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'Glee' Cast Not the Only Cast to Deal With Doom & Tragedy

Updated on July 15, 2020
Naya Rivera
Naya Rivera | Source
Corey Monteith and Naya Rivera at a promotional event for their TV show 'Glee'
Corey Monteith and Naya Rivera at a promotional event for their TV show 'Glee' | Source

Mark Salling's body being transported to the LA coroner's office in 2018.

End of the road for disgraced 'Glee' actor Mark Salling
End of the road for disgraced 'Glee' actor Mark Salling | Source

The Search Continues For Actress Naya Rivera at Lake Piru In Ventura County

UPDATE: July 13, 2020 Ventura County Sheriffs Department confirmed a body believed to be that of Rivera was found in Lake Piru.


Nanya Rivera, 33, an actress best known for her role as Santana Lopez on the FOX hit 'Glee' from 2009 to 2011. Rivera a California native, left her Los Angeles home with her four year old son, Josey Dorsey on Wednesday, July 8th, 2020. The mother and son had planned a day of fun in the Southern California sun, with a day of boating and swimming at Lake Piru in Ventura County, about 60 miles from LA. The pair rented a boat at the dock on Wednesday morning. When the actress did not return the boat at a predetermined time, the lake staff went onto the lake to search for the boat. A staff member found the boat with a sleeping Josey, wearing a life jacket. There was another life vest found on the boat, and the actress was no where in sight. According to responding officers, Josey said 'that they went swimming but his mother did not get back on the boat.'

A search of the lake commenced, with several members boarding boats equipped with sonar equipment. After investigating, the Ventura County Sheriffs Department determined 'that there was no foul play involved, and they believed that Rivera more than likely drowned in the water while she was swimming.' They are now calling the search a 'recovery mission' saying it's 'not possible that Rivera is still alive.' Many questions are circulating on the digital highway dealing with Rivera's disappearance. The biggest one thus far, is how did the four year old get back on the boat by himself? If Rivera put him on the boat herself, why would she then get back in the water after he was alone on the boat? Law enforcement sources are saying, t'hey can not determine at this point what happened exactly, this is still an ongoing investigation'.

Josey Dorsey has been united with his father, Rivera's ex husband actor Ryan Dorsey. The couple married in Mexico in July of 2014, the marriage was over in less than two years. Dorsey was seen at Lake Piru, with Rivera's mother, father and brother, over the weekend, watching as the search continued for the actress. This is not the first tragedy for the cast of 'Glee', it's the third cast member touched directly by tragedy. On July 13, 2013 actor Cory Monteith,31, died of a drug overdose in his native Canada. Monteith was cast on the hit show in 2009 in one of the leading roles as Finn Hudson, the quarterback on the high school football team. Monteith reportedly battled with substance abuse issues for the majority of his adult life. He entered a treatment facility in March of 2013, but died of a drug overdose only four months later in his hotel room at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in Vancouver. The official autopsy revealed he died of a toxic level of heroin and alcohol.

Dallas, Texas born actor Mark Salling was cast on 'Glee' in 2008 in the role of, Noah Puckerman,'. Sailing appeared on the show for four seasons, and was set to start appearing in a semi regular capacity in the same role in 2013. Salling coincidentally started dating his 'Glee' co-star Naya Rivera from 2007 to 2010. Salling was accused of sexual battery by his ex girlfriend Playboy model DJ Roxanne Dawn. She claimed the actor forced her to have sex with him without using a condom. The actor filed a defamation suit, and the case was settled out of court, with Salling paying Dawn close to $3 million in damages in 2015. Salling's legal problems didn't end there, he was arrested in December of 2015 on charges that he had thousands of pictures of child pornography in his home and on his devices. A search warrant of his home and devices revealed the actor had over 50,000 pictures and films of child pornography, in some instances the children were aged 7 and younger, law enforcement said at the time. At the time of his arrest he had been working on the film, 'Gods and Secrets.' After his arrest he was fired from the film. Salling plead guilty to all of the charges in September of 2017. He was facing a 4 to 7 year prison sentence, and being a registered sex offender for life, and a host of other conditions he agreed to. He was scheduled to be sentenced on March 7, 2018. Salling was reported missing on January 30th, 2018 by concerned friends and family who had not heard from him. He was found hanging near his Los Angeles home in the San Fernando Valley . The coroner ruled his death a 'suicide.'Salling, was 35 at the time of his death.

