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Different Strokes Tragic TV Star, Dana Plato; Beautiful Kimberly

Updated on January 16, 2013
Dana Plato during her Different Strokes fame.
Dana Plato during her Different Strokes fame. | Source

I can remember watching Different Strokes as a child and wishing I were "Kimberly Drummond", The character that Dana Plato played in this 1980s Tv. show. She was pretty, articulate, refined,confident, and smart. Everything a girl who was struggling in the ugly reality of Jr. High School during that time wanted to be. As a teenager, I felt like I was the opposite of this self assured girl who always knew what to say. I also remember picking up a copy of my mother's Enquirer and seeing a picture of Dana Plato in the arms of a man she was engaged to shortly after Different Strokes was cancelled. I wished my life could be just like hers. How happy she must be to feel loved, and have tremendous adulation surrounding her. Here she was about to be swept away from reality by this handsome man, after spending years on Tv, making great money. Some people have all the luck! NOT!

Beautiful Dana
Beautiful Dana
Dana's Mug Shot
Dana's Mug Shot

The Fate of Dana Plato

More than 90% of children who land a Tv show, or become stars in major motion pictures, do not do well in later life. It seems that they believe their celebrity status will continue throughout their lives and never realize that their great fortune is a temporary one. The Little Rascals, Our Gang, as they were originally called,and they terrible tragedies that many of these actors suffered is an example of how cruel and fickle the industry can be.

When one thinks of the young stars of the shows from decades ago, it is really easy to see how we forget those stars who were so much a part of our everyday routines.

Think of the cast of Saved by the Bell, Hello Larry,and The Cosby Show, in the prime of these shows the youthful cast members could not go out without being recognized; now they can go anywhere they want without getting any attention. In fact, it is more than likely that we will not hear about most of them again unless something tragic happens.

Dana Plato Suicide

Different Strokes debuted on NBC in 1978. Dana Plato played Kimberly from 1978-1986. She became pregnant in 1986 and Plato left the show and returned for a few episodes during 1986 to make guest appearances.

Dana tried to continue her acting career after her baby was born and she even had breast implants to change her image from wholesome girl next door, to glamor queen. She posed for Playboy in 1989 and began starring in a string of pornographic films that capitalized on her "Kimberly" image.

In the early 90s Dana had given up on acting and got a job as a cashier in a dry cleaning store. Dana had been a drug addict since the age of 14 and, in desperation for drug money, she entered a video store with a gun demanding that the cashier give her all the money in the register. The cashier called 911 stating that Kimberly from Different Strokes was robbing her. Plato was arrested and made headlines as another child star gone bad. After Wayne Newton posted her bail, she was out on probation only to find herself arrested again for forging a prescription for Valium.

In 1992 Dana Plato committed suicide by drug overdose at the age of 34.

Eleven years after Dana Platos suicide her son, Tyler Lambert killed himself at the age of 25 with a gunshot to the head. He too had been battling drug and alcohol for many years.


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