Diff'rent Strokes (1978–1986)

TV Series  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Family
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The misadventures of a rich Manhattan family who adopted the children of their late African American maid.

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1986   1985   1984   1983   1982   1981   … See all »
2 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete series cast summary:
 Philip Drummond / ... (181 episodes, 1978-1986)
 Arnold Jackson (179 episodes, 1978-1986)
 Willis Jackson (169 episodes, 1978-1986)
 Kimberly Drummond (140 episodes, 1978-1986)


Phillip Drummond, a widowed Manhattan millionaire and president of the mega-firm Trans Allied Inc., adopts two orphaned black brothers from Harlem 8-year-old Arnold and 12-year-old Willis. Drummond had made a promise to their dying mother, his housekeeper that he would care for the boys after she passes on; their father had died years earlier. The boys, whom Drummond always introduced as his two sons, went from rags to riches literally overnight. At first, Willis was a bit skeptical of their new-found wealth, but eventually, both he and Arnold felt right at home in their new-found surroundings. Also part of the family were Drummond's beautiful daughter, 13-year-old Kimberly; and his current housekeeper, Edna Garrett. As the years passed, Mrs. Garrett left to become house-mother at the Eastland School for Girls; she was replaced by the cantankerous Adelaide Brubaker and still later, charming Pearl Gallagher. Arnold's friends, Dudley and Robbie (and later, Charlie); Willis' girlfriend, ... Written by Brian Rathjen <briguy_52732@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Family


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 November 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

45 Minutes from Harlem  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (189 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In addition to the spin-off series "Facts of Life, The" (1979), characters from this show also made crossovers onto Hello, Larry (1979) and Silver Spoons (1982), thereby implying that all four shows exist in the same universe. See more »


Willis Jackson: [Mrs. Garrett catches the boys throwing punches] Uhhh, it's a new dance we're doing... It's called, ummm... The Punch Shuffle.
Edna Garrett: Now if Mr. Drummond catches you practicing fighting, you're gonna switch from the Punch Shuffle to the Bruised Bottom Blues!
See more »


Referenced in South Park: Cartoon Wars: Part 2 (2006) See more »


Diff'rent Strokes
(Theme Song)
Written by Alan Thicke, Al Burton and Gloria Loring
Performed by Alan Thicke
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Makes me Wish I didn't know the truth!
17 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Watching the true Hollywood story on E! about the cast of Different Strokes was heartbreaking, after all, two of the three cast members had substance abuse problems and the star, Gary Coleman, had problems with his parents that he sued them. It's sad to watch the show, I wish I didn't know Dana Plato's problems because now I see how much she wanted her life to be like Kimberly Drummond. Conrad Bain was great as the father figure of the show. Of course, he was supposed to only be acting but I think he became a paternal figure to those youngsters. We went Mrs. Edna Garrett played by the wonderful Charlotte Rae who got her own show without all the drama of Different Strokes. She escaped it. I never approved of them dissing Dixie Carter for Mary Ann Mobley. I like them both in the role as the second Mrs. Drummond. Of course, there was the guest appearances of First Lady Nancy Reagan preaching against drugs. How little did we know the truth? Gary Coleman never escaped the image of the chubby cute kid on Different Strokes. Dana Plato who is gone to a better place never did get to experience the life of Kimberly Drummond except when she was on the set. I only wish Todd and Gary best for their future. I only wished that the off-screen drama was cut down for their sakes. I feel guilty getting laughs knowing that they went home and cried or faced abuse.

18 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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