Todd Bridges

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Todd Bridges
Bridges at the Big Apple Convention in Manhattan, October 17, 2009
Born Todd Anthony Bridges
(1965-05-27) May 27, 1965 (age 49)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, comedian
Years active 1975–present
Spouse(s) Dori A. Smith (m. 1998–-2012)
Children 1 son, 1 daughter

Todd Anthony Bridges (born May 27, 1965) is an American actor.[1] He is known for his childhood role as Willis Jackson on the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, and for his recurring role as Monk on the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris. He was a comedic commentator from 2008-2013 on the television series TruTV Presents: World's Dumbest....

Personal life[edit]

Bridges was born May 27, 1965, in San Francisco, California. He is the son of Betty Alice Pryor, an actress, director, and manager, and James Bridges, Sr., an agent.[2] Bridges brother Jimmy Bridges, and his daughters Penny Bridges, Brooke Bridges, and Rachel Bridges and sister Verda Bridges are all actors. Bridges son, Spencir Bridges (born July 15, 1998), from his divorced wife Dori Bridges née Smith, is also a child actor and appearing in the film Daddy Day Camp and an iCarly episode. Bridges has a daughter, Bo, from a previous relationship.[3]

Legal issues[edit]

In his 20s, Bridges battled a crack cocaine addiction for several years. In 1988, he was arrested and tried for the attempted murder of Kenneth "Tex" Clay, a Los Angeles area drug dealer who, prosecutors argued, had been shot by Bridges. Bridges pleaded not guilty to the charges and was represented by the high-profile defense attorney Johnnie Cochran. Cochran successfully portrayed Bridges as an abused minor who had been driven to drugs by an exploitative entertainment industry, and was now being unfairly framed. A witness finally testified that Bridges was not present at the time of the shooting. Bridges was acquitted of all charges by a jury.[4]


Bridges appeared on The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie, and appeared in the landmark miniseries Roots. He was a regular on the Barney Miller spinoff Fish. But it was as young Willis Jackson on the long-running sitcom Diff'rent Strokes that he made his name, along with fellow child co-stars Dana Plato and Gary Coleman. Bridges and Charlotte Rae are the only surviving original cast members of Diff'rent Strokes.

Bridges appeared as a contestant on a 2006 celebrity episode of Fear Factor, but was eliminated after the first stunt. In January 2007, he appeared as a member of the "mob" on the US version of the game show 1 vs. 100. He appeared on MyNetworkTV's new show, Decision House with his wife, Dori Bridges, on the episode titled, "Burned Bridges" aired on November 14, 2007. He also had a recurring role on the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris.

In March 2008, Bridges appeared on truTV's TruTV Presents: World's Dumbest...; he continues to appear as a frequent commentator. That same year in October, he debuted as one of the contestants on Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling on the CMT Network. He was a member of Team Beefcake (coached by former wrestler Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake). On the show, Bridges' wrestling persona was the character "Mr. Not So Perfect." In one episode, he put the smack down on Tanya Harding with a lead pipe. The judges praised him for his athleticism and his cunning at defeating Harding. After reaching the finals along with Butterbean and Dustin Diamond, Bridges was defeated by Dennis Rodman.

Other work[edit]

Bridges wrote a book, Killing Willis: From Diff'rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted, discussing his childhood sexual abuse, drug addiction, criminal charges, and efforts to establish a public identity independent of the character, "Willis," he portrayed.[5] He appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show on April 28, 2010 to discuss the troubled past he chronicles in his memoir.[6]

He appeared as a contestant on the Fox reality show Skating with Celebrities, but was eliminated on the second episode of the show because he was using roller skates instead of ice skates. Fans were surprised he made it past the first episode. Todd Bridges defeated Vanilla Ice on a 2002 episode of Celebrity Boxing.

In 2011, Bridges appeared in the video for The Black Keys song "Howlin' for You."

In 1998, Todd Bridges and his brother James Bridges were credited with saving the life of a 51-year-old paraplegic woman, Stella Kline. The woman nearly drowned when her wheelchair rolled into a lake while she was fishing. Quoting Kline, "I was thanking God that he was there, and you know, everybody's been saying nothing but bad stuff about Todd Bridges on the news and in the papers . . . He has a heart of gold." Todd Bridges remarked on the rescue, "We felt God put us there at the right time to save this lady's life, because there was no one else around."[7]




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