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Todd Bridges

Todd Bridges

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Also Known As: Todd A. Bridges Died:
Born: May 27, 1965 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: San Francisco, California, USA Profession: actor, producer, director, writer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Like his best known character Willis Jackson, Todd Bridges experienced a real-life reversal of fortune. But instead of the classic rags-to-riches tale, Bridges' off-screen story took a sad turn, fueled by a drug addiction, abuse and the typical trappings of too-soon childhood stardom. Beginning in the late 1970s, the talented actor became a teen idol as Gary Coleman's older and street-smart brother on the hit comedy, "Diff'rent Strokes" (NBC, 1978-1986), even inspiring one of the medium's most iconic catchphrases: "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout Willis?" Lauded for its witty dialogue and stellar performances, the groundbreaking series became one of the first shows to shed light on controversial subjects such as poverty, child molestation and drug use. During his stint on "Strokes," Bridges became a highly sought after TV celebrity, appearing on popular programs like "The Facts of Life" (CBS, 1979-1988) and "The Love Boat" (ABC, 1977-1986). "Diff'rent Strokes" enjoyed high ratings during its eight-year run but when it ended, so too did Bridges career. Unable to reinvent himself as an adult actor, he quickly turned to a life of crime and drug addiction. Bridges' substance abuse consumed him; he had several...

Like his best known character Willis Jackson, Todd Bridges experienced a real-life reversal of fortune. But instead of the classic rags-to-riches tale, Bridges' off-screen story took a sad turn, fueled by a drug addiction, abuse and the typical trappings of too-soon childhood stardom. Beginning in the late 1970s, the talented actor became a teen idol as Gary Coleman's older and street-smart brother on the hit comedy, "Diff'rent Strokes" (NBC, 1978-1986), even inspiring one of the medium's most iconic catchphrases: "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout Willis?" Lauded for its witty dialogue and stellar performances, the groundbreaking series became one of the first shows to shed light on controversial subjects such as poverty, child molestation and drug use. During his stint on "Strokes," Bridges became a highly sought after TV celebrity, appearing on popular programs like "The Facts of Life" (CBS, 1979-1988) and "The Love Boat" (ABC, 1977-1986). "Diff'rent Strokes" enjoyed high ratings during its eight-year run but when it ended, so too did Bridges career. Unable to reinvent himself as an adult actor, he quickly turned to a life of crime and drug addiction. Bridges' substance abuse consumed him; he had several run-ins with the law and faced criminal charges that almost earned him a life sentence for fatally shooting a drug dealer. It took nearly a decade for Bridges to get sober and start rebuilding his life. After watching many of his child star contemporaries lose their way and, at times, their lives, Bridges' struggle became an inspiration and a testament to surviving in a brutal business.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 That's My Boy (2012)
2.
 See Dick Run (2009)
3.
 Issues (2006)
4.
5.
 Ghost Dog: A Detective Tail (2003) Todd Bridges
7.
 Climb, The (2002) Eddie
8.
 Darkling, The (2000) Baron
9.
 Homeboys (1992) Johnny Davis
10.
 She's Out of Control (1989) Water Man
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1972:
Moved from San Franciso to Los Angeles with his family
1973:
Made his TV devut starring with his entire family in a Jell-O commercial (date approximate)
:
Made guest appearances on "The Waltons," "Little House on the Prairie" and "Barnie Miller"
1977:
Cast as a regular on the "Barnie Miller" spin-off "Fish"
1977:
Cast in the historical miniseries "Roots"
1978:
Cast as Willis in hit series "Diff'rent Strokes"; series ran until 1986
1989:
Charged with shooting a man in Los Angeles CA; imprisoned
:
Amidst a tumultuous decade battling a drug addiction and run-ins with the law, Bridges appeared in a few low-budget films and made several small television appearances
1999:
Wrote, directed, produced and starred in the biopic about his life, "Building Bridges"
2002:
Cast in a recurring role in the award-winning daytime drama "The Young and The Restless"
2006:
Competed in the Fox reality show, "Skating with Celebrities"
2007:
Joined the cast of the CW series, "Everybody Hates Chris" as Mr. Harris' (Antonio Fargas) nephew Monk
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Bridges has traveled the country lecturing teens on drugs, alcohol and safe sex

"The bottom line is I've made stupid choices. But I got my life together now and that's the difference. I'm not the same idiot I used to be." - Bridges to Entertainment Weekly. February 3, 2000

Bridges founded an organization for troubled teens called The Todd Bridges Youth Foundation in 1992

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Dori Bridges. Married in May 1998.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Betty Bridges. Actress, manager, acting Coach.
father:
James Bridges Sr. Entertainment agent.
brother:
James Bridges Jr. Actor.
sister:
Verda Bridges. Actress.
son:
Spencer Bridges. Born 1998, mother Dori Bridges.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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