Todd Bridges

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Todd Bridges
Todd Bridges 2017-10-28.jpg
Bridges in 2017
Todd Anthony Bridges

(1965-05-27) May 27, 1965 (age 55)
Years active1975–present
Children2 (including Spencir Bridges)
RelativesJimmy Bridges (brother)
Todd Bridges signature.jpeg

Todd Anthony Bridges (born May 27, 1965) is an American actor. He portrayed Willis Jackson on the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes and had a recurring role as Monk on the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris. Bridges worked as a commentator on the television series TruTV Presents: World's Dumbest... from 2008 to 2013. Bridges is the last surviving original actor of Diff'rent Strokes.

Early life[edit]

Bridges was born on May 27, 1965 in San Francisco, California, the son of Betty Alice Pryor, an actress, director and manager, and James Bridges Sr., a talent agent.[1] Bridges' brother Jimmy Bridges, nieces Penny Bridges, Brooke Bridges and Rachel Bridges and sister Verda Bridges are all actors.[citation needed]



Bridges (at top right) with the cast of Fish, 1977

Bridges appeared on The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie and the landmark miniseries Roots. He was a regular on the Barney Miller spinoff Fish. It was playing Willis Jackson on the long running NBC sitcom Diff'rent Strokes that made him a household name, along with those of fellow co-stars Conrad Bain, Charlotte Rae, Dana Plato and Gary Coleman. With Rae's death in 2018, Bridges became the last surviving original cast member.[2] (Two actors who joined the regular cast later are still living as of 2021: Mary Jo Catlett and Danny Cooksey.)

Bridges appeared in the 2002 special Celebrity Boxing with friend Vanilla Ice, who he defeated. In 2006, Bridges appeared as a contestant on a celebrity episode of Fear Factor but was eliminated after the first stunt. Also in 2006, 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. In January 2007, he appeared as a member of the "mob" on the US version of the game show 1 vs. 100. He and his wife Dori Bridges appeared in the November 14, 2007 episode of the MyNetworkTV show Decision House titled "Burned Bridges". He also had a recurring role on the UPN/The CW sitcom Everybody Hates Chris.

In March 2008, Bridges appeared on 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 smackdown on Tonya 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. In 2015, Bridges was the host of a live game show, Lovers or Losers: The Game Show, at the Plaza Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Music videos[edit]

Bridges has appeared in a few music videos. His first music video appearance was in Penny Ford's single "Change Your Wicked Ways" (1984).[3] Almost 15 years later, he made a cameo in Moby's 2002 music video for "We Are All Made of Stars". In 2011, he appeared in the video for The Black Keys single "Howlin' for You".

Personal life[edit]

Bridges' son, Spencir Bridges (born July 15, 1998), with his now ex-wife Dori Bridges (née Smith), is also a former child actor who appeared in the film Daddy Day Camp and an episode of iCarly. Bridges also has a daughter from a previous relationship.[4] In 1998, Bridges and his brother James were credited with saving the life of Stella Kline, a 51-year-old paraplegic woman. The woman nearly drowned when her wheelchair rolled into a lake while she was fishing. Kline said "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." 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."[5] In a 2010 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Bridges said that he was sexually abused at age 11 by a publicist who was also a family friend.[6]

Legal issues[edit]

Bridges started smoking marijuana as a 15-year-old star of Diff'rent Strokes.[7] During his 20s, Bridges battled a crack cocaine and methamphetamine addiction. He started dealing drugs to support his addiction. Bridges was arrested for felony assault and cocaine possession.[8]

In 1983, Bridges was fined $240 for carrying a concealed firearm.[9] In 1987, he received a suspended sentence after pleading no contest to charges of making a bomb threat.[9]

In 1989, Bridges 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 argued that Bridges was 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.[10][11]

Bridges was arrested on December 29, 1992 after Burbank police officers discovered methamphetamines and a loaded gun in his car. The arrest was for suspicion of transporting narcotics for sale and possession of a loaded firearm. He was released on $10,000 bail.[9][8] Bridges gave up drugs on February 24, 1993 after years of use.[7][12]


Bridges wrote a book titled Killing Willis: From Diff'rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted (2008), discussing his childhood sexual abuse, drug addiction, criminal charges and efforts to establish a public identity independent of the character "Willis" he portrayed.[13] He appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show on April 28, 2010 to discuss the troubled past he chronicles in his memoir.[8]



