I wasn’t glued to MTV, I was watching commercial-free, uncut movies on HBO and Showtime. For me, Gene Wilder was a fixture on my TV set, as the Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor movie, Silver Streak (1976) played all the time. And I watched it and loved it every time. Of course, there was also Stir Crazy (1980), also starring Wilder and Pryor. They were such a great team. I loved both of them, and they had great chemistry.

I was too young to watch Saturday Night Live when the original cast was on. So, my introduction to original cast member, Gilda Radner, was in the 1982 movie Hanky Panky. That was another Gene Wilder movie that was in heavy rotation. I’m pretty sure that at the time that this movie was on HBO, the only movies they showed were Hanky Panky, Rocky III, Victory, and Six Pack. Gene Wilder and Gilda grew closer to each other during the filming of Hanky Panky, and would go on to get married. Sadly, Gilda Radner developed cancer, and died on May 20, 1989. Wilder then went on to promote cancer awareness and treatment, helping found the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles and co-founding Gilda’s Club, a support group to raise awareness of cancer that began in New York City and now has branches throughout the country.

I don’t remember Wilder’s movie The Woman in Red too well, but I do know I saw it. The last movie I remember seeing him in was another Wilder/Pryor joint – See No Evil, Hear No Evil, which was also great. I didn’t see his Mel Brooks movies (The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles) until later on.

Although Gene Wilder hadn’t been in any movies for a very long time, this one still hurts. Another thing that hits home with me is that he died from complications from Alzheimer’s. I lost my grandmother to that horrible disease, and less than a month ago, I lost my uncle/godfather to it as well.

OK 2016, we surrender! Please don’t take anybody else!

Here are the trailers to a few of my favorite Gene Wilder movies:

Silver Streak

Stir Crazy

And here is a scene from Hanky Panky:

The Liebster Award 2: Electric Boogaloo

Less than a year after I was nominated for The Liebster Award, we now have a sequel thanks to Vinnieh! Vinnieh has a totally awesome movie web site. You should go check it out early and often at https://vinnieh.wordpress.com/. There are a lot of movie reviews – for old and new movies, as well as other articles about actors/actresses. There are other fun articles as well. For example, as we just passed Valentines Day, there were a couple of appropriately themed articles – What are the sexiest scenes in film? and What are your favourite romantic movie scenes?. In the midst of all this, there is a series of James Bond reviews happening over there. And it looks like we are heading into the ’80s Bond films now. So thank you very much vinnieh!

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers for the award.
  • Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.

OK, here are the questions I need to answer:

  1. Do you prefer watching a film in the cinema or at home?  I would prefer going to the theater. But since I don’t get much of a chance, I usually watch at home.
  2. Do you have any unique talents? OK, You have to swear to God you won’t laugh: 
  3. What is your ideal day like? All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.
  4. Which actor or actress do you think is the most gorgeous? This is a tough one! I could come up with a long list. But, off the top of my head, I’ll have to say Vanessa Williams. She was Miss America in the ’80s for a very short time. And I just saw her in something on TV not too long ago, and she still looks gorgeous!
  5. What do you enjoy the most about blogging? Interacting with people all over the world, and making new friends. Obviously, I love to Return to the ’80s, but back then, I would have never dreamed it was possible to make friends all over the world.
  6. What posts of yours is your personal favourite? One of my favorites was ’80s Back to School Accessories. I just whipped it up in less than 30 minutes, and it was a lot of fun. I also love the Top 40 Countdowns. We are long overdue for a new one. But, real life and being buried by this year’s New England snow keeps setting back my schedule. I’ll try to pick this back up within the next week or two.
  7. What’s the best holiday you have ever been on? On my honeymoon, we flew across the country and spent a few days in San Diego, drove up to Anaheim, went to Disney for a few more days, then went on a cruise for 7 days.
  8. Have you ever met anyone famous? Not really. About 11 or 12 years ago, we were in an empty Miami airport very early in the morning. I was at one of the stores looking through some overpriced books. This may sound crazy, but I got a chill down my spine and felt the temperature drop.  Then I heard somebody behind me complaining very loudly, saying that he can’t believe they didn’t have a cart for him to ride in, and he had to walk. My wife was standing in front of me, and her eyes went wide open. I turned around and it was O.J. Simpson surrounded by an entourage of people walking by us. Then about 10 minutes later another entourage of people were walking by us. And in the middle of them was Todd Bridges!
  9. Describe yourself in three words. Awesome, bodacious dude
  10. What film have you watched and never want to watch again? Bill Cosby: Himself. I remember watching this concert movie on HBO all the time before The Cosby Show came out. I believe I was 12 or 13 at the time. My stomach hurt from laughing so hard. A year or 2 ago, I saw this come on TV again, so I tried watching it. I didn’t laugh once. I couldn’t watch the whole thing. And now with all the accusations that have come to light, I definitely can’t look at him the same way again.
  11. Do you enjoy awards season and are you excited for the Oscars? I enjoy the spirit of awards season as the arts get celebrated. However, I can’t get excited for the Oscars. It’s too political for me. If the winners were selected by merit, instead of by sucking up to the right people, I could live with it. There is no way you will ever convince me in any time or galaxy that Annie Hall was a better movie than Star Wars. And the year that Shakespeare in Love won Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan, I checked out for good. I may check out the opening, if I think of it, to see if the host does a good job, or if it is a train wreck. Either way, I may be entertained for about 15 minutes.