Natalie Wood, James Dean and Sal Mineo in a scene from 'Rebel Without A Cause'

Wood,Dean and Mineo all would die tragically from 1955 to 1981.
Wood,Dean and Mineo all would die tragically from 1955 to 1981. | Source

1955 Classic Film Rebel Without A Cause' Plagued By Tragedy

The iconic 1955 film renders some of the most iconic visions of 'Old Hollywood', with it's three larger than life actors. The three lead actors in the film, James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo, all met untimely tragic deaths. Wood was a very successful child ac'tress when she was cast in the film at 16. Movie critics at the time called 'it a perfect role for Wood to transition from a child to an adult actress. The film was about teenage rebellion and was filmed in and around Griffith Park in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles. Wood played the lead role of Judy.. She would go on to have a storied career, and was one of Hollywood's most sort after actresses. She married actor Robert Wagner twice. She first married him in 1957 and was divorced by 1962. After both of them were married to other people they remarried in 1972, when she was 32. The couple were out on their boat 'The Splendor' on the Pacific Ocean on Thanksgiving weekend November 1981. The couple were on board the boat with Wood's co-star actor Christopher Walken. Woods and Walken were working together on the film 'Brainstorm' at the time of the incident. The couple and Walken were going to be sailing from Los Angeles out to Catalina Island. According to police reports from that night, Wood and Wagner had a fight that evening on board the boat, and Wood in an attempt to have some distance between herself and her husband, took a small life boat out and climbed on board it alone wearing only a nightgown. Wood was famously known for being deathly afraid of drowning and water and by her own admission 'the dark waters of the ocean.' She never returned to the yacht, a search team was called in to search the icy waters of the Pacific. Her body was found on November 29, 1981, she was 43. The events of that night have continuously been called into question since 1981 and even now almost 40 years later. Many believed Wagner and Wood fought, and perhaps Wagner intentionally threw his wife overboard. Her autopsy could not reveal a specific cause of death. Injuries found on her body were not consistent with an accidental drowning, according to investigators. Police say she had injuries to her face and body, that indicated 'she was injured prior to being in the water.' Wagner and Walken immediately 'lawyer-ed up' and shut down talking to investigators. Wood's younger sister actress Lana Wood has said publicly she believes her former brother in law 'Robert Wagner killed her sister, and he should be held accountable.'

Questions continue to swirl and it remains one of the biggest Hollywood mysteries in the modern era. Some have questioned why Walken was on the boat to begin with that evening. It was a holiday weekend, and Wood and Wagner had young children. Some have wondered why the couple were not with their children on that weekend, but were with Walken. The actor was married at the time to casting director, Georgianne Thon Walken, they had been married for 12 years at the time and remain married till this day. Some wonder why Walken's wife was not on the boat too, many say the entire evening and the 'accident' remains sketchy and problematic.

Indiana native James Dean, was cast in the film as Jim Stark opposite Wood, the same year of his death. Dean quickly become a teenage heartthrob, and was on his way to a stellar career say many notable film critics. Dean appeared in Broadway plays before he started his short film career. By the time 'Rebel Without Cause' premiered on October 27th, 1955, Dean would be dead. The actor who had a vast collection of racing cars, entered several racing competitions before his death. He was on his way to a professional motor race that was going to be held on October 1 to 2, 1955 at Salinas Road Race track. He was driving his Porsche 550, with friend and auto mechanic Rolf Wutherick who was a passenger in Dean's car. It was Wutherick who convinced Dean to drive the car from LA to Salinas to 'break the car in, since it was new.' The original plan was for the car to be shipped to the race track. As the pair were driving along historic Route 66 in California a Ford Tudor was driving past an intersection that Dean was entering. Dean could not stop his car fast enough, and plowed into the side of the Ford. The driver of the Ford Donald Turnupseed, emerged from his totaled car with very slight injuries. Wutherick was thrown from the car, and fully recovered from his injuries. Dean was pinned inside the car, several people that were near the scene of the accident stopped to offer help. Dean suffered a broken neck in the crash and died instantly. Dean was stopped by police a few hours before the deadly crash occurred, and was given a speeding ticket. Dean was 24 years old at the time of his death.


