Dana Plato

Dana Plato


11/7/1964, Maywood, California, USA



Birth Name

Dana Michelle Strain


out of 10
User Rating
33 votes


Dana Plato led quite an interesting life, full of dizzying heights and shattering lows. She came to fame as a child star but found out soon enough that early fame often has its own pitfalls. Best known as Kimberly Drummond, the older sister on TV's "Diff'rent Strokes," Dana…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Dana appeared in the 1984 TV movie High School, USA with Diff'rent Strokes co-star, Todd Bridges. However, they did not have any scenes together in the movie.

    • Dana was bisexual.

    • Dana used to smoke and do cocaine.

    • After her death, Dana was cremated and her ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

    • During a stunt for Celebrity Daredevils, Dana broke her ankle in 1980 when she landed wrong after skydiving.

    • While filming a Dole banana commercial as a child, Dana had to do several takes to get it right and ended up getting very sick after eating a total of eighty-two bananas.

    • While filming Diff'rent Strokes, Dana made $22,000 an episode.

    • Dana used to love to go horseback riding, skiing, and ice skating.

    • The day before Dana committed suicide, she appeared on the Howard Stern radio show and denied the questions when asked by Howard about ever thinking about committing suicide.

    • In hopes of reviving her acting career, Dana got breast implants in 1994.

    • While growing up, Dana always wanted to become an Olympic figure skater.

    • Dana went to Sutter Jr. High which was in Winnetka, California.

    • Dana was 5'2" tall.

    • Dana appeared in an Off-Broadway production of Last of The Red Hot Lovers, in 1995 that earned her a lukewarm response from the critics.

    • Dana starred in a soft-core pornography film in 1999, titled Different Strokes, acting out her lesbian love scenes.

    • Dana announced that she was a lesbian in a 1998 issue of Sapphic Price's magazine Girlfriends. She later retracted that statement, announcing that she was just experimenting.

    • Dana's son Tyler filed a lawsuit against his mother's ex-fiance Robert Menchaca, in a 'wrongful death' claim in 2006. Tyler alledges that Robert could've and should have called for an ambulance long before he did, instead he took pictures of her lifeless body, and called the newspaper first.

    • Dana was featured as a scantily clad victim in a video game in 1992 called "Night Trap".

    • Dana appeared in several B-grade movies, Bikini Beach Resort in 1992, and Compelling Evidence in 1995.

    • Dana spent a month in a drug rehab center in Las Vegas--one of several times she went to rehab.

    • Dana violated her probation in 1992 by writing herself a fraudulent prescription for Valium, and served 30 days in jail.

    • Dana was arrested for armed robbery in 1991 for robbing a Las Vegas video store with a pellet gun. She stole $164 for rent, and received five years probation. She wore very large sunglasses and a blonde curly wig as her disguise. After existing the store, she removed the disguise and immediately returned.

    • Dana posed for a five page nude layout for Playboy magazine in June 1989. She was hoping to get back into show business, but to no avail.

    • Dana and Lanny divorced in March of 1990, and custody of their son Tyler was awarded to her ex-husband. Dana was allowed visitation.

    • Dana's mother, who had guided her career and been her strongest supporter died of a blood disease in January of 1998, and her husband left her the following week.

    • Dana returned to appear in the last season of Diff'rent Strokes. By the time the season wrapped up, she was no longer a child.

    • Dana moved in with her rock guitarist boyfriend Lanny Lambert in 1983, they were married in 1984.

    • Dana was discovered while making an appearance on The Gong Show. The producer for the new NBC sitcom Diff'rent Strokes picked her for the role of Kimberley.

    • Dana was offered the lead role in The Exorcist, but her mother refused to let her appear in the demonic film. Although, she did accept a small role in Exorcist II: The Heretic, a film that has been voted one of the worst of all time.

    • Dana's adoptive parents Dean & Florine "Kay" Plato guided her into acting as a child, appearing in over 100 commercials, including Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dole Bananas, and Arco Oil.

    • Dana's birth mother was a sixteen year old unwed mother that put her up for adoption when she was 18 months old.

    • Dana died of a drug overdose of the painkiller Lortab along with Valium on May 9th, 1999 while visiting her fiance Robert Menchaca's parents home.

    • Dana was fired from the show Diff'rent Strokes after the show's sixth season, due to her becoming pregnant and the producers didn't want to write a pregnancy into the show.

  • Quotes

    • Dana Plato: When the role came along I was very happy to do it because this is life. It's something people need to see and recognize and get healthy about. In my opinion it's not about gay or straight or bi; but attracted to spirits whatever body they're in. There's other reasons too, but that's how I see it. With women and women I think there´s an understanding. Nobody knows what a woman feels or experiences but another woman. We are the nurturers and there are times when we need to be nurtured.

    • Dana Plato: (in 1992 after her arrest for writing a fraudulent prescription for Valium) If I hadn't gotten caught, it could have been the worst thing that happened to me because I could have died of a drug overdose.

  • Dana Plato got less than she deserved.

    I had such a crush on Dana when she did "Diff'rent Strokes," and I'm still so saddened by the way she ended up. It was and still is a horrible way for one to go even for one who spent a few years making us laugh from behind one of her co-stars. As Kimberly, she was bright, funny and effervescent; as Dana, she was turned down for movie roles and struggled to make ends meet. I still wonder if the Exorcist would have been just as good had she won the role of Regan, but getting that role might have prevented her from recieving the role of All-American Kimberly. She was lovely, attractive and tragic and will be sorely missed by her true fans.moreless
  • I really liked you when you were on Diff'rent Strokes because I thought you had a cute nobby nose.

    I am a big fan of yours. I have watched and taped every episode with you as Dana Plato in Diff'rent Strokes.

    I am living in a residential house because I have Aspergers Syndrome, which means I get stuck on magpies, I have been watching Diff'rent Strokes with family and friends.

    I would like to meet you for a cake and a hot chocolate one day.