Diff’rent Strokes is an American television sitcom that aired on NBC from November 3, 1978. The series stars Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges as Arnold and Willis Jackson, two African American boys from Harlem who are taken in by a rich white Park Avenue businessman named Phillip Drummond and his daughter Kimberly, for whom their deceased mother previously worked.
Then: Phillip Drummond is a wealthy white widower, who runs the Trans Aillen Co. Housing Development. Phillip has a daughter, named Kimberly, and two adopted African American sons, 12-year-old Willis, and 8-year-old Arnold Jackson.
Now: He basically retired from the business since Diff’rent Strokes ended in 1986. He guest starred as Mr. Drummond on a May 20, 1996 episode of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He was last seen on the 2011 TV series Unforgettable where he played the role of a Priest.
Then: Arnold Jackson is the younger brother of Willis Jackson. Arnold is a “precocious moppet”, who was known for his catchphrase, “Whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout Willis?, which became part of popular culture.
Now: Coleman became a popular figure, starring in a number of feature films and made-for-TV movies including On the Right Track and The Kid with the Broken Halo. The latter eventually served as the basis for the Hanna-Barbera-produced animated series The Gary Coleman Show in 1982. Coleman died at on May 28 at the age of 42 due to a seizure.
Then: Willis James Jackson is the older brother of Arnold. Willis was portrayed alternately as rebellious and responsible.
Now: Bridges participated in the 2006 celebrity episode of Fear Factor, but was eliminated after the first stunt. In March 2008, Bridges appeared on World’s Dumbest Motorheads. His association with the show still continues.
Then: Kimberly Drummond is the only daughter of Philip Drummond. Kimberly was shown as a caring, loving big sister to both Willis and Arnold, but as a coming of age teenager, she suffered from various problems.
Now: After leaving Diff’rent Strokes, Plato attempted to establish herself as a serious actress. However, Plato died on May 8, 1999, when she took an accidental drug overdose of Lortab.