Sal Mineo, an actor who was born in New York City, was a successful child actor, when he was cast in 'Rebel Without A Cause' in 1955, when he was 16. Mineo was cast as John 'Plato' Crawford, whose character had a crush on the character played by James Dean. As a result of the breakout role for Mineo he started to receive thousands of fan letters from female fans around the world. He like Dean became a teenage heartthrob with legions of fans around the world. Mineo according to many accounts was a closeted gay actor, who dated some of the most beautiful actresses in the 60's and 70's. Mineo dated British actress Jill Haworth for several years. The two met on the film set 'Exodus' in 1960. The two were engaged at some point in the relationship. Haworth told a reported that she 'called off the engagement after she caught Mineo having sex with a man.' There were gay rumors hovering above Mineo for the entire length of his career, but he never commented on his personal life until 1972. In an interview that year he admitted to being bisexual, and said he had been involved in a relationship with male actor Courtney Burr. The two were said to still be dating at the time of his death four years later.

Mineo had been cast in the Los Angeles play 'P.S. Your Cat Is Dead' in 1976, Mineo had been living in the predominately gay area of West Hollywood in the 70's and had an apartment there in 1976. On the night of February 12, 1976, Mineo attended his last rehearsal for the play. He drove home and parked his car in a car port directly below his apartment. Mineo was approached by a man who was trying to rob him and the actor was stabbed in his stomach with a butcher knife. The mugger fled the scene, but was apprehended a short time later. Mineo died of his injuries a short time later at an LA hospital. Rumors started circulating that the stabbing was the result of a random homosexual encounter that went bad.' The mugger, Lionel Ray Williams, claimed he had no idea who Mineo was and he was robbing apartments in the area, He said Mineo resisted and that's why he was stabbed. In 1979 Williams was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to 57 years. He was paroled in 1992, after only serving 14 years of his sentence. Mineo was 37 years old at the time of the murder, he never married and had no children. His family had him transported back to his native New York where he was buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York.



Todd Bridges, Dana Plato, Gary Coleman in a still photo from the TV show 'Diff'rent Strokes'

Happier times during the show' run 1975 to  1986
Happier times during the show' run 1975 to 1986 | Source

No Easy Ride For The Troubled Cast of Iconic TV show 'Diff'rent Strokes'

The TV show 'Diff'rent Strokes' which ran on NBC from 1978 to 1985 and on ABC fro 1985 to 1986, was considered a 'ground breaking show' at the time. It had guest appearances by former actress and present First Lady Nancy Reagan, where she premiered her famous 'Just Say No' to drugs campaign. Legendary fighter Mohammad Ali also made a guest appearance. The show was about two African American boys from Harlem, NY that were adopted by a wealthy white man that lived on ritzy Park Ave, after the boy's mother died. Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges were cast as the two brothers Arnold and Willis Jackson. Dana Plato was the daughter of the 'Philip Drummond' character, Conrad Bain played Drummond, and Plato played his daughter Kimberly. The show was instantly a hit and made huge TV stars out of the three kids in the cast. Gary Coleman who was 10 when he started the show, was the highest paid child actor of his time. At the height of his career before he was 12, he was earning $ 5 million a year. Coleman was born with a serious kidney disease, that stunted his growth. He would only reach 4 feet 8 inches in height, and retained a child like face into adulthood. He was born in Illinois and adopted at birth by W.G. Coleman a forklift operator, and his wife Edmonia a nurse. Due to his kidney illness he had to undergo two kidney transplants, and would suffer debilitating health issues throughout his entire life.

