Dana Plato (1964-1999)
Good-girl Kimberly Drummond, Diff'rent Strokes.
Died May 8, 1999, of what authorities ruled a suicide by intentional drug overdose. She was 34.
Per the National Enquirer, was the subject of a wrongful-death suit filed by son Tyler Lambert against Robert Menchaca, the man who was with Plato on the day of her death (2006).
Appeared on Howard Stern's radio show the day before her death; declared she'd "never been happier."
Attempted to revive her career by posing nude for Playboy in 1989.
Attempted to revive her career by acting nude in the 1997 softcore flick, Different Strokes: The Story of Jack and Jill and Jill.
Arrested for a botched armed robbery of a Las Vegas video store. Entertainer Wayne Newton posted her $13,000 bail (1991).
Arrested for forging a Valium prescription (1992).
Post-Strokes, worked in Vegas revue and at a Vegas dry cleaners.
Frequently claimed to have been cast, at about age 8 or 9, in the Linda Blair role in The Exorcist. Screenwriter/producer William Peter Blatty said in Former Child Stars: The Story of America's Least Wanted that he had no such recollection of Plato being offered Regan.
Frequently claimed to have turned down the Brooke Shields role in Pretty Baby.
From Paul Petersen (The Donna Reed Show):
"Dearest Dana, you teach a hard lesson. In life, too much too soon. In death, the press gives you too much...and too late. How does the death of a troubled girl push a war off the news? What does it say about us? For years we in A Minor Consideration have been honest about our approach to the needs of kids grown far from fame. We deal in guilt and shame. I wonder, Dana, if people listened to the folks from 20/20 and Dateline and Larry King Live. Will they watch Leeza and Sally and say, 'What a shock,' or will they say, 'I knew this was going to happen. Why didn't I pay more attention?' Hold your children close, my friends. Tell them about Dana. Tell them the truth. Yes, there is a sound when a tree falls in the forest and no one's there to hear. There's a sound when a tender young sapling falls, too." (Posted: 1999)
From Krista Errickson (Hello, Larry):
"Dear Dana, not many know the pain we suffered under the helm of Tandem/TAT [a production company]. I did try, tried to reach out to you from that long distance to lend you my helping hand. To tell you, it's okay, I understand. But I couldn't reach you. I couldn't tell you there was a better, more friendly world out there. That education and knowledge were the best revenge. I only wish, and hope, the laughter we shared in our cross-over shows (especially about Kim [Richards], and her damned lip gloss fits) will never die. You are in my heart, and shaken to my knees about your death. We will always watch [your son] Tyler for you, and keep vigilant of your image that you never seemed to be able to master yourself. We'll do it for you. Rest in Peace, my friend." (Posted: 1999)
Dana Plato Tribute Site
A Minor Consideration: In Memory of Dana Plato
Owen Keehnen Interviews: Dana Plato
Sitcoms Online: Dana Plato Memorial Site
Sitcoms Online: Diff'rent Strokes
Articles by FORMER CHILD STAR CENTRAL editor Joal Ryan:
"Report: Dana Plato Wrongful Death Suit Filed" (E! Online, 2006)
"The 'Diff'rent Strokes' Kids: Cursed?" (E! Online, 1998)
"'Diff'rent Strokes' Kid Dana Plato Dead" (E! Online, 1999)
"Dana Plato: Suicide" (E! Online, 1999)
Copyright 1997-2007 Former Child Star Central