And now the nominations for the award as chosen by yours truly:

Uncanny Pop
what about the twinkie?
The Animation Files
A Redhead at the Movies
Confessions From a Geek Mind
Flashback/Backslide
Stitch Boom Bang!
Driving MsMiranda’s Blog
RobbinsRealm Blog
Digital Shortbread
My Live Action Disney Project

And now my questions for my nominees:

1. Who was your favorite MTV VJ?

 

 

 

2. Which of these is your favorite Star – Wars, Trek, Battle Galactica (original or reboot), or Search?

3. Which celebrity did you have a crush on in your childhood or teen years?

4. What blog posts of yours are your personal favorites?

5. What is your favorite television show?

6. If you were in The Breakfast Club, which character would you be?

 

 

 

 

A. The Brain (Brian) – Anthony Michael Hall
B. The Jock (Andy) – Emilio Estevez
C. The Criminal (Bender) – Judd Nelson
D. The Princess (Claire) – Molly Ringwald
E. The Basket Case (Allison) – Ally Sheedy

7. What is your favorite genre of music?

8. Have you ever met anyone famous?

9. What is your favorite vacation destination?

10. What is your favorite ’80s movie?

And the last question is

Yo, Return to the ’80s, I’m really happy for you, Imma letchu finish, Imma letchu finish, but Beyoncé had the best questions of all time!

What the hell was that?!?!? Um, awkward. Anyway,

11. Which awards show is your favorite?

If you were not listed in the nominee section, and you want to have fun answering the questions (the ones posed to me and/or the questions I posed), feel free to enter your answers in the comments.

Thanks again to Vinnieh. This was a lot of fun!!

R.I.P. Robin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014)

The entertainment world was rocked last night with the death of Robin Williams. Not surprisingly, social media has blown up with the news. My Facebook feed which had been flooded with videos of friends taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is now being flooded with videos of friends taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge AND comments and news about Robin Williams. So, I will join in on this trend, and give my thoughts on one of my favorite comedians/actors of the ’80s.

Like most people who were around at the time, my introduction of Robin Williams was his appearance as Mork on Happy Days in February 1978. I already liked Happy Days. But, when Mork appeared on the show, he blew my 7 year old mind away with his crazy energy. I loved him so much. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one, as he got his own spin-off show – Mork & Mindy.

Here is the battle between Fonzi and Mork in that Happy Days episode:

Mork & Mindy quickly became appointment TV for me. I don’t think I ever missed an episode. I thought Robin Williams was so great. And at such a young age, I had never heard of improv before. If I knew that Williams improvised many of his lines, I would have been even more impressed.

Here is the theme song from Mork & Mindy:

In the middle of Mork & Mindy‘s run, Robin Williams made his first appearance on the big screen, starring in Popeye (1980). I loved the Popeye cartoon, so my anticipation for this movie was at a fever pitch. I still remember a blue tee shirt I had with Williams as Popeye on the front of it along with the words “I Yam What I Yam.” From what I remember, I enjoyed most of the movie – except for the singing parts, which was half of the movie. Williams really nailed the character though, and I don’t think anybody else could have done it. He had all of the characteristics, even the little mumbling under his breath like they did in the cartoon. Here is the awesome ending of the movie:

The next highlight of Robin Williams’ career that I loved was the Comic Relief fund raiser that aired on HBO in the ’80s and beyond. Williams hosted the event along with fellow ’80s stand-up legends Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg. It was the first time I had seen Robin Williams’ stand up. He was all over the place just like in Mork & Mindy and in the movies. His energy and great impressions made me laugh so hard that my stomach hurt.