Coleman's parents quit their own jobs, and became Gary's managers when he first started doing commercials when he was 6. The family moved to Los Angeles from Chicago ahead of his starring role on 'Diff'rent Strokes.' Coleman would accuse his parents of fraud and mishandling his fortune and sued them for damages. He sued them for close to $ 4 million in 1989 and was awarded a judgement of $1.5 million in 1993. He also sued a former attorney and agent for fraud and settled those cases out of court. He was plagued by financial troubles, and filed for bankruptcy twice. He had no contact with his adoptive parents well before he sued them in 1989. He had to auction off his TV and movie memorabilia to just pay his costly medical treatments. He blamed himself, his adoptive parents and those 'vultures that preyed upon him when he was a child' for his financial woes.

Several business ventures that he invested in like a 'Gary Coleman Arcade' in Marina Del Rey, CA failed and cost him millions of dollars, Coleman worked as a security guard in California malls when his acting roles dried up. In a 1993 interview Coleman said he tried to commit suicide twice by overdosing on pain pills. Both attempts landed him in a hospital, and mental health treatment. For a few years Coleman lived in Denver and hosted a radio show. In 2005 he moved to the small Utah town of Sataquin and lived there until his death. In 2007 he married Shannon Price, a movie extra he met on a film set. The couple divorced less than a year later, with Coleman claiming his wife physically abused him. He was granted a permanent restraining order against her. Coleman started to suffer seizures later in life, and fell at his Utah home on May 26th, 2010. He was taken to Utah Regional Medical Center in Provo Utah in critical condition. When he fell at his home he hit his head causing a 'epidural hematoma' He died on May 28th, 2010, he was 42. He had a will and a medical directive in place prior to the accident. He said he didn't want anyone who had any financial interest in him to be involved with his burial or funeral. His estate was reported to be less than $100 K was tied up in court for years, and eventually the money was given to various kidney research foundations in Denver, Los Angeles and Utah. Coleman had no funeral, and no family and or friends that gathered at the hospital. his remains were cremated, and the ashes scattered at a rail yard in Utah, because of his 'great love of trains.'

Dana Plato's Mug Shot after her 1991 arrest in Las Vegas, Nevada

Dana Plato on her mad dissent downward.
Dana Plato on her mad dissent downward. | Source

Dana Plato's Entrance Into The World Was Troubled & Continued To Spiral

Actress Dana Plato was born to a teenage unwed mother on November 7th, 1964, she was adopted when she was 7 months old. A couple Dean and Kay Plato from Southern California adopted her. When she was 3 her parents divorced and she lived with her mother Kay. Plato lived in the San Fernando Valley right outside of Hollywood, and started to audition for commercials before she was 5. She started landing commercials and TV roles in shows like 'The Six Million Dollar Man' with Lee Majors. She landed her role as Kimberly Drummond on 'Diff'rent Strokes' in 1978 when she was 14, the show was a hit, and she became a teenage TV star. Her mother Kay managed her career, which lead to other roles on TV and movies.

Plato made her last appearance on 'Diff'rent Strokes' in 1986, when she was 22. She tried to establish herself as a series actress after leaving the show, but acting parts were hard to come by for her. She did a Playboy pictorial spread in 1989, and after that she was relegated to appearing in soft core porn films. Plato said during an interview, that started using drugs and alcohol during 'Diff'rent Strokes' and when the show was over, she was a full fledged addict.' Before she left the show, she moved in with her musician boyfriend Lanny Lambert. The couple married in April of 1984, and their son, Tyler Lambert was born a few months later on July 2, 1984. When the producers learned Plato was pregnant, she was written off of the how. Her co-star Conrad Bain said at the time, 'she was very happy she was going to have a baby, because she said she would never be alone again.'

Plato's mother Kay died in 1988 of a rare blood disorder, and Plato also filed for divorce from her husband of 4 years. They were formally divorced in 1990, and during the divorce proceedings Plato lost custody of her son Tyler. Plato was ordered to pay child support to Lambert and granted limited visitation rights. During this time Plato said she gave power of attorney of her financial funds to a trusted accountant, and he absconded with more than 10 million dollars. He was never found after he left Los Angeles nor prosecuted for theft.

