Dana Plato Poster

Biography

Dana Michelle Plato was born in Maywood, California, on Saturday, November 7, 1964. Her first excursion into the film world occurred when she was 11 in the television film Beyond the Bermuda Triangle (1975). Dana never made an impact on the TV screen until she landed the role of Kimberly Drummond in the TV hit sitcom Diff'rent Strokes (1978) from 1978-1986. After the series ended, Dana had difficulty finding more acting work. Sometimes she would act in a made-for-TV movie or a low- budget silver-screen film. She was married for Lanny Lambert for seven years and they had a son. She was arrested in 1991 for robbing a Las Vegas video store and placed on probation; the next year she was arrested again, this time for forging a Valium prescription. She had just finished an interview with Howard Stern in the spring of 1999 when she and her fiancé, Robert Menchaca, were headed back to California. She hoped the interview would revive her stalled career. They stopped at his parents' house in Moore, Oklahoma for a Mother's-Day-weekend visit; on Saturday, May 8, 1999, Dana died of what appeared to be an accidental overdose of the painkiller "Loritab". On May 21, a coroner's inquest ruled her death a suicide because of the large amount of drugs in her body and her history of past suicide attempts. Dana Plato was 34 years old.