Here is some stand-up from Comic Relief. This may have been from the second one in 1987:

Speaking of laughing ’til my stomach hurt, one of my favorite movies of the ’80s was Good Morning, Vietnam. I saw the movie in the theater with a group of friends I very rarely laughed that hard in the theater. Not only was it funny, but the movie had its serious side too. I thought the movie balanced the comedy, drama, and suspense very well. My parents bought the soundtrack on cd, probably because it featured all the music they love. I liked the cd a lot because it also played Robin Williams’ bits as Adrian Cronauer throughout the cd. Here is Williams in action from the movie:

In recent years, Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, and Will Ferrell have tried their hand in transitioning between comedy and drama. But, none of them could even come close to display the ability that Robin Williams had to do this.
My favorite Robin Williams drama is Dead Poets Society. Only Williams could make poetry interesting. I already love coming-of-age stories as it is. But, Williams made it that much better. Here is a scene from the movie:

I know and am very well aware of Robin Williams’ work throughout the ’90s and beyond (especially his Disney work in the movies and the parks), but I am going to wrap this up here.

I am very sad that we once again have lost a great icon. But, Robin Williams left us with a great body of work. It just makes you realize how short life can be. So, in the words of Williams’ John Keating, Carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.

Please leave your thoughts and favorite memories of Robin Williams. What is your favorite Robin Williams movie?

Daily Trivia: 3/6/13

Question: What is the name of Spinal Tap’s black album?


Last Question: What star of the movie Bulletproof spent four weeks in a coma after crashing his motorcycle while not wearing a helmet?

Answer: Gary Busey

Great job Kickin’ It Old School (@oldschool80s)!!

On December 4, 1988, Gary Busey picked up his motorcycle from a repair shop, then slid on a patch of gravel at 40 mph, flipped over the handlebars, and hit his unprotected head on a curb. According to USA Today, doctors told Busey that had he arrived at the hospital even three minutes later, he would not have survived. He was in a coma for 4 weeks and regained consciousness on Jan. 6, 1989. He recovered – at least physically. Mentally, I’m not so sure. Is anybody else watching All-Star Celebrity Apprentice this season? He is quite crazy – but perhaps the most entertaining person on the show.

“A Very Special Episode, Part 2”: Diff’rent Strokes

Here is Part 2 of the Diff’rent Strokes article. This was originally published on June 18, 2010.

Today I will wrap up the Diff’rent Strokes tribute. Here is a little write-up on the stars of the show:

Gary Coleman (Arnold Jackson) – Born on February 8, 1968, and was adopted by a fork-life operator and his nurse practitioner wife from a Chicago hospital when he was just a few days old. Raised in Zion, Illinois, it was discovered that Gary had severe health issues before the age of 2. Born with one atrophied kidney and an endangeringly weak second one, he had two kidney transplants by the time he reached age 16 and the effects of his dialysis medication permanently stunted his growth (to 4’8″).

In addition to Diff’rent Strokes, Coleman was in the movies On the Right Track (1981) and Jimmy the Kid (1982) as well as several TV movies. He also had his own Hanna-Barbera cartoon – “The Gary Coleman Show” in 1982.

He was 18 when Diff’rent Strokes ended, and he was happy that it ended because he felt trapped and typcasted. However, with the end of Diff’rent Strokes, so was Gary Coleman’s popularity. He could not get any more good work.

In addition to his health issues, Coleman had legal and financial problems. He was arrested for punching a woman who was persistent about getting an autograph from him, and was fined and ordered to take anger-management classes. He also had disorderly conduct and reckless driving charges brought up against him at various times. He also admitted that his problems led to several suicide attempts. In 1989 Coleman successfully sued his parents and business manager for pilfering money he had earned when he was a child. However, in 1999 he had to declare bankruptcy and was forced to find work outside the Hollywood industry as a security guard. In 2007 he married Shannon Price, whom he met on the set of the low budget film Church Ball (2006), but the marriage dissolved quickly into domestic squabbles in which he would have to face the court system again. As a gag he ran for California’s governorship during its recall election (which was won by Arnold Schwarzenegger). He later moved and settled in Utah.