Eventually Plato left LA and moved to Las Vegas, she said at the time she would try to get a job in one of the many shows in Vegas. Her attempts at a come back in show business did not turn into any paid gigs. She took a job at a dry cleaning store in Las Vegas, working behind the counter. In 1991 Plato entered a Las Vegas video store 'demanding money from the clerk.' Plato was armed with a pellet gun. A 911 call was made, the caller said, 'the girl that played Kimberly on Diff'rent Strokes' just robbed me.' Plato was found and arrested on the same day, Vegas resident and actor and Vegas performer, Wayne Newton, 'posted Plato's bail. Newton said he did not know Plato, but he was a child star too, and he felt really sorry for her and she just needed someone to care about her.' She served 30 days for the robbery.

Plato could never quite get back on track after her Vegas conviction. She started dating a former manager Robert Menchaca in 1998. The two had been traveling together in an RV in 1999. While they were on their way back to California, they stopped in Moore Oklahoma to visit Menchaca's mother for Mothers Day. During the trip Plato said she was not feeling well and took some sleeping pills to go to sleep. Menchaca found her unresponsive in the morning, she was declared dead on the scene by first reponders. Her death was ruled a suicide,due to the amount of Lortab and Soma muscle relaxers in her system. Plato's ashes were scattered at her favorite Southern California beach along the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Plato was 34, at the time of her death on May 8.1999.

The tragedy of Plato's short life did not end with her death. Her only child Tyler, who was raised by his father Plato's ex-husband, didn't have an easy life either. He became a lighting technician in the entertainment industry and was living in Southern California, when almost 11 years after the death of his mother he took his life, Tyler Lambert committed suicide by shooting himself on May 6, 2000, he was 25 years old.


Plato's only child Tyler Lambert,took his own life in 2000 at the age of 25
Plato's only child Tyler Lambert,took his own life in 2000 at the age of 25 | Source
Todd Bridges with cast mates Gary Coleman, Conrad Bain and first lady Nancy Reagan on the set in 1983
Todd Bridges with cast mates Gary Coleman, Conrad Bain and first lady Nancy Reagan on the set in 1983 | Source
Todd Bridges in court with his lawyer the late Johnny Cochran in 1989
Todd Bridges in court with his lawyer the late Johnny Cochran in 1989 | Source

Todd Bridges Still Alive To Recount His Dark Days In Hollywood

Todd Bridges a California native, comes from an entertainment family. His mother Betty Pryor is a former actress, his father James Bridges was a talent manager. Bridges' brother, sister, nieces and nephews are all either former actors or are currently still acting. Bridges had several roles as a child actor, including Alex Hailey's Roots, before landing a starring role on Diff'rent Strokes. It was his role as Willis Jackson that gained Bridges the most fame and money in the entertainment industry, Along with the fame as a pre-teen came according to him 'all the temptations money can get you and bring you down from.' Bridges told Oprah Winfrey in 2000 that his downfall started before the height of his fame. He was molested repeatedly by a publicist and family friend when he was 11. He said 'he was full of shame and too scared to tell anyone of the abuse.'After 'Diff'rent Strokes' was over in the 80's Bridges said he was heavily addicted to crack cocaine. He was arrested for the first time when he was 15 for felony drug possession. In 1983 when he was 18 he was arrested for having illegal guns and drugs in his possession. Bridges was arrested and charged with attempted murder in 1993. High profile attorney and future member of OJ Simpson's 'dream team' Johnny Cochran represented Bridges, and said Bridges was not present during the time of the shooting of a drug dealer. Bridges was found not guilty by a jury, and was soon in trouble again. He was pulled over in 1992 and when police searched his car they found illegal guns and drugs in his car.

Bridges said he sought help for the first time for drug abuse after the 1992 arrest, and has been clean and sober ever since in spite of many financial hardships. Bridges recently said' he considers himself very lucky to still be alive. He said his late co-star Dana Plato was like a real sister to him and the two had 'an unbreakable bond' after being on the show together. He has said he wished that he could have done more for his friend to save her life, 'but at least she is free now and not suffering anymore.'




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