Year Title Role Notes
1989 She's Out of Control Water Man
1992 The Sounds of Silence Joe Goodman Independent film, co-starring Dana Plato
Homeboy Johnny Davis
1996 Gangstaz Tyrone
1997 The Girl Gets Moe Dr. Glick
1998 The Waterfront Gary Franklin
1999 Flat Out Dr. Acosta
2000 The Thief & the Stripper Burn
2002 The Beach House Todd
The Climb Eddie
Welcome to America Easy T
Scream at the Sound of the Beep Lamar
Pacino is Missing Harrison Dodge Ind. film, co-starring Dana Plato
Baby of the Family Ted
2003 Pauly Shore Is Dead Himself Cameo
Dumb Luck Lincoln
2004 Land of the Free? Alex
Curse of the Maya Ruben Herardo
2005 Treasure N'Tha Hood Henry Nails
Issues Carson
I Got Five on It Jimmy Direct-to-video
2007 Frankie D Frankie D
2008 Darkroom Charles the Barkeep
2009 See Dick Run ATM
I Got Five on It Too Jimmy
The Jerk Theory Waiter Uncredited[citation needed]
2010 Big Money Rustlas Scruffy Scrub #3
The Apparition of Roxanne Officer Johnston
Do Me a Solid Maurice Short film
2011 King of the Underground Todd
2012 That's My Boy Himself Cameo
Turning Point Marvin
2014 Monsters on Main Street Larry Goleman
2016 Dependent's Day Hank Wright
Precious Mettle Sam
The White Sistas Bishop Wilkins
Dead Ringer Detective Billington
Bar Chronicles The Customer Ind. film
Nightblade Detective Francesco
Renaissance Man Todd
Hospital Arrest Prosecutor Denuyl
2017 The White Sistas Bishop Wilkins
2019 A Psycho's Path Haywood


Year Title Role Notes
1975 Barney Miller Truman Jackson Episode: "The Hero"
The Orphan and the Dude Leonard Brown TV movie
Katherine Robert
1976 Police Story Little Walter Episode: "Oxford Gray"
1977 Little House on the Prairie Solomon Henry Episode: "The Wisdom of Solomon"
A Circle of Children Todd TV movie
Roots Bud Harvey TV Mini-Series
A Killing Affair Todd York TV movie
1977–1978 Fish Loomis Main role (35 episodes)
The Waltons Josh Foster 2 episodes
1978 The Love Boat Michael Jr. Episode: "Mike and Ike"
1978–1986 Diff'rent Strokes Willis Jackson Main role (169 episodes)
1979 The Return of Mod Squad Jason Hayes TV movie
Hello, Larry Willis Jackson 3 episodes
1979-1980 CHiPs Todd Bridges 2 episodes (uncredited)[citation needed]
1979-1981 The Facts of Life Willis Jackson 2 episodes
1980-1981 Here's Boomer Turk/Benny
1981 Rosie Willis Roverman Episode: "Failure, Failure, Failure"
1983 High School U.S.A. Otto Lipton TV movie
1988 Twice Dead Petie
1991 The New Lassie Deputy Kirby Episode: "Twin Pekes (Aka Justice)"
1992 The Ben Stiller Show Todd Bridges 2 episodes
1997 L.A. Heat Trevor Episode: "Cop Star"
2000 The Darkling Baron TV movie
2001 Son of the Beach Todd Bridges Episode: "It's a Nude, Nude, Nude, Nude World"
2002 The Rerun Show T.J. Davis 1 episode
The Young and the Restless Juice 8 episodes
2003 Ghost Dog: A Detective Tail Power Plant Guard TV movie
2004 Jane Doe: Now You See It, Now You Don't The Man
2005 Alien Express Peter
2007–2009 Everybody Hates Chris Monk 17 episodes
2008–2012 World's Dumbest Himself 112 episodes
2014 Hotel P Bryce Pilot
2016–2020 Sangre Negra Dante Lewis 3 episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role
2014 Tesla Effect Mantus
2016 2064: Read Only Memories Hayden Webber
2019 Take a Seat Narrator


  1. ^ "Todd Bridges Biography (1965–)". Retrieved August 5, 2015.
  2. ^ "'Diff'rent Strokes': Todd Bridges is now the last living member of the core cast". USA Today. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
  3. ^ Kantor, Justin. "Interview: Penny Ford – The Power of Experience". Blogcritics. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  4. ^ Zap, Claudine (May 29, 2012). "'Diff'rent Strokes' Star Todd Bridges Divorcing". Yahoo! Entertainment. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  5. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. "Bridges's Latest Strokes". People. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  6. ^ Okura, Lynn. "Todd Bridges, 'Diff'rent Strokes' Star, Talks About Healing From Sexual Abuse". HuffPost. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Kappes, Serena (August 20, 2002). "Former child star Todd Bridges gets second shot". CNN. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c "Todd Bridges' Darkest Days". The Oprah Winfrey Show. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c "Actor Todd Bridges Arrested; Police Say Car Held Drugs, Gun". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
  10. ^ "Plus Entertainment". Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  11. ^ McGraw, Carol. "Todd Bridges Found Not Guilty in Drug Shooting". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
  12. ^ Roberts, Soraya. "'Diff'rent Strokes' actor Todd Bridges discusses kicking drugs, wearing diapers and Corey Haim". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
  13. ^ Bridges, Todd; Sarah Tomlinson (April 3, 2010). Killing Willis: From Diff'rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1439148983.

External links[edit]