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Diff'rent Strokes 

The misadventures of a wealthy Manhattan family who adopted the children of their late African American housekeeper from Harlem.
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1,360 ( 41)

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8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1  
1986   1985   1984   1983   1982   1981   … See all »
2 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Conrad Bain ...  Philip Drummond 181 episodes, 1978-1986
Gary Coleman ...  Arnold Jackson 179 episodes, 1978-1986
Todd Bridges ...  Willis Jackson 169 episodes, 1978-1986
Dana Plato ...  Kimberly Drummond / ... 140 episodes, 1978-1986
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Storyline

Phillip Drummond, a widowed Manhattan millionaire and president of the mega-firm Trans Allied Inc., adopts two African American orphans 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 away; 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 rather skeptical of their newfound wealth, but eventually, both he and Arnold felt right at home in their newfound surroundings. Also part of the family were Drummond's beautiful daughter, 13-year-old Kimberly; and his no-nonsense housekeeper, Edna Garrett. As the years passed, Mrs. Garrett left to become housemother 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' ... Written by Brian Rathjen <briguy_52732@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Can the funniest, most opinionated nine year old south of Harlem find happiness as the adopted son of a suave, lily-white Park Avenue millionaire? (season 1)

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Family

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 November 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

45 Minutes from Harlem See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tandem Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (189 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In her recently published autobiography "The Facts of My Life", Charlotte Rae admits that her writing partner pitched an idea to Tandem Productions (Norman Lear's production company) about a sitcom with Rae being the dorm mother at a school, giving out advice, doing out chores and cooking for the kids, much like she did on Facts of Life. This was years before Facts of Life came out though, and it would have been a co-ed university, not an all girl's boarding school. The people at Tandem rejected the idea, although later they did hire her for the Edna Garrett housekeeper role on Different Strokes. Then they came back to her and re-pitched the same idea she had already pitched in the first place, a show about her as a house mother at a school, playing mother hen to all the students, et; but slightly altered, it taking place at an all girl's school named Eastland now. The people at Tandem seemed to have forgotten she pitched practically the same idea to them just a couple years earlier. Rae felt funny about taking the role under these circumstances; that somehow she was ripping off her partner who came up with the idea in the first place, and who would not be getting any credit in its current incarnation. But her writing partner told her to take the role anyway, that roles like these come along only once in a lifetime and she would be a fool to pass it up; so she took the job. The rest is TV history. See more »

Quotes

Kimberly Drummond: Well, well, if it isn't Sleeping Beauty.
Willis Jackson: You mean Sleeping Ugly.
Arnold Jackson: I owe you an insult!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Gwyneth Paltrow/Cee Lo Green (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Makes me Wish I didn't know the truth!
17 October 2006 | by SylSee 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.


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