Coleman managed to star in one last film before he died – Midgets Vs. Mascots (2009). He died on May 28, 2010.

Todd Bridges (Willis Jackson) – Born May 27, 1965, in San Francisco, California. Before starring in Diff’rent Strokes, Bridges became the first African-American child actor to have a recurring role on a successful TV series, The Waltons. He also appeared on Little House on the Prairie, and in the miniseries Roots. Then he became a series regular on the Barney Miller spinoff, Fish, playing a character named Loomis. But his most success came from playing Willis.
Like his fellow child stars, Gary Coleman and Dana Plato, he had trouble adjusting to life after Diff’rent Strokes. In 1988, he was arrested and tried for the attempted murder of Kenneth “Tex” Clay, a Los Angeles area drug dealer, who prosecutors argued had been shot by Bridges while on a binge. Bridges pleaded not guilty to the charges and was represented by the high-profile defense attorney Johnnie Cochran. Cochran successfully portrayed Bridges as an abused minor who had been driven to drugs by an exploitive entertainment industry, and was now being unfairly framed. A witness finally testified that Bridges was not present at the time of the shooting. Bridges was acquitted of all charges by a jury.
Then in 1993, Bridges was involved in an altercation with a tenant, David Joseph Kitchen, in his house after a disagreement about unpaid rent. Kitchen attacked Bridges with a sword, then Bridges retaliated by stabbing him in the chest with a kitchen knife. The prosecutors dropped the charges, concluding Bridges had acted in self-defense.

It is not well published, but after that incident, Bridges has reportedly been sober, and in the late ’90s he started getting his act together. He wrote, directed, produced and starred in the story of his own life, aptly titled “Building Bridges” (1999).

More recently, Bridges wrote a book called “Killing Willis”, where he his drug addiction, criminal charges, and his efforts to establish himself again. He appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show on April 28, 2010 to discuss his life as a child star and legal troubles that followed.

Dana Plato (Kimberly Drummond) – (November 7, 1964 – May 8, 1999). Dana Plato was born on November 7, 1964 in Maywood, California. She played Kimberly Drummond until 1984. That was when she became pregnant by her boyfriend, a musician named Lanny Lambert. The producers of Diff’rent Strokes did not feel that a pregnancy would fit the show’s wholesome image, so Plato was let go. She did return for some guest appearances on ABC during the last season. In her final appearance in the series Kimberly suffers the effects of bulimia.
After Diff’rent Strokes, Plato unsuccessfully tried to establish herself as a serious actress. Toward the end of her career, Plato chose roles that could be considered erotic or even softcore pornography.

In 1991, Plato ended up in Las Vegas with no work. She took a job at a dry-cleaning store to support herself. One day, she entered a video store, produced a gun, and demanded the money from the register. She was arrested minutes later. Las Vegas entertainer Wayne Newton posted her $13,000 bail. Plato was given five years’ probation. The gun was only a pellet gun and the robbery netted Plato less than $200. She made headlines and became part of the national debate over troubled child stars, particularly given the difficulties of her Diff’rent Strokes co-stars, Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges. In January 1992, she was again arrested, this time for forging a prescription for Valium. She served 30 days in jail for violation of the terms of her probation and entered a drug program immediately thereafter.

On May 7, 1999, Plato appeared on The Howard Stern Show, where she told Stern and Robin Quivers that she was engaged to 28-year-old Robert Menchaca, and that he was managing her career. She was frank about her situation, discussing her financial problems and past run-ins with the law. She admitted to being a recovering alcoholic/drug addict, but claimed that she had been sober for more than ten years by that point, and was not using any drugs, with the exception of prescribed painkillers due to discomfort and pain from the recent extraction of her wisdom teeth. Many of her callers called her everything from a “has been” to an addict. She was referred to by one caller as an “ex-con lesbian drug addict with mental problems”. This provoked a defiant Plato, as she offered to take a drug test on the air (and even placed a large wager on the results of the test to one particularly doubtful caller). Some callers, however, came to Plato’s defense by consoling and complimenting her.

