Diff’rent Strokes

Diff’rent Strokes is an American television sitcom that aired on NBC from November 3, 1978, to May 4, 1985, and on ABC from September 27, 1985, to March 7, 1986. The series stars Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges as Arnold and Willis Jackson, respectively, two African-American boys from Harlem taken in by a rich white Park Avenue businessman and widower, Phillip Drummond (Conrad Bain), and his daughter, Kimberly (Dana Plato), for whom their deceased mother previously worked. During the first season and first half of the second season, Charlotte Rae also starred as Mrs. Edna Garrett, the Drummonds’ first housekeeper, who ultimately spun off into her own sitcom, The Facts of Life, as a housemother at the fictional Eastland School. The second housekeeper, Adelaide Brubaker, was played by Nedra Volz. The third housekeeper, Pearl Gallagher, was played by Mary Jo Catlett, appearing first as a recurring character before eventually becoming a main cast member. The series made stars out of Coleman, Bridges and Plato and became known for the “very special episodes” in which serious issues such as racism, illegal drug use, alcoholism, hitchhiking, kidnapping and child sexual abuse were dramatically explored.

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