Where Is the Remaining Cast of ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ Today?
Conrad Bain, the actor fondly remembered as Mr. Drummond on ‘Diff’rent Strokes,’ has passed away. While most of the show’s bigger stars have died, (we miss you, Gary Coleman) there are a few who are still with us.
So, what are they up to today?
Willis (Todd Bridges)
One of the sitcom’s three troubled stars, along with the late Gary Coleman and Dana Plato, the man who played Willis has managed to overcome several demons. Bridges, now 47, fought drug addiction and was acquitted of murder in the late ‘80s, in a case where he was represented by Johnnie Cochran. He continues to work, appearing on ‘The Young and the Restless,’ ‘Tyler Perry’s House of Pain,’ ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ and has done the reality thing on ‘Skating with Celebrities’ and ‘Celebrity Boxing,’ in which he defeated Vanilla Ice. Now that is what we are talking about, Willis.
Sam (Danny Cooksey)
Sam joined ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ in 1984, playing the son of Mr. Drummond’s new wife. He was cute, but not very popular with fans. After his run on the sitcom ended, Cooksey — who once sang on ‘The Tonight Show’ at the age of seven — continued to work, scoring roles in ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ (he was one of the kids in the arcade scene) and in the cast of the Nickelodeon series ‘Salute Your Shorts.’ He later moved into voicework for video games and cartoons. In addition, Cooksey, now 38, has also maintained a love of music, being members of such bands as Bad4Good, RoadKill and Arbuckle.
Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae)
The 86-year-old Rae only starred in the first season of ‘Diff’rent Strokes,’ but it paid big dividends for her. Her character was the centerpiece of the ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ spinoff, ‘The Facts of Life,’ which ran from 1979-1988 (although she left the show in 1986). Rae, a two-time Tony Award nominee who was also nominated for an Emmy for her work on ‘The Facts of Life,’ was diagnosed early with pancreatic cancer in 2009, but is now cancer-free. Her most recent TV role was on the ABC Family show ‘Pretty Little Liars,’ and she can be seen in the romantic comedy ‘Love Sick Love.’
Dudley (Shavar Ross)
Ross is best known for playing Dudley, Arnold’s best friend who gets molested by a creepy bike shop owner in a classic “very special episode.” He has more than 100 TV and film credits to his name, mostly from his time as a child actor, including two of the ‘Friday the 13th’ sequels. In 1996, he founded the Alive Church in Los Angeles and served as its pastor for four years. These days, Ross, 41, runs his own production company and hasn’t had a TV acting gig since a 1995 episode of ‘Chicago Hope.’
Pearl (Mary Jo Catlett)
Pearl was one of three housekeepers who worked in the Drummond household on ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ (The late Nedra Volz, who portrayed Adelaide, was the third). Catlett’s Pearl had the longest run of the three, from 1982-1986. Catlett continued to work after the show ended, scoring roles on ‘Desperate Housewives,’ ‘2 Broke Girls’ and ‘Glee.’ Catlett, who notched a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for appearing on ‘General Hospital’ in 1990, has also lent her pipes as the voice of Mrs. Puff on ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ and Cousin Larry’s mother on ‘Kim Possible’ and did guest voice work on ‘American Dad!’
Maggie (Mary Ann Mobley)
Mobley actually replaced Dixie Carter in the last the season of ‘Diff’rent Strokes,’ taking over the role of Mr. Drummond’s new wife, Maggie. A former Miss America, in 1959, Mobley only did a handful of TV appearances after the sitcom ended and essentially quit show business (she hasn’t done any acting since 1994). Her husband, TV personality Gary Collins, died last October.