The next day, Plato and Menchaca were returning to California. The couple stopped at Menchaca’s mother’s home in Moore, Oklahoma for a Mother’s Day visit. Plato went to lie down inside her recreational vehicle parked outside the house and subsequently died of an overdose. er death at the age of 34 was eventually ruled a suicide.

Then, almost 11 years to the day of Dana Plato’s death, on May 6, 2010, Plato’s son Tyler Lambert died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at age 25.

Conrad Bain (Mr. Drummond) – Conrad Bain was born on February 4, 1923 in Lethbridge, Alberta. He first appeared on regular television when he played a stuffy next-door neighbor Dr. Arthur Harmon on the show Maude from 1974-1978. Then he had his iconic role as Mr. Drummond. His last regular role was as presidential aide Charley Ross on the George C. Scott show Mr. President in 1987. His last television appearance was on the series finale of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. You can see the clip in this article from April 6.

Charlotte Rae (Mrs. Garrett) – Charlotte Rae was born April 22, 1926. She was a character actress early in her career, and had her first breakout role as Sylvia Schnauser in the television show Car 54, Where Are You? from 1961-1963. Rae also appeared in early seasons of Sesame Street as Molly the Mail Lady.

In 1978, Rae was selected to play housekeeper Edna Garrett on Diff’rent Strokes. Her character was so popular that the producers decided to do an episode that could lead to a spinoff. That episode (called “The Girls School”) was about girls attending Eastland, the school attended by Kimberly Drummond. In July 1979, after the last episode of Strokes, Rae proposed the idea for the new spinoff to the heads of NBC. They greenlighted the show, and The Facts of Life was born.

The Facts of Life ran from 1979-1988. In 1986, Rae left the show, citing health problems. However, she went on to stage acting, which annoyed the show’s producers. She was replaced by Cloris Leachman on the show.

She has not had any big television roles since she left The Facts of Life. She has made guest appearances on several shows such as Diagnosis: Murder, The King of Queens, and ER.

Nedra Volz (Adelaide Brubaker) – Nedra Volz’s (June 18, 1908 – January 20, 2003) character, Adelaide Brubaker, replaced Mrs’ Garrett. She was on the show from January 1980 until May 1982. She only made guest appearances on some television shows, such as Aunt Iola, Edith Bunker’s favorite aunt on All in the Family, and Post Office Employee Miz Emma Tisdale on The Dukes of Hazzard.
Nedra passed away on January 20, 2003 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Mesa, Arizona.

Mary Jo Catlett (Pearl Gallagher) – Mary Jo Catlett was born on September 2, 1938. Her role as Pearl was her best known role. She also appeared on General Hospital and in several episodes of M*A*S*H. She currently provides the voice for “Mrs. Puff” on SpongeBob SquarePants.

Dixie Carter (Maggie McKinney Drummond #1)Dixie Carter (May 25, 1939 – April 10, 2010) played the original Maggie. She first appeared in the series in February 1984, during a three-part story arc that took the cast to California. Maggie and Philip Drummond fell in love, so Maggie and her son Sam came home with the Drummonds.

In the spring of 1985, NBC canceled Diff’rent Strokes because of poor ratings. However, production continued as ABC picked up the series for an eighth season. In what turned out to be the final season, Mary Ann Mobley replaced Dixie Carter (who had started work on Designing Women in the aftermath of NBC’s cancellation of Diff’rent Strokes).
Dixie Carter became more famous by playing Julia Sugarbaker in Designing Women. More recently, Carter earned an Emmy nomination for playing the very disturbed Gloria Hodge on Desperate Housewives during the 2006-2007 season.

Dixie Carter just died this past April 10 of complications from endometrial cancer.

Mary Ann Mobley (Maggie McKinney Drummond #2) – Mary Ann Mobley was born on February 17, 1939. She was Miss America in 1959. In addition to playing Maggie in the final season of Diff’rent Strokes, she made some appearances on shows such as The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, General Hospital, and Falcon Crest. She also appeared in 2 Elvis movies in 1965, Girl Happy and Harum Scarum.

Danny Cooksey (Sam McKinney) – Danny Cooksey was born on November 2, 1975. He also starred in several TV roles, most notably Nickelodeon’s Salute Your Shorts. He also does a lot of voice acting. He was also the lead singer in a heavy metal band called Bad4Good. This is a long way from Sam: